• Chocolate, beetroot and orange cupcakes (Chris Middleton)Source: Chris Middleton

These cupcakes are super moist and chocolaty, and cannellini beans make these cupcakes gluten-free!






Skill level

Average: 3.9 (24 votes)

If you feel like adding a pink tinge to the topping, squeeze a little bit of juice from the grated beetroot (beet) and stir it into the topping mixture. Soak and cook your own cannellini (lima) beans if you have the forethought – you’ll need 240 g (8½ oz) cooked beans.


  • 400 g (14 oz) tin cannellini (lima) beans, rinsed and drained 
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ tsp liquid stevia
  • 80 g (2¾ oz) butter, softened
  • 85 g (3 oz/¼ cup) rice malt syrup
  • 1 tsp finely grated orange zest
  • 50 g (1¾ oz/½ cup) Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 beetroot (beet) (about 175 g/6 oz), peeled and finely grated


Orange mascarpone topping

  • 120 g (4½ oz/½ cup) mascarpone
  • 2 tbsp thickened (double/heavy) cream
  • 1 tsp finely grated orange zest, plus extra shredded zest to garnish
  • a few drops beetroot (beet) juice (optional)

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Cooling time: 5 minutes

Preheat the oven to 160°C/320°F (fan-forced) and line a 9-hole 80 ml (2½ fl oz/⅓ cup capacity) muffin tin with paper cases.

Whiz the beans, one of the eggs and the stevia in a food processor until smooth and creamy. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

Without cleaning the bowl, process the butter, rice malt syrup and zest until smooth and creamy. Add the remaining eggs one at a time, processing well between each addition. Return the bean mixture to the bowl and sift in the cocoa, baking powder and salt, and then process until combined. Stir in the beetroot.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared cases and bake for 20–25 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool for 5 minutes in the tin before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Meanwhile, for the orange and mascarpone topping, whisk the mascarpone, cream and zest until slightly thickened. Stir in the beetroot juice (if using). Refrigerate until required.

Spread the cooled cupcakes with the topping and garnish with extra zest.

These cupcakes will keep, un-topped, for 2–3 days in an airtight container. Spread with the topping 
just before serving.


This recipe is from Incredible Bakes (Smith Street Books). Photography by Chris Middleton.