Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Monkey See, Monkey Do

I am such a copycat. I read a recipe and then I make it and then I post it, just like that. It’s so unoriginal.

I was pondering the question of why I do so much cooking from blogs rather than from cookbooks (though I certainly have more than my fair share of well-thumbed cookbooks) and why it is that I end up really liking so many of the recipes that I find on the blogs. I think the reason is that people who blog about food are generally talking about and cooking food that fits the time of year I'm experiencing; in other words, food that I'm already thinking about and hankering after. For example, I read about a friend who’s making zucchini bread and so I take making zucchini bread into serious consideration. (Unfortunately, my zucchini plants are dead—curses on bugs and diseases.) I read about blackberry cobbler, so I make it—a couple times, for good measure.

And then I read about Chocolate Beet Cake. I have leftover cooked beets in the fridge. Out in the garden there are more beets, nearly pumpkin-sized. I study the picture. I contemplate the ingredient list. I compare the new recipe with the chocolate beet cake, called Secret Chocolate Cake, in Simply In Season that I had made last year. At the top of the page I had written “Yummy!” and, “good everyday cake”. I had even frozen the beet and applesauce puree, pre-measured, so I could easily turn out a cake come wintertime. But I never did. I guess the cake just wasn’t good enough.

But this beet cake looked like it just might be good enough.

So last night I melted the chocolate and butter, pureed the beets, stirred everything together, and baked the cake. I didn’t get around to assembling and frosting it until this morning, and as soon as it was done, even though it was only 10:30 in the morning, I cut into it, forking bites into the kids’ gaping maws. I chewed my bites slowly, thoughtfully, scrutinizing the texture and flavor. I thought I could detect a beety-ness, but I wasn’t sure. So I had another piece with my afternoon cup of coffee. I didn’t taste any beety-ness that time, just moist, fudgy, chocolatey-ness. Mmm. I don’t think I’ll be sharing pieces of this cake with anyone anytime soon. Just the recipe.

Chocolate Beet Cake
Adapted from Rosanna's blog, Paprikahead

Updated, July 26, 2017: I made this last week and it turned out disturbingly dense. I'm not sure what went wrong, but no one wanted it, so I gave it to my brother's family. On a scale of 1-10, ten being the best, my brother (who eats anything) gave it a four.

2 cups pureed beets
1 cup butter
8 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 ½ cups flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt

Cook up several beets, peel them, and use a food processor to puree them. Set them aside.

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, on low heat, melt the butter and chocolate.

In a large bowl beat the eggs and sugar together; add the chocolate and beat some more. Add the rest of the dry ingredients alternately with the two cups of beet puree. (I didn’t have quite enough puree, so I added a couple tablespoons of applesauce to round out the two cups—it worked just fine.)

Grease two 9-inch round cake pans and line the bottom with wax paper. Divide the cake batter into the pans and bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes. Let the cakes cool for ten minutes before running a knife around the edges and turning out onto a cooling rack. Peel the wax paper from the cake bottoms. Allow the cakes to cool completely before frosting.

Buttercream Frosting
1 stick butter, at room temperature
3 ½ cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-3 tablespoons milk

Beat the butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla together. Add the milk, a tablespoon at a time till it is a spreadable consistency.

I added about a quarter cup of leftover cream cheese frosting that was languishing in my refrigerator, which resulted in a spectacular frosting. You might want to experiment with just adding a little chunk of cream cheese to the frosting...


  1. Gracious! It's prettier than mine!

  2. Ah- here it is. Thanks! Liga

  3. I am about to foist this beet cake onto my unsuspecting, beet hating, husband as a birthday cake. I made the kids chocolate zucchini loaf and they never knew so I'm feeling pretty good. This frosting is the same one my mom used to frost all her cakes growing up! Can't wait!

  4. My mother made this type cake for my dad after he mentioned that he hated beets with a passion. He devoured the cake and was *beet red* when she told him what was in it!

  5. So are the beets cooked when you puree them? I'm not a beat fan either, so have no idea how to cook beets, but could ask my husband.
    ~Julie :)

    1. Yes, you can bake or boil them. Instructions: http://bit.ly/NRwQ1V