How can you have your cake and beet it, too? (That should win an award for worst pun ever. It doesn’t even make sense.) Well, I had a surplus of beets and figured I’d try to sneak them into a chocolate confection. I’ve got to say I was pretty shocked when it actually turned out. I found a recipe online but modified it so much that I can now claim that this is my own original creation. (Read my Cooks Illustrated-style account of my little experiment after the recipe if you’re into that kind of thing.) The result? A moist, chocolatey, delicious cake that my beet-hating husband and child devoured.
Beet Chocolate Cake Recipe
1 ¾ cups flour
1 ½ tsp baking soda
¼ cup cocoa
1 lb beets, peeled, steamed, and pureed (yields 2 cups puree)*
¾ cups sugar
½ cup apple sauce
1 tsp vanilla
3 squares chocolate
½ cup vegetable oil
1 cup chocolate chips
1. Mix the flour, soda, salt, and cocoa in a bowl and set aside.
2. Melt chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl along with the oil. Let cool while preparing step 3.
3. Mix beet puree, sugar, apple sauce, and eggs until well blended.
4. Fold chocolate into beet mixture.
5. Combine wet and dry ingredients and stir well.
6. Spread into a 9″ by 13″ pan and sprinkle with chocolate chips. The batter will look disturbingly reddish at this point.
7. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.
8. Let cool completely before eating.
*Note on the beets: I prefer to peel beets before steaming them, but you can also steam them, let them cool, and then slip the skins off before pureeing them. You may need to use a little of the steaming liquid to create your puree. I used a ¼ cup of beet liquid. You can make the puree a day or two in advance and store it in the fridge.
Detailed notes on the creation of this recipe (The part where I pretend I work in the Cooks Illustrated test kitchen): Beet Chocolate cake recipes abound on the Internet. Even Oprah has one, courtesy Jessica Seinfeld of Deceptively Delicious fame. Back in my spinach popsicle post, I mentioned the controversy surrounding the idea of “sneaking” vegetables into foods to make kids eat them. I personally don’t have a problem with it, especially since I am the only one in my household who likes beets. I needed a new way to prepare them!
Jessica Seinfeld’s recipe called for just a ½ cup of beet puree and 1 ¾ cups sugar for a 9 x 9 inch cake. My recipe uses two full cups of beet puree and just ¾ cups of sugar for a 9 x 13 inch cake. The recipe I ended up using and modifying came from about.com and called for a cup of vegetable oil and 1 ½ cups sugar. I slashed both of these amounts in half and added some apple sauce.
I also improved their directions for adding melted chocolate to the batter. Following the original recipe’s directions, I melted the chocolate in the microwave and tried to incorporate it into the batter. Half of the chocolate adhered to my spatula, and much of it hardened into little clumps as I stirred it. By melting the chocolate along with the oil and waiting a few minutes, I was able to add the liquid chocolate to the beet mixture without a hitch.
I served up my first attempt of the cake for Audrey’s birthday, and no one guessed the secret ingredient. I am usually not even much of a chocolate cake fan, but this recipe can’t be beet. (Second worst pun ever?)
This post is a part of We are THAT Family’s Works for Me Wednesday blog carnival.