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Chocolate Beet Cake

Chocolate Beet Cake

Back in May, I happened upon a gorgeous video created by Matt and Julie from Tiger in a Jar. It showcases the making and baking of a chocolate beet cake, but it's so much more than that. Matt and Julie took the simple process of baking a cake and turned it into art. The colors, the lighting, the food—everything about it was beautiful. Since it first caught my eye, I've watched it many times since.

Today, I wanted to share it with you.

Chocolate Beet Cake

Though I've never had an affinity for beets, this video made me want to give beets another chance. So this week, when walking through the grocery store, I spotted a bundle and the color was so bright and pink I couldn't resist picking them up. There was never any question what I was going to do with them—chocolate beet cake was destined to be their fate.

Those lucky, little beets...

Chocolate Beet Cake Chocolate Beet Cake

While many of you may cringe at the idea of putting beets into a chocolate cake, hear me out. Often fruit or vegetable purees are added to cakes and breads to add nutrients to baked goods and make them healthier than their non-puree counterparts (think banana or zucchini bread). Plus, the puree flavor is usually masked by other ingredients. In the case of this chocolate beet cake, the chocolate hides the beet flavor quite well. As a result, these purees lend a very moist, healthier product (to date, I'll argue that this chocolate prune cake is one of the most deliciously moist cakes I've ever eaten).

Have I convinced you that beets and chocolate cake aren't so scary together? I hope so.

Chocolate Beet Cake Chocolate Beet Cake

My favorite part of this cake is serving it to others. I love to watch the expressions as they take their first bite, not knowing the secret ingredient. Most people will not notice the beets whatsoever and are shocked when you divulge the secret (but it never stops them from scraping their plates clean!). Others may notice a little extra flavor, but will not be able to put their finger on quite what it is.

I ask you, what better way is there to eat a serving of vegetables than in a cake?

Chocolate Beet Cake

This Chocolate Beet Cake is so moist, it would have you believe that it literally melts in your mouth on contact. It's big on flavor and rich in texture, while the beets add something a little extra to the taste. The cake can stand alone and doesn't need frosting to make it taste better (though I wouldn't fault you if a bit of chocolate frosting found its way on top anyway). A simple dusting of powdered sugar is enough for this cake.

Chocolate Beet Cake
Adapted from Tiger in a Jar, inspired by Straight From The Farm

Yields 2 9-inch or 1 10-inch cake

5 medium beets (or enough for 2 cups pureed beets)
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of salt
Confectioner's sugar, for dusting

Trim stems and roots from beets. Quarter and place in a large saucepan filled with water. Bring to a boil and cook for 50 minutes, or until beets are tender. Drain liquid and remove skin. Place beets in a food processor and process until beets are pureed. Reserve 2 cups puree.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour baking pan(s).

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla and beet puree.

In a separate bowl, whisk together cocoa powder, flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Stir into the beet batter until well combined. Pour batter into prepared baking pan(s) and bake for 40-50 minutes (longer for the 10-inch cake) or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in pan before removing to cool completely on a cooling rack. Dust with confectioner's sugar.

Chocolate Beet Cake

Reader Comments (24)

I think its genius... I'm obsessed with the beet but yet have never thought of trying to put them into a baked good. I will be storing this recipe to try out soon! I'm pretty excited actually!
This is the second time I've seen a recipe for a chocolate beet cake. Yours looks heavenly and I might just have to try it out!
08.21.2011 | Unregistered CommenterHinna
Wow... This is unbelievable! Beet cake? I need to make this just to see what it tastes like!
08.21.2011 | Unregistered CommenterCal
I love this! I've lived in Russia and, although beets are basically the go-to vegetable there, no Russian (at least of those I've met) has ever been so bold as to put them in a chocolate cake. I will, however, be making this for the next Slavic department gathering. It's time Russians experience the beet in a different context. Thank you!
this is a wonderful idea! i'm definitely adding this to the list of must make.
Ive never made a beet cake, in fact the most veggie ive strayed is a carrot cake i think...but ive always wanted to try making one and trust your recipes entttireelyyy, so might well give this a go very soon! Looks absolutely GORGEOUS, and your presentation is just beautiful :) the last picture of the batter - wow!
Very interesting, never would expect beets in a cake. I love the beet cutout you did in sugar on top, very cute!
I love hiding veggies in cakes, muffins & breads. You're so right, it's great fun watching the expressions when the secret ingredient is revealed! I've not tried beets in chocolate cake yet. Have seen a few beet cake recipes but none that were very inspiring, but yours looks to be a lovely cake and well worth giving a go.

