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How To … Make a Chocolate Beet Cake

16 October 2008

Last year I made a chocolate beer cake. Last night I made a chocolate beet cake.

I don’t know if it’s that I have this affinity for mixing strange things into my chocolate cake batter, or that I have an obsession with mixing alphabetically close ingredients into my chocolate cake batter. In case you want to try it, too, I offer you the following photographic recipe:

1. First, get yourself some beets. About 5 medium (or a couple bunches of small beets, if that’s what you find at the farmers market). Saute the greens for supper.

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2. The easiest way to cook beets with a minimum of mess is to trim off the stems to right above the root, then plop the whole things in a pot of water, leaving the root tip end intact. The less you cut into the beets, the less red will bleed out all over the place.

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3. Boil until tender (30-50 minutes, depending on the size of your beets [this isn’t an exact science — just use a fork to test]).

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4. Drain and let cool a few minutes until they are easy to handle. Grab a beet in a paper towel, and rub off the skin — it will slip right off (see? I told you it was easy!).

5. Place the beets in a blender, and puree them. you’ll want 2 cups of puree. Mine needed a bit of water added to get the blender to swoosh them together; but don’t add too much — you want a thick puree, not a sloshy mush.

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6. Meanwhile, break up about 1.5 oz of dark chocolate (about half a bar). We’ve reduced our intake of chocolate and only use good, organic, expensive chocolate — make your chocolate dollars work for you!

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7. Melt 1/4 cup butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the chocolate.

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8. Stir until it is melted and smooth.

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9. Combine:

2 c. all-purpose flour
2 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. nutmeg (freshly grated!)

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10. Cream 3/4 cup butter and  1.5 cups packed brown sugar. Add 3 eggs; mix well. Stir in the dry ingredients from step 9.

11. Now add in 1 tsp. vanilla, the 2 cups of beet puree, and the chocolate mixture, and combine.

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12. Scrape the batter into a greased and floured bundt pan. (I forgot to flour the pan, it still came out just fine). Look at that lovely dark red-brown batter!

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13. Bake at 375 F for 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool in pan 15 minutes before removing to a wire rack.

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14. Cool completely before dusting with confectioners’ sugar. This is important! The recipe warns that eating the cake warm will mean a strong beet taste. If you let it cool completely, not only will your powdered sugar not melt, but the taste will be all chocolate, with a bit of the sweetness of beets (none of the earthiness). Also, I had run out of powdered sugar (I know! What sort of uncivilized crazies are we?), so I dusted with cocoa powder.

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15. Watch it disappear.

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12 Comments leave one →
  1. Rob permalink
    16 October 2008 2:00 pm

    Fantastic!

  2. Three of Four permalink
    16 October 2008 5:01 pm

    Now I’m HUNGRY!
    Looks very yummy.

  3. 16 October 2008 9:02 pm

    Can’t wait ’til next year:

    …mmmmmmm, chocolate beef cake!

    Oh, wait, is that chocolate beefcake? Hrm. No, I don’t think so.

    Either way, though, it’s better than the chocolate bees cake that we had three years ago and she didn’t tell you about. She left the little stingers in, like, four of them!

  4. 17 October 2008 12:17 am

    Oh, wow. You were very patient to cook and melt and combine the ingredients. I think I might have just eaten the Green & Black’s, and pickled the beets.

    Looks absolutely delicious.

    You inspire me to be more creative in seeking out new recipes.

  5. simonk permalink
    17 October 2008 5:37 am

    How did it taste? Can’t imagine what beets and chocolate would taste like together

  6. Peaceable Imperatrix permalink*
    17 October 2008 8:07 am

    Hiya, Rob and 3 of 4! IC, sometimes I wonder if I stay with you because of you sense of humor, or despite it! 😉

    PCM, well, I had promised chocolate cake. If there had been none, I think the family would have shown their displeasure!

    Simon, that’s the magic of this cake: if you wait until it’s completely cooled, you don’t taste the beet earthiness that would be a big turn-off.

  7. 17 October 2008 8:36 am

    Okay, it looks good, but something is very very wrong with the idea of chocolate beet cake. My senses are confused and revolting. I mean rebelling.

  8. 17 October 2008 11:25 am

    Chocolate + beer = good.

    Beets? Dunno.

    Beef and/or bees? Bad Consort!

  9. 19 October 2008 3:07 pm

    I need a family to cook this kind of thing for.

  10. 20 October 2008 9:54 am

    I have some beets in the fridge (thanks to my CSA) and was planning to roast them. But I’m thinking this looks more fun! Question: do you think this recipe would work with muffins? Sylvia’s the assistant baker of the house; her special talents include “opening eggs,” “unbuttering” (removing the wrapper from sticks of butter), stirring, and putting paper liners into muffin tins. She’s a huge fan of chocolate and muffins (plus those freeze well, for future-doling-out-of-small-portions), and I bet she would love these.

  11. Peaceable Imperatrix permalink*
    20 October 2008 12:06 pm

    Marsha, I don’t see why it wouldn’t work for muffins. You may have to change the oven temp, and definitely the oven time. This cake did not rise much in the oven, so make sure your muffin tins are 3/4 full. Yeah, beets are great, but I get tired of roasted beets after a while.

  12. 20 October 2008 2:30 pm

    Have you tried roasted beets with goat cheese? Just throw a few chunks of goat cheese (the soft logs work great) in a bowl with some still-warm roasted beets. Yum…

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