Let’s Be Pen Pals

Hello Dear Ones, how was your week? We had a bit of drama yesterday with one of our daughter’s taking a lovely ambulance ride to hospital with the most chronic migraine I have ever seen. Poor love, this one is our quiet, steady soul and to see her so distressed was quite unnerving. So classic really, as it took all I had not to get physically sick with travel nausea in the back of the ambulance, facing out the rear of the van, on a very winding half hour drive to hospital! (So embarrassing). I have the worst car sickness…no wonder I was racked with nausea throughout my nine pregnancies. 

After a shot of morphine our sweet girl slept and settled. Her symptoms were quite severe. Nausea, extreme blurred vision that still plagued her a day later, numbness of hands and arms, shaking, and the most acute head pain. Poor darling, those migraines can be pretty intense. 

 It’s all a part of the mother life isn’t it? I had to chuckle when the Dr arrived, remarking that I looked familiar. With a house full of so many children we have spent our fair share of time in the Emergency Department of our local hospital, once with two separate visits in the middle of the night, with two different children and unrelated ailments. And so it goes…  

But enough of all that. Let’s get back to cake. Beetroot makes a delicious addition to any chocolate cake. You might think it an unpalatable combination, but the beets have a very subtle flavour and make the cake super moist. Traditionally you can either grate fresh beets or mash canned ones. Both will work. For this recipe I grated our home grown produce.

I baked these in a gorgeous Nordic Ware bundt tray I scored from a friend, however this recipe is interchangeable with cupcakes or a two layer 8″ cake. For the sake of ease I will write it as a cupcake recipe.

The star of this show here is definitely the intensely hued beetroot glaze. If you are not really a frosting kinda gal (sorry, what? I don’t understand that), these cakes make for a not so sweet alternative. Topped with delicate edible flowers, they are pretty little thangs, perfect for an afternoon tea with the gals. 

Chocolate & Beetroot Cupcakes

Moist chocolatey cupcakes made with freshly grated beetroot takes these tasty treats up a notch.
Keyword Chocolate cupcakes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 18 cupcakes


  • 2 eggs lightly beaten
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste Use vanilla extract if you wish
  • 1 cup freshly brewed strong coffee
  • 1 cup grated fresh beetroot, pressed down in a sieve, reserving juice
  • 1/2 cup milk, extra, if needed Use this if mixture is too thick.
  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp bicarb soda
  • 1 1/2 cups castor sugar
  • 3/4 cup pure cocoa powder

Beet glaze

  • 1 cup icing sugar You may need more if you want a thicker glaze or richer colour
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 tblsp reserved beet juice You may need more to get a richer colour


  • Preheat oven to 180C 
  • Line two muffin trays with cupcake papers.
  • In a bowl using a hand whisk, beat together eggs, oil and vanilla.
  • Add coffee mixture and stir carefully until well combined.
  • In a separate bowl, sift together flour, bicarb soda, baking powder and sugar. Hand whisk until well combined.
  • Add cocoa powder and whisk dry mixture well.
  • Add grated beetroot and stir carefully with a spatula until well combined.
  • Carefully pour wet mixture into dry mix and stir gently until well combined. 
  • * If the mixture is too thick, slowly add the extra milk a little at a time. Mixture should be smooth but not runny.
  • Using an ice cream scoop, carefully place equal amounts into cupcake liners until each is 2/3 full.
  • Bake in a moderate oven for 18 - 20 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Leave on a wire rack to cool. When completely cool, drizzle with beet glaze.

Beetroot glaze

  • Sift icing sugar into a clean bowl. Add lemon juice. Stir with a spatula to combine.
  • Slowly add reserved beetroot juice into icing mixture, a little at a time until the mixture forms a thin paste that coats the back of a spoon. You may need to add extra icing sugar or juice to get the desired colour or a thicker consistency. Decorate with edible flowers if you wish. 

I have a few recipes up my sleeve to share with you in coming weeks. I’m still working on the long awaited London Fog cake and this week I baked and photographed the most delicious carrot and pecan cupcakes. Lots happening here in Mama Bear’s Kitchen! 

See you all next week.  xx 

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  • Nancy J Kelley

    Hi, Anna! I hope your sweet daughter is feeling all better by now. As a fellow migraine sufferer, I know how debilitating they can be. Poor thing! Your lovely cupcakes look delicious as always. Warmest get well wishes to your daughter!

    • A
      Mama Bear

      Thank you so much Nancy. Yes, she was pretty rattled by the whole experience. Those migraines can be so nasty. Thanks for your concern and also your kind comments. xx

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