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Snacks & Treats

Must-Try Chocolate Beet Cake

Mar 10, 2017

Carrots get all the love when it comes to cake, but in truth, other root vegetables can be grated and stirred into cake batters with just as much success. Winter is the perfect time to experiment—try swapping grated raw butternut squash or rutabaga, which resembles a large turnip but has a mild yellow flesh and sweet, nutty winter squash flavour, for the carrots in your favourite cake or muffin recipe. Or go for the beets, and add some chocolate.

Zucchini is more common in dense chocolate cakes, adding moisture and bulk along with added fibre. But zucchini is a summer squash; those large beets that are still hanging on in cold storage are perfect mid-winter candidates for a moist chocolate cate. Peel and grate them raw—wear gloves if you don’t want your fingers to be stained pink—or start with roasted beets if you happen to have extra. Use the coarse side of a box grater, as you would with carrots.

A chocolate beet cake, which has been baked in a Bundt pan, drizzled with chocolate ganache.

Large, dense cakes are often baked in Bundt pans, which allows them to cook through evenly without sinking in the middle; if you don’t have a Bundt pan, divide the batter between two well-greased 8- or 9-inch round cake pans and bake for 30 minutes, or until springy to the touch. To make cupcakes, divide the batter among 12 paper-lined muffin cups; bake for 20-25 minutes, or until springy to the touch.

Chocolate beet cake is delicious on its own—I love this kind of plain, not-too-sweet cake unfrosted in wedges (it also packs well in lunch boxes this way)—but it’s also fantastic with the cream cheese frosting you’d normally use on a carrot cake. Another quick, tasty idea: make a quick ganache by heating 1/2 cup cream on the stovetop or in the microwave; stir in 1 cup chocolate chips and let sit for a minute, then stir until smooth. Drizzle over the cooled cake.


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Chocolate Beet Cake

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup cocoa
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk or plain yogurt, thinned with milk
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 large or 2 medium beets, peeled
  • 1/2–1 cup chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350˚F. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In another bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, oil, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla. Coarsely grate the beets using the large-holed side of a box grater.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients along with the grated beets and stir just until combined. If you like, stir in the chocolate chips.

The cake batter with grated beets being sprinkled in.

Pour into a well-greased Bundt pan and bake for 1 hour, until the top is puffed, cracked and springy to the touch. Let cool for about 20 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool.

Serves 12-16.

A finished chocolate beet cake, baked in a Bundt pan, sprinkled with powdered sugar with a wedge cut out of it.

Article Author Julie Van Rosendaal
Julie Van Rosendaal

Julie Van Rosendaal is the author of six best-selling cookbooks (with a seventh due out this fall), the food editor of Parents Canada magazine and the food and nutrition columnist on the Calgary Eyeopener on CBC Radio One. She is a recipe developer, TV personality, food stylist and writes about food for local, national and international publications. She is perhaps best known as the voice behind her popular food blog, Dinner with Julie, where she documents real life at home in Calgary with her husband and nine-year-old son. Connect on twitter @dinnerwithjulie.

 

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