This is not my recipe, but I am the only person I know who has been brave enough to try it. Let me assure you that this cake will change the way you look at dessert for the better.
I first saw the recipe when my friend C posted the Rio Gozo print up of it on her Facebook page, and as we had been on the receiving end of a flood of beets from our CSA in recent weeks, I decided to give it a try. It does make quick work of a beet abundance, as 2 C of puree is no small amount. More recently, I saw raves about the beet cake on one of my favorite food blogs, eggs on sunday.
It takes a true leap of faith, because at no point in the process does mixing beet puree with melted chocolate seem like a good idea. The sticky earthy sweet smell that emanates from the oven when you bake the thing does not help matters much either, but the results are incredibly delicious. As one of my dear friends put it when she tasted it, “I’ve been wasting my life.” Indeed.
For frosting, I like a brick of cream cheese mixed with a cup of whipping cream and 1/2 C powdered sugar. I don’t bother frosting it the whole way round – just in between the layers, and on top. The black/white contrast is most striking.
The only trick here is making the beet puree. I start with roasted beets, and add a portion of the oil called for in the recipe (about half). You have to have a pretty good sense of how many of your beets will make a cup to have this work. To ballpark it you can mash them into a measuring cup first. Then you have to remember how much oil you have added to the beets, and subtract it from the rest of the recipe.
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 cup vegetable oil
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 cups pureed cooked beets
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1. Preheat the oven to 350 and prepare the pans with oil and flour.
2. Melt the chocolate and 1/2 cup of oil in a double broiler, set aside to cool
3. Combine the eggs and sugar in a large bowl and beet in the remaining 3/4 cup of oil, chocolate mixture, pureed beets, and vanilla.
4. Sift both flours into a large bowl. Add the baking soda and salt. Stir the dry ingredients slowly into the wet ingredients until the flour is just mixed. Pour batter into the prepared pan.
5. Bake until a toothpick inserted comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Remove the pan from heat and set to cool.