My Heart Beets for You: Chocolate Beet Cake

Ok, you may have already tuned out by the title of this post.

You are either not a romantic, or you hate beets.

I have always wanted to make one of those trendy Red Velvet cakes, but I refuse to use food coloring, so that idea was out.

I came across Nigel Slater's recipe for a Chocolate Beet cake from his beautiful book TENDER, however, I wanted to keep my heart BEATING, and not use the stick of butter and 5 eggs, but I did love his addition of espresso along with pure melted chocolate.

So what's a girl to do?

I searched the world wide web (does anyone say that anymore?), and Martha's recipe came up for a chocolate beet cake. She only used 2 eggs and 1/4 cup of safflower oil.

I have to confess, I have never used safflower oil, don't even know what it is, so I used olive oil instead.

I threw in Nigel's idea of espresso and melted chocolate to make this the most delicious, moist, and HEALTHY chocolate cake you will ever eat.

I'm not sure if kids would like this cake, it's dense and super moist and the complexity of the espresso with the dark chocolate makes it a very adult dessert.

This recipe is a keeper. Loved.

Chocolate Beet Cake: (adapted from Nigel & Martha)

4 medium beets, trimmed, peeled, and cut into 2-inch chunks
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 large eggs
1/4 cup of hot espresso
1/2 cup of warm water
4 oz. chocolate chips
1/4 cup safflower or mild olive oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Cover beets with 2 inches water in a pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer until very tender when pierced with the tip of a sharp paring knife, about 30 minutes. Drain. Puree beets in a food processor until smooth (I mashed them with a potato masher to leave them a bit chunky).

Preheat oven to 350F.
Whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and 3/4 teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Whisk in eggs, water, espresso, oil, vanilla, and 1 1/4 cups beet puree (reserve remaining puree for another use). I melted the chocolate chips in the microwave, but you can add them in whole if you like.

Coat a 9-inch round cake or springform pan (3 inches deep) with cooking spray or butter. Line bottom with parchment paper. Pour batter into pan.

Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Turn out cake from pan, and discard parchment. Let cool completely, right side up.

To gild the lily, I made Martha's chocolate glaze for the top, but if you are daring, you can garnish it with creme fraiche and poppy seeds like Nigel does (a little borscht thing going on there).

Martha's Chocolate Glaze:

1/2 cup heavy cream
3/4 teaspoon light corn syrup
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

Bring heavy cream and corn syrup to a gentle simmer in a small saucepan. Pour over chocolate in a bowl, and let stand for 1 minute. Stir until chocolate melts and mixture is shiny and smooth. Let cool slightly.

Trim top of cake using a serrated knife to create a level surface. Transfer cake, cut side down, to a platter. Pour chocolate glaze over the top, and let set, about 30 minutes. Garnish with orange zest (the original recipe calls for garnishing with beet chips, uh, that's pushing it a little).

You don't have to tell anyone that there are beets in this cake, they will never know!
Sort of like a carrot cake, you don't really taste carrots in the mix, or do you?

Happy Valentine's Day to all you beet lovers and romantics.


Ciao Chow Linda said…
Well I love beets, I love chocolate and I love how you tried to make this less decadent. So I'm definitely in on this one. But I'm so glad you put that chocolate icing on top. By the way, here's info on safflower oil:

I'm sure this would taste delicious on a cold February day.

Mike in Phoenix said…
Although I am definitely a romantic, unfortunately beets aren't on my list of "Foods I Love".

However, I was looking for something to whip up yesterday and decided on your mac & cheese with broccoli. The recipe seemed to be missing a certain je ne sais quoi and then it hit me -- SMOKED SAUSAGE! Believe me, the sausage took this dish to new heights. Thanks for the idea!

P.S.: I love you, too, Linda! I visit your blog and any babe who uses as much sausage in her recipes as you do is tops with me!
SarahB said…
I know I would love this cake! And you know I love the fact that you lightened up the recipe!!
I can't eat red velvet cake it creeps me out with all that food color in it, yours is so much better and healthier, plus it has espresso with orange zest on top, all my happy flavors!
Amy said…
What a different idea. I never though of using beets in a cake. I may just have to indulge.
Great idea! I might make this for my son to get an actual vegetable in him. He likes anything with chocolate.
Susan said…
Hi Stacey,
I made a beet cake back in 2009 which is very close to this recipe but I also added some orange juice and zest. The recipe was from an old Southern Living Cookbook. It was delicious and yours looks great, too!
Joanne said…
From what I've been told, red velvet cakes were actually originally made with beets to color them!
Anonymous said…
I really enjoy your recipes and would like to be able to save them on Pinterest...I remember having that option awhile ago,but cannot find it now - am I mssing something? Thanks very much:)
Stacey Snacks said…

I loaded a code on my blog a while back and it seems that I have 3 rows of pinterest and facebook likes at the bottom.
I don't know how to get rid of them!

I will try and reload the old code, but I still can't get rid of these 3 rows.
Sorry about that!
Stacey Snacks said…
For the meantime, click on the SHARE button, and click "other", it will show a pinterest button, and you can pin it there.
Thank you!