The other day I was reading an article about Starbucks new red velvet whoopie pies. I started to think about natural food colors and beets came to mind. I thought it would be kind of neat to make a red velvet cake with beets instead of with all that un-natural red food coloring. Google is my friend. I found this awesome recipe for chocolate beet cake. Not only was I inspired by the recipe, but I was inspired by the blog.
Since I started food blogging, I have been beating myself up about my photographs. This blogger had the most beautiful photo of her beet cake. But also a link to an early post where she made the same thing. To say her photography has improved as she has built her blog would be an understatement. What her old photo told me was, just keep doing what I'm doing. I've got recipes I stand behind. The photos may or may not continually get rejected by the food blog galleries, but I won't get better unless I keep doing what I do.
Ok, back to my life. When she was a baby, my daughter loved vegetables. Ever since she has discovered chocolate cake, vegetables have gotten the big thumbs down. But she loves to help me cook, standing there next to me at the counter watching my every move and "helping" me. I'm starting to learn that when she helps me, she's a lot more willing to eat what I make. So while I really wanted to hide the beets in this cake and let her think she was eating straight up chocolate cake, I decided to let her help me and see exactly what I was up to.
I got everything prepped out (because I'm an uptight cook) and then I got her up to the counter. She really loved helping put the ingredients into the stand mixer and help turn it on. When it came time to add in the beets, she said, "I don't want those in there". I fibbed and told her that without them, it wouldn't taste chocolatey. So in they went. And she loved the cake. And I felt good about letting her have cake.
I realize that I have now professed my love two previous chocolate cakes. But I really love this cake. I expected it to be heavy due to the two cups of pureed beets. But it was light and airy. It was also moist, rich and chocolatey. The kind of cake that does not need icing. I lightly dusted it with some confectioners sugar and whipped up some cream to go on the side.
Chocolate Beet Cake
adapted from Straight from the Farm
1 cup of butter, softened, divided
11/2 cups packed dark brown sugar
3 eggs at room temperature
2-3 ounces dark chocolate
2-3 ounces dark chocolate
6 medium beets (2 cups pureed)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
confectioners' sugar for dusting
To make the beet puree, trim the stems and roots off the beets and quarter them. Place in a heavy sauce pan filled with water. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer until the beets are tender. (The original recipe said about 50 minutes. My beets took nearly two hours.) Drain off remaining liquid and rinse beets in cold water. (I reserved my beet liquids to dye Easter eggs later this week. Fingers crossed that this works!) Slide the skins off cooled beets and place in a blender. Process until a smooth puree forms. Let cool before using in the cake. This can be made a few days in advance.
In a stand mixer, cream 3/4 cup butter and brown sugar. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Melt chocolate with remaining 1/4 cup of butter in the microwave on high in 20 second intervals, stirring after each interval until smooth. Cool slightly. Blend chocolate mixture, beet puree and vanilla into the creamed butter and sugar mixture. The batter will appear seperated, but that is ok.
Sift the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg; add to the creamed mixture and mix well. Pour into a greased and floured 10-inch spring form pan. Bake at 375∘ for 60-70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool in pan 15 minutes before removing to a wire rack. Cool completely before dusting with confectioner's sugar.