17 November 2010

Beet Cake

The first time I saw a recipe for beet cake I thought it sounded so unique and really "exotic". Some time has passed, and I've come to realize: a. Beet cake isn't all that different from Carrot Cake in theory, and b. Most beet cake's are basically a red-velvet cake, without the bottle of food coloring. The beet root's themselves become disguised amid the sugar, and, most recipes also add in generous dousing of cinnamon and nutmeg, creating a richly spiced, mildly chocolaty-spice cake. This is not a bad thing in my mind, as I've always preferred beets more for their brilliant colors than for the actual taste, which will (flashback) forever remind me of the boiled and sliced beets of childhood. Blech.   
I wanted to make a beet cake whose flavors were predominantly chocolate and a little bit beet, rather than a spice cake, so with a crisper drawer full of the offending root, just waiting to go bad till I didn't have to feel wasteful for not eating them ("Oh what a shame, they've gone moldy"), I set to work.  In the middle of the week, no less, I began futzing with a few different online recipes (coming across this great and kindred site), and furiously buttering and dusting with cocoa my bundt pan with the objective of having the cake prepared for an after dinner treat. The whole thing couldn't have been easier to throw together, particularly if you've planned ahead and roasted/pureed the beets beforehand, and, as chocolate cakes go I imagine this must be somewhat healthful? Next up, broccoli cake!
Beet Cake 
Adapted from various
Serves 12

1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar

3 eggs at room temperature
3 ounces dark chocolate
4 - 5 medium beets (2 cups pureed)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons cocoa powder, divided
confectioners’ sugar for dusting or whipped cream (optional)

To prepare beet puree, trim stems and roots off beets and rub outside with a few drops of flavorless oil (vegetable or canola) wrap 1-2 beets in aluminum foil (depending on the size of your beets you should have 2 - 3 little packets.  Place on a baking tray and roast at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for approximately 45-50 minutes, depending on the size of the beets.  You should be able to pierce the beets with a sharp knife easily.  Let cool slightly and then rub the skins off or scrape off with a knife (watch your hands as they will stain here!) Place beets in blender and process until smooth without any lumps.  Set aside to cool slightly. 

In a mixing bowl, cream 3/4 cup butter and brown sugar. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Melt chocolate with remaining butter in the microwave or in a bowl placed over a pot of barely simmering hot water. Stir until smooth. Cool slightly. Blend chocolate mixture, beets and vanilla into the creamed mixture.  

Combine flour, baking soda , salt, and cocoa; add to the creamed mixture and mix well. Pour into a greased 10-in. bundt pan dusted with 1 tablespoon cocoa. 

Bake at 375 degrees F for 45 - 60 minutes  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 confectioners’ sugar or serving with a dollop of lightly sweetened whipped cream.

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