To be honest, I generally prefer pies over cakes. While I wouldn’t necessarily decline a slice of cake, the pile of icing and saccharine density aren’t generally my cup of tea. I’ve been wanting to experiment with cake for a while though—to find a cake I could love.
The inspiration for making a beet chocolate cake originally came from a night of roasted beets and goat cheese. Noticing that the beets dyed everything a lovely (and stubborn) shade of fuchsia, I thought about spiking icing with some beet juice.
The sweet earthiness of the beets perfectly complements a rich, dark chocolate cake—no milk chocolate, no white chocolate. With my birthday coming up, I decided to try this beet chocolate cake, with the root vegetable in both the batter and the frosting.
While I love the idea of blindly attempting this experiment, baking is truly a science; a scientist I am not. I fortunately found a fantastic recipe from The Endless Meal. The author, Kristen, has cracked the code on this amazing dessert, and I’ve published it below for your viewing (and baking) pleasure.
- 2 medium beets, peeled and quartered
- 2 tbsp. water
- 3/4 cup butter, softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 – 1/2 tsp. vanilla
- 1 – 1/4 cups cold coffee
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- 1 tsp. sea salt
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 baking powder
- 1 cup dark chocolate chips
- 1 cup softened butter
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1-2 tablespoons reserved beet juice
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- 4-6 tablespoons almond milk
Preheat your oven to 425F. Put your beets in a small baking pan, and add your 2 tbsp. of water. Cover the dish with aluminum foil, and place in the oven for 25–30 minutes. You should be able to pierce the beets with a fork when they’re done roastin’. Reserve the liquid in the pan, and set to the side. You should have about 2 tbsp. liquid, but if you have less just add a wee bit more water. Let the beets cool and once they’re cold enough to hold, grate them.
Turn down your oven to 350F. Butter and flour two 8″ or 9″ pans. You can get started on the batter while you wait for the beets to cool. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugars, then beat in the eggs and vanilla. Mix in the cold coffee.
In another bowl, mix together the flour, cocoa powder, sea salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Slowly add this mixture to your liquids, beating well. Add in the grated beets, and stir in the dark chocolate chips.
Pour the batter between the two cake pans. You’ll bake them for 20–25 minutes, removing them once a toothpick inserted in the middle emerges clean.
For the frosting, mix together the powdered sugar, butter, beet juice, vanilla, and almond milk. I would recommend doing exactly 2 tbsp. of the beet juice, and only 4 tbsp. of almond milk; mine wasn’t as thick as I would have liked.
Let the cakes cool considerably before you try frosting them. Doing so too soon means the frosting won’t stick. Place your first cake on a plate, and top it with a thick layer of icing. Fit your second cake right on top, and cover with frosting. Top off with some bright pink sprinkles—perhaps some bunting if you’re feeling crafty—and enjoy!
Feature Image | via Read Leaf Clinic
Images 1 and 2 | Natalie Serafini