HUH! I know your first response is what the *ell are you doing!? Trust me this is good. You need to keep an open mind to make and try this cake. Mixing savory with sweet or ingredients that you would not “normally” blend with certain types of dishes need to be explored.
I should mention I love beets in general. Until I made this cake I had never had them in desserts, but I must say I was intrigued when reading this recipe and found myself drawn to it because of the unusual mix. Without further ado please view the recipe:
Chocolate Beet Cake:
Recipe courtesy of: JoytheBaker.com
Makes one 8 or 9-inch layer cake
adapted from Fine Cooking November 2001
For the Cake:
2 medium beets, unpeeled but trimmed of their greens
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
6 ounces (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for greasing the pans
1 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the pans
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
For the Frosting:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
8 ounces (1 brick) cream cheese, softened
4 to 5 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons finely grated beets, mashed with a fork
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or scrapings of one vanilla bean pod
1-2 teaspoons milk, depending on desired consistency
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
pinch of salt
Place a rack in the center and upper third of the oven. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Thoroughly wash beets under running water, and trim their leaves, leaving about 1/2 inch of stem. Place clean beets in a piece of foil. Drizzle with just a bit of vegetable oil. Seal up foil. Place on a baking sheet in the oven. Roast until beets are tender when pierced with a knife, about 1 hour.
Remove the beets from the oven. Open the foil and allow beets to cool completely. Beets will be easy to peel (just using a paring knife) once completely cooled.
Using a box grater, grate the peeled beets on the finest grating plane. Measure 3/4 cup of grated beets for the cake and 2 tablespoons for the frosting. Set aside.
Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Use butter to grease two 8 or 9-inch round baking pans. Trace a piece of parchment paper so it is the same size as the bottom of the cake pan. Cut it out and place inside the cake pan. Butter the parchment paper. Add a dusting of flour to coat the pan. Set pans aside while you prepare the cake.
In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugars. Beat on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time, for one minute after each addition. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Once eggs are incorporated, beat in beets and vanilla extract until thoroughly combined.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
Add half of the dry ingredients to the butter and egg mixture. Beating on low speed , slowly add the buttermilk. Once just incorporated, add the other half of the dry ingredients. Beat on medium speed until milk and dry ingredients are just incorporated. Try not to overmix the batter. Bowl can be removed from the mixer and mixture folded with a spatula to finish incorporating ingredients. Cake batter will be on the thick side… not pourable.
Divide the batter between the two prepared cake pans. Bake for 23 to 25 minutes (for a 9-inch pan) or 30-32 minutes (for an 8-inch pan). Cake is done when a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove cakes from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Invert cakes onto a cooling rack to cool completely before frosting and assembling the cake.
To make the Frosting:
In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, beat cream cheese for 30 seconds, until pliable and smooth. Add the butter and beat for another 30 seconds, until well combined. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl as necessary. Beat in the beets. Add the powdered sugar, vanilla extract, milk, lemon juice, and salt. Beat on medium speed until smooth and silky. Refrigerate the frosting for 30 minutes before frosting the cooled cakes.
To assemble the cake, place one layer of cake on a cake stand or cake plate. Top with a generous amount of pink frosting. Spread evenly. Place the other cake on top of the frosting. Top with frosting. Work frosting onto the sides of the cake. You will have extra frosting left over. Refrigerate for an hour before serving (it will make the cake easier to slice). Cake will last, well wrapped in the refrigerator, for up to 4 days
As you can plainly see I have taken certain liberties with the original recipe. Primarily I disregarded the beet frosting, only because I lacked the requisite butter (I need to get to the market). However, I don’t think it took away from the cake in anyway. I opted to make a simple meringue instead from egg whites and powdered sugar. It wasn’t until I looked through the viewfinder of my camera that I realized how much it looks like a great big whoopie pie! I must tell you there is one very big danger in cooking with beets. For those of you that have not had the pleasure, beets stain! So after cooking in near nakedness while preparing the beet portion of this recipe my kitchen looked like a scene out of Psycho. Honestly, this recipe is a monster, but if you break it up as I did, it’s not bad at all. The most taxing part is cooking the beets ( I always wanted to do this, otherwise I probably would’ve used store bought). They were really nice looking when drenched with the oil and once out of the oven they take on that fantastic sweet taste. BTW interesting tidbit of information. I realized after starting the recipe I had NO butter milk and it was way too cold to go out to the market, so I Googled it (thank God for the interweb). Turns out you can make you’re own buttermilk right at home, click here for the recipe. This cake is nice and moist, I believe partly due to the vinegar involved. In short cook naked, no psycho scenes, and swoon the Beet cake!