Beet & Kale Chocolate Cupcakes

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Yeah, that’s real. I totes (I said it, don’t judge me) put salad in your cupcakes. But don’t worry, they don’t taste like salad. Or healthy! In fact, you don’t taste the veggies in these beet & kale chocolate cupcakes AT ALL!

Beet and kale chocolate cupcakes

Beets are the prettiest vegetable in the entire world, once they are baked and skinned, of course. (Before that they look like weird lumps with rat tails). The color is SO bright and vibrant, it’s incredible to me that they aren’t modified. Nature really is that pretty. Since they are so beautiful, I’ve wanted to make a beet chocolate dessert forever. I heard about it, really got interested in the idea and then never delivered. The idea came back to me the other day and I was like “claire, you are finally making a chocolate beet cake!” Then, after staring in my freezer for dinner inspiration, I saw a box of kale. And thought, well, why not add kale to this beet cake? Because I’m not well.

beets and kale

Guess what, I’m SO HAPPY I DID THAT. Each cupcake is filled with veggie goodness without the actual veggie taste. And since I know some of y’all don’t like vegetables (which I’ve chosen to gloss over for the sake of our friendships), a cupcake filled with vegetables without the taste is probably a dream come true.

Low fat Beet & Kale Cupcakes

So, if they don’t taste like a salad, what do they taste like then? Good question. They taste like a chocolate cupcake! Really, that’s what they taste like. You’ll notice a slight earthy sweetness from the beets, but nothing that would make you question “hmm, something’s a little off here.” And the kale? Just a VERY VERY subtle hint. Paired with a simple buttercream, these very low-fat (less than 2 grams of fat per serving) healthy cupcakes are perfect for new years resolutions and tricking your kids (and picky husbands) to eat more vegetables.

beet kale cupcakes

Just, word to the wise. If you plan on making these the day of an event or school function, wear gloves. Otherwise it’ll look like you got intimate with and/or brutally murdered a purple telletubby.

Beet & Kale Chocolate Cupcakes

Low fat healthy veggie cupcakes


Prep time: About an hour
Cook time: About 18 minutes
Yields 16 cupcakes. Recipe inspired by Joy the Baker.


  • 2 medium beets, greens and stems removed
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup cooked kale
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • About 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups skim milk
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • Dash of salt
  • Your choice of frosting (I used vanilla buttercream)
  • Chocolate shavings


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place beets in a baking dish and roast for an hour, or until  you can pierce with a knife of fork. Reduce heat in oven to 350. Line a muffin tin with liners or grease with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Once beets have slightly cooled, peel the skins off. Cut into chunks and place in a blender or food processor. Add water and kale and blend until fully pureed. Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, beat the applesauce, sugar and honey together until mixed. Add eggs and vanilla and beat. Once mixed, add the beet and kale puree, stir with a wooden spoon to combine.
  4. In a smaller bowl, whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add 1/2 of the dry mixture to the beet mixture and stir to mix. Add 1 cup of milk and mix. Add 1/4 more dry mixture and stir. Add remaining milk and mix. Add the remaining dry mixture and stir to combine, careful not to overmix.
  5. Fill the muffin cavities about 2/3 – 3/4 the way full with batter. Bake for about 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool completely. Once cooled, frost with your favorite frosting and garnish with chocolate shavings.

Nutritional information per cupcake (with 3 tablespoons buttercream frosting):

Calories: 191
Fat: 1.7 grams
Carbohydrates: 38 grams
Fiber: 2.4 grams
Protein: 4 grams
Weight Watchers Points: 5

