Surprise Cupcakes

When Bea was younger, she was such a joy to feed because she would eat everything we gave her. Travelling to Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam was no trouble at all because we didn’t need to lug around bottles and formula, and she ate everything we ate. Shortly after she turned a year old, however, Bea suddenly became the pickiest eater. Pasta without sauce, meat and rice, no soup, and certainly no vegetables. She will turn her nose up at anything she doesn’t recognize. I used to be able to hide little pieces of veg under the rice and meat in her spoon but eventually she could taste the difference. There are some fruits she will eat, but she won’t have them every day.

I was flipping through my Weelicious cookbook and there was a recipe for Chocolate Velvet Cupcakes with a secret ingredient: beets. Aha! I could get Bea to eat her vegetables after all! So I made them one weekend and even made the cream cheese frosting pink, thinking that the color would entice her to eat a cupcake.


Boy, was I ever wrong! As soon as I presented her with a cupcake, she said, “But I don’t like pink icing!” What a letdown. There goes that idea. She did eat a couple though, with only sprinkles and no icing.

I shared some with my in-laws, and told my father-in-law that they had beets in them. When I told Julio, he said that his dad HATES beets. He refuses to have them in russian salad. The next morning, my mother-in-law came over and asked if it was strawberry icing. I had to confess they were beets, but I’m glad she couldn’t taste them! Turns out, my father-in-law liked them because they were not too sweet. Julio asked him, “You know what the secret ingredient is?” and he answered, “Strawberries?” Either he didn’t hear what I said when I put the plate of cupcakes the table, or he wasn’t listening. My mother-in-law gave me looks across the table, warning me not to admit that they were definitely not strawberries. Oh well, at least the cupcakes were a hit with someone!

Sweet Beet Cookies

My parents give Little B treats all the time. Unfortunately, they’re the sugar- or salt-laden kind. They have containers with snacks just for her.


Because of that, she’s constantly munching on something. Little B is one of those toddlers who will eat anything. At least, she’ll try it and just hand it back if she decides it isn’t to her liking. When she was 6 months old, I started her on baby cereal then moved on to purees. I spent hours cooking food for her and storing them in the freezer, so I could easily reheat them when it was time for her to eat. Until one day she decided she didn’t like purees and wanted food she could hold. I was stuck with a freezer full of baby food! We ended up feeding them to the dog. Since then, I haven’t been able to cook a meal for her and she ends up eating what we eat.

My mom gives her crackers and dried fruits. My dad is the main culprit though. He’s always giving her sugary treats. Chocolate-filled cookies, wafers, you name it. No wonder Little B loves him! A couple of weeks ago, I finally told him that he isn’t allowed to do it anymore. I said I’d bake cookies for her and although he pouted and groaned, he agreed.

After looking for toddler-friendly treats, I bought Weelicious, a cookbook by Catherine McCord. It has many recipes I’d like to try on Little B. I also have several Annabel Karmel cookbooks, and that’s where I got recipes for purees from. It took me a while to take the time to bake and throughout the wait, my dad would threaten to give her his goodies if I didn’t bake soon. So today I did.


I bought beets two weeks ago and I think I might have waited a bit too long to use them because they were slightly dry. Maybe that’s why the cookies aren’t a darker pink. The recipe calls for finely grated beets but I don’t have a Microplane grater so I used the small grater instead.

The cookies came out a little crunchy but Little B liked them. In fact, I like them too! They’re pretty good. A healthy-ish snack even for adults!


Sweet Beet Cookies 

(From Weelicious)

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 fresh medium beet (not canned)
  • 2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil *

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt in a large bowl and stir to combine. Use a knife or vegetable peeler to peel the beet. Shred the peeled beet using a fine Microplane grater. Add 1/2 cup of the shredded beet to the flour mixture. Use your hands to coat the beet pieces with the flour. Add the oil and work with your hands to bring the dough together. Knead the dough for 2 to 3 minutes, or until a smooth dough is formed. Form the dough into a flat rectangular disk and roll it out 1/4 inch thick on parchment paper or a clean, dry surface. Using a knife, cut the dough into squares, or use small cookie cutters to cut it into shapes. Bake the cookies on a Silpat- or parchment-lined cookie sheet for 15 to 17 minutes, until firm to the touch. Cool and serve.

*Note: I doubled the recipe and maybe the beets were too dry but the amount of oil indicated wasn’t enough. I used approximately 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons of oil.