I've made chocolate Yam cake & chocolate potato cake, (both not very good) and a chocolate sauerkraut cake which I've made more than a few times. I entered the choco sauerkraut cake in our local fair last year, as the theme was vegetables. Imagine my surprise to find I'd recieved a second place ribbon! lol!
08.22.2011 | Unregistered CommenterJay
This is going beyond my understanding! Honestly!
08.22.2011 | Unregistered CommenterKS
Dear Kristin,
I binged on your blog as soon as I found it and afer binging on actual baked goods, I decided it's time to go on a diet. I love your blog and your recipes are wonderful, and your stories absolutely endearing. Take it as a compliment of how amazing your work is that I will not read your blog until 3 months from now when I have lost at least 20 pounds and can give myself a treat. I hope you don't let it die!

Keep up the amazing work!
08.23.2011 | Unregistered CommenterNDRF
Jay-- Sauerkraut in a cake? And I thought beets were unusual! Very cool idea and even better that it won a ribbon! I can't even imagine what that would taste like.

NDRF-- Thank you for the kind words! I hope those three months pass by quickly for you! Even people trying to eat healthier need special treats now and then. :)
08.23.2011 | Registered CommenterKristin Rosenau
I tried this for the first time a couple of months ago and just loved it. So morish!
08.23.2011 | Unregistered CommenterSpencer
What non-dairy ingredient can I substitute for the butter?

I'm thinking almond flour would be a decent substitution for the all-purpose flour?
08.26.2011 | Unregistered CommenterAries
Aries-- Vegetable oil should do the trick as a substitute for the butter. However, I'm not sure I would substitute all of the all-purpose flour out for almond flour--I'm not sure you'd even end up with cake. Almond flour, unlike all-purpose, reacts differently to moisture (it doesn't absorb it like normal flour does) so you'd end up with a very interesting, not tasty cake that you'd probably throw away. If you are looking for a gluten-free option, I would use a gluten-free all-purpose flour. I hope this helps!
08.26.2011 | Registered CommenterKristin Rosenau
Thanks for this recipe -- I had many beets from my CSA farm share, so I made this cake yesterday. It came out perfectly, and is sooo moist. Personally, I can taste the beets -- it's like a tiny hint of beet when the cake enters your mouth, and then the chocolate flavor overwhelms it. My husband says he can't taste the beets at all, though, and he thinks this may be his new favorite chocolate cake.
09.10.2011 | Unregistered CommenterMarian
This looks amazing and I'm ready to try it today, however, all I have in my house is whole wheat flour. Do you think that will work ok??
09.11.2011 | Unregistered CommenterLynn Kamp
Lynn-- Whole wheat flour will work. Ideally, substituting half whole wheat/half all-purpose would be your best bet, but all whole wheat will also work. I would use 2 cups brown sugar because whole wheat flour has a tendency to get bitter quite quickly. If you are using a frosting or the chocolate glaze, then I wouldn't add the extra brown sugar. The glaze is sweet enough to overpower the slightly more bitter cake.
09.11.2011 | Registered CommenterKristin Rosenau
i love desserts too much which is why i don't like to make them. however, this is one dessert that i don't mind eating or serving to my family. plus, it's delicious and just as you said, i love the reaction of people who don't know the secret ingredient. by the way, i don't like using butter or margarine but i substituted the butter for coconut oil and banana.

thanks for this recipe! i have forwarded this link to many people already.
01.5.2012 | Unregistered Commenternatasha
Yum! This recipie is delightful! I adapted it for muffins- halved the sugar and added 1/2 cup chocolate chips. Subbed 1/4 cup oil for the butter, subbed 1 cup whole wheat flour and 1/2 cup chickpea flour for a protein boost (my kids are vegetarians). My son loved them! And so did I! These will definitely be a regular in our house_ great for school lunches! I may attempt a beet-raspberry lemon muffin (the acidity may allow me to hang onto the lovely red beet color-could probably soak them is ascorbic acid? We'll see :-)
amazing recipe. Thanks for sharing! Such a great idea! I love beets and chocolate combined together :)
10.30.2012 | Unregistered Commenterspyrosq
Hi, I came across this link while looking for interesting ways to use beets. Couldn't resist trying it immediately once I saw the pictures. What an ABSOLUTELY moist cake. I added 1 teaspoon of baking powder as my family doesn't like very gooey cakes. The result was a delightful, moist, rich chocolate cake. There's no whiff of the beets whatsoever!
Thanks! :)
11.23.2013 | Unregistered CommenterCH
Hi there, I'm wondering if I can juice the beets instead of putting them through a food processor?
12.30.2013 | Unregistered CommenterSnow
Snow-- You do need to run the beets through a food processor. You need a thick puree to make the cake bake up with the correct texture. If you just used the juice, there would be too much liquid in the recipe and the cake would not turn out right.
12.30.2013 | Registered CommenterKristin Rosenau
Just made this cake for my Bible study group. Started to really worry when I saw you dont add any sugar but wow, it is delicious! Thank You!
01.23.2014 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle

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