Cakes Etc.

Mini Chocolate Beet Cupcakes w/ Vanilla Coconut Whipped Cream

Last Saturday was my birthday! I turned 23 – an age that resonates as almost indistinct. It feels transition-y, but not in a bad way. I like to think of this moment as floating, suspended in a kind of haze that I might look back at with wrinkled eyes and a blur of colour and noise.

I am a lot happier than when I last spoke to you in this space, and I want to thank all of you so much for your sweet messages and words of encouragement. So many of you reached out and it filled my heart with a lot of hope. Transitions are scary, but they are also a time for imagination and adventure. As much as I love to escape into the encompassing world of a new book or story, I am also ready to jump into the fantasy world of my own life. Everything can be magical if you extend your vision far enough.

On Saturday, Sebastian and I biked to Deep Cove. The ride alone was enough to generate a thousand new ideas and little maps of places I’d never been. When I was young I had a dream to live by the sea. It has always felt close to my heart and wild in a way that I crave to be a part of. Hiking through the misty trees to the rocky shoulder that sticks out over the ocean fulfilled me in a deep, electrifying way.

You know that feeling, deep in the trees, the light catching on the outlines of branches and the twisted knots of tree roots tripping up the dusty path. You can smell salt and earth mingling in the back of your throat, slick and poignant on the breeze. You emerge, mist swirling at the edges of your vision and the backdrop of pearly, deep blue mountains cresting the horizon. It feels impossible to capture, but necessary to take in. A love affair of senses tilting your head to the sky.

Birthdays can be a time of reflection, but I think for now, I am going to try my best to focus on the present. If this is a year of change and uncertainty, I am going to try my best to live it as it happens instead of looking forward to stability and structure.

On my birthday I like to think of everyone who has, and continues to make my life beautiful and fulfilling. Sending love to all of those people, thank you for helping me make it through. xo

These cupcakes are tiny and precious. But they are also deeply moist, chocolatey, and delicious!

Bite sized desserts are definitely my thing; bars, snack balls, brownies, mini cakes and cupcakes – the list goes on. I like feeling satisfied after a full mouthful of something dense and succinct. It also gives you the opportunity to have more than one dessert at at time, just saying. 😉

My cousin Elana over at City Beet Farm brought these beets home the other day after I mentioned I wanted to make beet cake. There isn’t much that can beat freshly harvested beets, is there (heh)?

In all seriousness, these are my new favourite dessert. The beet purée adds a tender moistness and earthy flavour to the cakes. It almost reminds me of olive oil cake, although the flavouring is slightly different.

I topped these little gems with fluffy vanilla coconut whipped cream and let me tell you, it was one of my better ideas. I considered cashew frosting, or vegan buttercream, but I really like the pairing of the light and the dense together. It melts in your mouth while still being satisfyingly rich.

If you make these take a photo and show me (@spiceandsprout)! It is my favourite thing when you folks show me the recipes you’ve made from this space. As a special bday present to me. <3

Mini Chocolate Beet Cupcakes w/ Vanilla Coconut Whipped Cream

Makes 18 mini cupcakes OR about 6 normal sized ones


Mini Chocolate Beet Cupcakes

  • 2 small beets, peeled and quartered
  • 1/3 cup organic cane sugar
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2/3 cup gluten free flour blend (I used this one)
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • large pinch of salt

Vanilla Coconut Whipped Cream

  • 1 can full fat coconut milk, refrigerated overnight (I like this one)
  • 2 tsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla


Preheat oven to 350 and prepare a mini cupcake pan (or regular). Fill a medium sized pot with water and heat on the stove. Once boiling add the quartered beets. Boil until a knife can slide through like butter, about 20 – 25 minutes. Remove from heat and strain.

Add the boiled beets to the bowl of a food processor with sugar, coconut oil, and vanilla. Blend on high until it forms a smooth paste.

In a large mixing bowl combine the almond milk with the apple cider vinegar. Add the beet puree and whisk to combine. Sift in the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet with a spatula and divide equally between the mini cupcake molds.

