Beets are romantic, right? Red. Sweet. One of the world’s most nutritious foods. What says, “I Love You”, more than a beet?
I think beet cake is especially suitable for my Valentine, a man crazy about root vegetables. The guy eats half a pound of raw carrots a day. His eyes light up when he spots parsnips in the produce aisle. He speaks in loving tones about sweet potatoes, yams and rutabagas. Even turnips make him misty-eyed. Thanksgiving dinner at our house is a veritable symphony of things that grow in the dirt. So, a chocolate beet cake? Yeah, baby.
But how does it taste, you ask?? I’m not going to lie to you. This is not a sugary, rich, death-by-chocolate kind of cake. This is a delicately sweet, moist, fudgy, life-by-chocolate kind of cake. It doesn’t leave me craving sugar and I don’t miss the rich frosting it doesn’t have. And it’s pretty, like an au natural Red Velvet cake.
As someone who has made and eaten her share of decadent cakes full of butter and sugar, I can tell you I was very happy with this hippie-sounding beet cake. In fact, I’ve eaten two of them in the the last two weeks. I especially liked it cold from the fridge
for breakfast any time of day.
This cake is easy. There’s no whipping and folding of egg whites. No roasting the beets. If you can summon up the gumption to grate a couple of beets you’re well on your way to eating cake. And, in keeping with my theme (zero effort), you can make the whole thing in one bowl.
The first time I made it, I grated the beets coarsely and the cake was a little “beety” for my wimpy tastes. The second time I used the very small holes on the grater and I liked the texture way better. I recommend that – if you, like me, are lazy and choose not to get out the food processor – wear rubber gloves, or learn to like beet red hands.
Green Kitchen Stories inspired this cake. I increased the amount of chocolate (because, why not) and I reduced the oil (because I can’t stop myself from tinkering). The first time I made it I replaced half the oil with an equal amount of applesauce. It was good. The second time I wanted to take the sweetness up a notch, so I made a raisin puree and used that in place of half of the oil. Even better.
I also changed the cake pan. David baked his cake in a bundt pan, but I used a 9 inch round cake pan instead because my bundt pan is so big.
- 80 ml (1/3 cup) sunflower, safflower, olive or coconut oil
- 120 ml (1/2 cup) maple syrup
- 60 g (2 ounces) dark chocolate, chopped*
- 110 g (1/3 cup) raisin puree, or ⅓ cup applesauce*
- 250 g (2 cups) raw beets, grated
- 3 large eggs
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 5 tablespoons cocoa* or cacao
- 170 g (1½ cups) spelt flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- extra cocoa to dust the pan
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees with a rack in the middle of the oven.
- Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the bottom of a 9 inch cake pan. Lightly oil the pan, place the parchment paper in the bottom and dust the pan with cocoa powder to ensure the cake doesn't stick.
- Melt the oil, chocolate and maple syrup together in a double boiler, or over very low heat.
- When the chocolate has melted remove from heat.
- Stir in the beets and raisin puree.
- When the mixture has cooled to lukewarm, whisk in the eggs.
- Whisk in the baking powder, salt, then the cocoa, and finally the flour.
- Spread in the prepared pan.
- Bake about 22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out mostly clean. Start testing at 20 minutes. Don't over bake - we want some fudginess.
* To make raisin puree, soak ½ cup raisins in hot water for 20 minutes. Drain and process in a small food processor until quite smooth. (I had a lumpy puree and it was fine.)
* Of the different cocoas I've tried, I like Hershey's Natural Cocoa the best.
* The cake keeps a couple of days in the fridge wrapped tightly.