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  1. Posted by Carolyn on
    Tuesday, January 8th, 2013
    I just can't do it. I love kale, but beets...I can't do it. But I love the idea behind it! You go, beet girl.
    • Posted by claire on
      Tuesday, January 8th, 2013
      haha! Fair enough!
  2. Posted by JodiNina on
    Tuesday, January 8th, 2013
    Claire, I love the idea that all that lovely color is from good stuff like beets and kale. I love zucchini bread, carrot cake, etc. - so I think I'm going to love this! I also love putting kale in my banana smoothies, so I totally get how these could taste wonderful.
    • Posted by claire on
      Tuesday, January 8th, 2013
      They do, I promise!!
  3. Posted by Liz DellaCroce on
    Tuesday, January 8th, 2013
    • Posted by claire on
      Tuesday, January 8th, 2013
      thank you kindly!
  4. Tuesday, January 8th, 2013
    Amazing! I am so incredibly intrigued by this combo!
    • Posted by claire on
      Tuesday, January 8th, 2013
      I know, right? It's baffling but so good!
  5. Posted by Kelly Hunt on
    Tuesday, January 8th, 2013
    These sound soooo interesting! I usually HATE beets but I will try anything in cupcake form! :)
    • Posted by claire on
      Tuesday, January 8th, 2013
      You don't taste them, I PROMISE!
  6. Posted by amy donovan on
    Tuesday, January 8th, 2013
    Love this! I pulled a fast one on my husband/family a while back + made a spiced chocolate beet cake with ganache. All of them, beet-haters, oooohed and aaaahed over how amazing it was + were shocked when I revealed the secret beety ingredient. Ha! It's amazing how the veg flavors really disappear into the chocolate flavor. Love these!
    • Posted by claire on
      Tuesday, January 8th, 2013
      I KNOW! I was flabbergasted by that!
  7. Posted by Alexandria Hancock on
    Tuesday, January 8th, 2013
    Hi Claire! PIB flashbacks yet? I saw this post to my pinterest and I am SO excited to try it. Two months ago I planted beets in my garden for no logical reason, but mainly because they are pretty. Now they have a destination. THANK YOU! I love your blog!
    • Posted by claire on
      Tuesday, January 8th, 2013
      AH! So good to hear from you! I'm glad you like it!
  8. Posted by Everyday Maven on
    Tuesday, January 8th, 2013
    So glad I found your site and love that you include WW Points with your recipes. I have been wanting to make a chocolate beet cake for a while but now I am really intrigued by potentially adding Kale!
  9. Posted by Kate Pet on
    Tuesday, January 8th, 2013
    That cupcake is soooo pretty! Can't believe the ingredients though :) But, I love beets! I can do this... I can definitely do this!
  10. Posted by Stephanie @ Eat. Drink. Love. on
    Wednesday, January 9th, 2013
    This is genius!! I so want to try this one!
  11. Posted by Kathryn on
    Wednesday, January 9th, 2013
    Chocolate and beet I can get on board with but the addition of kale?! Girl, you're crazy ;) Seriously though, I can imagine that these are actually really tasty and the beet/kale combo gives a really great depth of flavour rather than tasting weird. So looking forward to trying these out!
  12. Posted by Hannah Hearsey on
    Wednesday, January 9th, 2013
    Love a bit of sneaky veg in cake, these look so delicious too!
  13. Posted by Sarah C on
    Wednesday, January 9th, 2013
    Eeeks! This sounds wonderful!
  14. Posted by Ruta Nonacs on
    Wednesday, January 9th, 2013
    Is it bad that these sound right up my alley? I love secret ingredient desserts.
  15. Posted by Bree (Skinny Mommy) on
    Wednesday, January 9th, 2013
    How creative and awesome are these?! Way to go!
  16. Posted by jacquie on
    Wednesday, January 9th, 2013
    love the idea of a beet and kale cupcake. but i'm not particularly fond of chocolate cupcakes what do you think about a vanilla or spice version? any suggestions for either? thanks. l
    • Posted by Claire on
      Wednesday, January 9th, 2013
      I'd say go for it!
  17. Posted by Christina on
    Wednesday, January 9th, 2013
    Wow, I love the added kale in this. I have made beet cake but would never think to add kale! So original and I can't wait to try it.
  18. Posted by Dixya Bhattarai on
    Wednesday, January 9th, 2013
    what a wonderful way to enjoy cake minus the guilt. I have been reading a lot about beet cake but with kale even better! the nutrition profile of this cake is so amazing I am so tempted because i have recently started liking beets and cant wait to experiment more. thanks alot :)
  19. Wednesday, January 9th, 2013
    These look wonderful! I'll have to see if I can get my husband to eat them! ;)
  20. Posted by Lizzy Do on
    Wednesday, January 9th, 2013
