My second recipe post, and another one about how to incorporate healthy vegetables into baked goods.  We are in the process of turning our winter garden into a summer garden: harvesting spring onions, carrots, collards,  lettuce, and beets to make room for tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, basil, arugula, squash and cantaloupe.   It seemed our CSA was doing the same, hence the over abundance of carrots.  Carrots can be used in many creative recipes, as a base for most soups, and prepared in countless ways that don’t shout carrots.  Beets do not share this fortune.  You know when there’s a beet involved.  Your hands are red, the dish water is red, your pee is red, your breastmilk is red (just kidding).  So when we had a massive harvest of beets yesterday, I wanted to hide them.  And that is exactly what I did.  Taking cues from this recipe, I baked this tempting cake.  Next up: collard pie.  Just kidding.  Or maybe not…

Red Beet Chocolate Cake

  • 10 small beets (that’s what I had), or 4 medium, 2 large
  • 4 oz unsweetened chocolate
  • 1/4 c (half stick) butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 c sugar
  • 3/4 c applesauce
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 c all purpose flour
  • 1 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • butter and cocoa for the pans
  1. Make Beet Puree: Trim taproot, stems and leaves from beets. (Later think of a recipe for  the stems and leaves.)  Scrub dirt from beets and put in a 1 quart Pyrex; cover with water.  Microwave for 5 minutes or more until a sharp knife can be inserted through the beets.  Drain beet water.  Use food processor to puree beets.  Measure out 2 cups puree.  My puree was not liquid, but more like a paste consistency.  I did not bother to remove the skins, as they are delicious, nutritious and not at all noticeable after pureeing the beets.
  2. Preheat oven to 375F.  Butter two 8″ round cake pans.  Dust with cocoa powder.  (Note: You can also use flour, but dusting with cocoa powder means the chocolate cakes will not have white residue after removing from pan.  It doesn’t really matter since we are going to frost these, but if you were making a bundt cake or something this is a handy tip)
  3. Melt chocolate with butter in a double boiler.
  4. Whip eggs with sugar with a mixer until thick and creamy.
  5. Measure flours, baking soda and salt into a bowl.
  6. Add chocolate, applesauce, vanilla and beets to the egg/sugar and mix to combine.
  7. Add dry ingredients to wet and mix on the slow setting until combined, scraping down the sides of the mixing bowl.
  8. Divide the batter amongst the two cake pans.  Bake 25 minutes, turning and rotating the pans halfway through if you do not have a convection oven (I do!).  Check for doneness with a toothpick.
  9. Allow cakes to cool in the pan ideally 10 minutes.  But if you must feed, change and calm your infant, it doesn’t hurt to leave them longer.
  10. Invert cakes onto cooling rack and cool completely.
  11. Assemble layer cake and frost with Chocolate Cream Cheese Icing.
  12. Share with all your friends who say they don’t really care for beets.  Change their tune.

Chocolate Cream Cheese Icing (recipe adapted from the cream cheese box)

  • 8oz cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1/4 c butter (half stick) at room temperature
  • 3 oz chocolate, melted
  • pinch salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 c sifted powdered sugar
  • ~1/3 c half and half
  1. Using mixer, cream together cream cheese and butter.
  2. Add chocolate, salt and vanilla, scraping down sides.
  3. Add sugar, scraping down sides until fully incorporated.
  4. With mixer running, slowly stream half and half until mixture reaches a spreadable yet not watery consistency.
  5. Completely lick beaters and bowl before putting them in the dishwasher.
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