In general I am against the new crop of books that have titles something like "I don't really know how to instill good eating habits in my kids so I will sneak spinach into their brownies." I know there are kids who have health issues that might make putting carrot puree into their pasta sauce necessary - but that's the exception. So it seems strange to me that I was convinced to make this chocolate cake that has 2 cups of beets in it. My friend Victoria promised me that it was a delicious chocolate cake - regardless of the "secret ingredient." I'm all for cake with a reduced guilt quotient, plus, as usual I had a surfeit of beets in the refrig.
The reason I keep buying beets (even though we get some weekly from the Tantré box) is that Garden Works has had the most interesting beets I've ever seen. They have white beets. They have oblong purple beets. They have the pink and white striped chioggia beets. They have golden beets. And they have regular pink and red beets too. One weekend I think I bought 3 bunches of beets. I am beet-arded.
I'd like you to know that we ate every beet and beet green. But some of it was in chocolate cake.
Victoria highly recommended the Farmer John Cookbook (with the Chocolate Beet Cake recipe) which I promptly got from the library. Events conspired, with the beets I had already cooked, the book and the baby bundt pan to find me making a chocolate beet cake a couple of weeks ago. What was most interesting about the cake was that when it first came out of the oven (of course we had to try some warm), you could taste, faintly but with certainty, the beets. However, the next day it was just a moist delicious chocolate cake. In fact, it got better and better. It was really unbelievably moist and perfect with a glass of milk.
Chocolate Beet Cake from the Farmer John Cookbook
4 oz. unsweetened chocolate
1 C. mild vegetable oil, divided
1 3/4 C. sugar
2 C. pureed cooked beets (3 medium beets)
1 T. vanilla
1 1/2 C. flour
1/2 C. whole wheat pastry flour
2 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
(I also added 1 t. of cinnamon)
1. Preheat oven to 375ºF. Lightly coat a 10 C. bundt or tube pan with oil and dust with flour. (I had good luck with my mini-bundt pans - baked 25 minutes.)
2. Melt chocolate together with 1/4 C. oil over a double boiler. Stir to combine.
3. Combine the eggs and sugar in a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Slowly beat in remaining 3/4 C. oil, chocolate mixture, beets and vanilla.
4. Sift the flours, baking soda and salt together. Stir gently into the chocolate mixture just until flour is mixed in. Pour batter into prepared pan.
5. Bake until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Remove pan from the oven and set on a rack to cool 30 minutes.
6. Carefully remove cake from the pan and let cool on the rack. When completely cool, dust with powdered sugar.
I have to say that this successful foray into vegetable hiding has made me a teeny bit curious about the possibilities for the mountain of chard we are accumulating from the Back 40 (square feet of garden, that is).