Fill each cupcake mold to the top and bake in the oven for 20 – 22 minutes, or until a knife comes out cleanly from the centre. Let cool.

To make the coconut whipped cream turn the can upside down and open. Pour out the liquid (or save for later) and spoon the hardened cream into a large bowl. Add the maple syrup and vanilla and beat with handheld mixers until smooth and fluffy (alternatively you could do this in a stand mixer).

Spoon or pipe the coconut whip on the cooled cupcakes and serve! Will last up to 3 days in an airtight container in the fridge.

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  • Reply
    August 31, 2017 at 10:08 am

    These cupcakes are so cute! I’ve never tried chocolate and beets together but I’ve heard it’s a really yummy combo. I’ve gotta try these 🙂

    • Reply
      September 1, 2017 at 5:40 pm

      Aww! Thanks, Brandie! It’s one of my fave combos, I hope you give it a try! <3

  • Reply
    August 13, 2017 at 3:05 am

    Happy happy (belated now) birthday Maya! These cupcakes are absolutely lovely, as are you and your writing and reflections. It’s funny, 23 always felt like a transition age for me as well. I suppose it is a time to find beauty in those transitions, even if they can feel a little rough on the edges at first. Here’s to hoping it’s a beautiful year! xoxo

    • Reply
      August 15, 2017 at 9:39 pm

      Thanks, Ruby! You’re too sweet 🙂 It’s funny how ages have such strong associations even though they can really be whatever you decide to make them. Hugs. xo

  • Reply
    August 12, 2017 at 4:24 am

    Happy Belated Birthday lady!! I’m so glad to hear that you are in a great place right now 🙂 Change can be so challenging, but I love your attitude of embracing the excitement and I’ll definitely be channeling that as we head into our big move this week!

    • Reply
      August 15, 2017 at 9:38 pm

      Aww, thank you Liz! <3 We are going through this at the same time, if you ever want to talk let me know! xo

  • Reply
    Sophia MacKenzie
    August 9, 2017 at 4:39 pm

    Happy beat-lated birthday, sweetie! These photos are totally gorgeous (I want that grey back ground for myself) and these cup cakes are even more gorgeous!!!! 23 is a great age. I know you’ll have lots of wonderful adventures this year <3

    • Reply
      August 9, 2017 at 7:55 pm

      Thanks, Lovely! You are too nice 🙂 As for the background, you can get yourself one at Rona for the good price of $12! I hope we can bake together sometime soon <3

  • Reply
    Heidi | The Simple Green
    August 9, 2017 at 2:04 pm

    Happy birthday again, Maya! These looks so lovely…the perfect little birthday bite. Although, I imagine I would eat them all as I often fail to exercise moderation for sweets…especially so when birthdays are involved lol.

    • Reply
      August 9, 2017 at 7:53 pm

      Thanks, Heidi! Aww, you are too sweet <3 I did eat a lot of them haha. Sending hugs! xo

  • Reply
    Heidi | The Simple Green
    August 9, 2017 at 1:45 pm

    Happy birthday, again, Maya! These look lovely and sweet; the perfect birthday treat no doubt! Xx

  • Reply
    Lisa Freeman
    August 9, 2017 at 6:33 am

    How did you get the coconut whipping cream to look so pretty? I’m definitely going to make these – they’re so pretty!

    • Reply
      August 9, 2017 at 7:51 pm

      Aww, thanks mom! I used a piping bag, I can show you when you visit <3

  • Reply
    Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine
    August 9, 2017 at 4:56 am

    These are beautiful cupcakes, dear! Happy birthday! I had no idea you were my age (I just turned 21 on June 6th)! xo

    • Reply
      Lisa Freeman
      August 9, 2017 at 8:34 am

      Hey Rebecca,

      I’m Maya’s mom – nice astavakrasana!


    • Reply
      August 9, 2017 at 7:50 pm

      Thank you, Rebecca! I had no idea you were my age too, I always feel like one of the younger ones. 😉 Happy belated birthday, lady! xoxo

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