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1. Gather the ingredients.

  • 1/2 cup beet purée (see step 2)
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1 cup almond or other non-dairy milk
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 9 Tbsp coconut or regular sugar
  • 4 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt
  • 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp gluten-free flour
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum (If not making gluten-free cakes, you can use regular flour and no xanthan gum)
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • coconut oil/cooking spray/vegan butter for coating cupcake tins
  • chocolate chips or chocolate chunks/pieces for inserting into cakes and topping the lava cakes
  • vegan whipped cream (optional)

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2. Prepare the beet purée.

Prepare the beet purée the day before or earlier in the day if possible. Roast a beet for about an hour, until it can be pierced easily with a knife. Let the beet cool until you can handle it easily. Slip off the skins and then chop the beet into smaller pieces. Process in a mini food processor until the beet is smooth. Half of a medium-large sized beet yielded 1/2 cup of purée. Use any extra beet in salads, sandwiches, tossed with pasta, etc.

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3.  Make the “buttermilk” and mix in the wet ingredients.

Add the non-dairy milk and the apple cider vinegar into a large bowl, mix, and let sit for a few minutes to curdle. While you are letting the buttermilk form, melt the chocolate chips and coconut oil together in a small pan over medium heat, stirring occasionally until you have a smooth mixture. Remove from the heat and add to the bowl along with the beet purée, applesauce, vanilla extract, and sugar. Beat well.

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4. Make the batter.

Add the gluten-free flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, sea salt, and cocoa powder to the bowl. Beat again until the batter is smooth, but do not overmix.

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5. Put the batter into the cupcake tin.

Prepare the cupcake tin. Using coconut oil, vegan butter, or a cooking spray, coat the insides of 10 cupcake “holes” Sprinkle with cocoa powder to keep the lava cakes from sticking. Scoop the batter into the tins. The tins will be nearly full.

Using a spoon or funnel, add several chocolate chips or a large chocolate chunk into the center each cake. Cover with batter. The more chocolate you put in the middle, the gooier and more lava-like the center will become.

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6. Bake.

Bake the lava cakes for about 17 minutes. The top should look dry. Remove from the oven and let sit for 3-4 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the tins to detach the cake from the sides and then flip/invert the cake.

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7. Serve and enjoy.

Serve topped with whipped cream and additional chocolate chips as desired. If you have leftovers, you can reheat them in the oven or microwave briefly, but make sure the center is not too hot for little ones. Enjoy!

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