    These are gorgeous!!! I'm wondering the same thing as Jessica...could I get the hubby to eat them? I'd have NO trouble
    • Posted by claire on
      Wednesday, January 16th, 2013
      You are too sweet! :)
  21. Posted by justonecookbook on
    Thursday, January 10th, 2013
    I'm totally shocked! This is probably the prettiest beet & kale food, Claire! :D I really want to eat this this!
  22. Posted by afracooking on
    Friday, January 11th, 2013
    Amazing! I would have NEVER thought of putting kale into cupcakes!
    • Posted by claire on
      Wednesday, January 16th, 2013
      Thank you!!
  23. Posted by Crista Lash on
    Monday, January 14th, 2013
    VERY interesting. i like it!
  24. Posted by Gaynell on
    Tuesday, January 15th, 2013
    so...I see lots of mention of beet cake...could you make this in cake form? Perhaps in a bundt cake pan? We're just not really into cupcakes... sounds excellent though!! do you think it would work with egg whites instead of the eggs and xagave instead of honey?
    • Posted by claire on
      Wednesday, January 16th, 2013
      Yes you could! Absolutely. Definite switch the xagava for honey, I'm not sure on the eggwhites.
  25. Posted by vi on
    Tuesday, January 15th, 2013
    Is the frosting necessary for these? (Do you need to add frosting in order to get sweetness or are they sweet enough on their own?)
    • Posted by claire on
      Wednesday, January 16th, 2013
      Nope! You don't need the frosting, it does add a nice sweetness though.
      • Posted by vi on
        Thursday, January 17th, 2013
  26. Posted by Gena on
    Saturday, January 26th, 2013
    You just blew my mind! Gonna bookmark this baby!
  27. Posted by laurasmess on
    Thursday, February 21st, 2013
    Wow, I can't believe you've actually baked kale into your cupcakes! I absolutely love kale, chocolate, and beetroots... but the idea of eating them together is just intriguing. I'm definitely going to give them a go, as my husband and I both love chocolate cupcakes and I'd love to make them healthier. Thanks for your gorgeous recipe... I love your blog, it's completely beautiful. Love.
  28. Posted by dawn on
    Sunday, February 24th, 2013
    i am intrigued by this recipe because it opens up doors to using smoothies as flavor enhancers or as something that could add moisture... But my question is... As soon as you liquify the veg, doesn't it immediately start losing nutritional value? Jack Lalane said that the nutrients deplete the longer the smoothie sits. And also in the baking process, would it still lose nutritive properties? Just wondering thanks...
  29. Posted by Turtled28 on
    Tuesday, May 21st, 2013
    I might just make this recipe for the simple fact that I laughed out loud @ the purple teletubby reference. ^_^
  30. Posted by Carol Eder on
    Monday, August 12th, 2013
    Thank you so much!! I love this recipe and I do love kale (and all veggies) so we can be friends !! I too think beets are the most beautifully decorated vegetable also.
  31. Posted by Bernard on
    Saturday, January 18th, 2014
    Thanks for finally talking about >Beet & Kale Chocolate Cupcakes | The Realistic Nutritionist <Loved it!
  32. Posted by Lydia on
    Friday, March 7th, 2014
    Absolutely love this recipe! Just made it for a work potluck and everyone raved. Plus, it's another way to use the kale from my greenhouse and the yummy eggs from my hens. Thank you!!
  33. Posted by Kim on
    Saturday, April 5th, 2014
    Just made these.....AMAZING! Thank you for posting this recipe! I was trying to find a healthy alternative to sugary birthday cake for my son's upcoming kids party....something if feel good about serving to a child without compromising taste. My 3 yr old son primarily has only been exposed to raw desserts. He LOVED these......he wanted to eat the whole tray of them. So did my husband and niece/nephew! I altered the recipe a bit (substituted homemade almond milk, raw cacao powder for cocoa, coconut nectar for honey, and made my own applesauce with delicious honeycrisp apples.....also used any left over fresh apple juice instead of the plain water). I topped it with a raw chocolate ganache (recipe from Nouevea raw
    • Posted by cgallam10 on
      Monday, April 7th, 2014
      wahoo!! I love them too!
  34. Posted by Maggie Olczyk on
    Sunday, August 24th, 2014
    Hi there!
    Im a 30 year old pilot and my mom always jokes that if I don't want to be single forever that I need to learn how to cook! I stumbled upon your blog and your recipes are amazing! Like this one! and the avocado chocolate pudding?! So nutty yet so cool - I can't wait to make them....hopefully I won't light the kitchen on fire like I almost did in college! :o keep up the good work!