This chocolate cake is rich, dense, and so moist. It also has a healthy does of puréed beets. Perfect for Valentine’s Day! Chocolate and beets are a natural pairing. If you’ve never tested out the combination before this is the perfect recipe to try, because you can barely taste the beets. I recommend using a dutch press cocoa here, before we get started let’s go over the differences. Basically dutch press cocoa is much darker and in my experience richer tasting. For this cake I actually made 2 versions and the dutch press version is intensely chocolatey. Natural cocoa powder is lighter in color and the alkalizing process is skipped. For a thorough explanation try this article. Dutch press cocoa is very easy to find, I love the Ghirardelli brand or look for an organic fair trade version at your local natural grocer. The other element that brings out the super chocolatey taste in this cake is the coffee. Use a strong local brew if you can, and decaf if you’re concerned about the caffeine. The last choice you’ll have to make is the flour, and you probably have the rest of the ingredients on hand! I like a dense whole grain flour, which might sound odd for a cake, but I think we’ve already established this is not a typical cake! I recommend “white whole wheat” flour or whole spelt flour. The first step is cooking the beets until super soft, I like to peel them and cut them into thin wedges wrapped in a foil packet. This will still take about an hour or more, so doing it in advance is always a good idea. Depending on the size of your beets you may have more than a cup of purée, just tuck it in the freezer for your next baking adventure. I purée the beets right in the measuring cup that came with our immersion blender. When the beets are puréed and the coffee is cooled, this is a straight forward baking recipe. Cream the butter and brown sugar together with the eggs and whisk the dry ingredients together. Fold everything together before baking in a heart shaped baking pan. (Of course the pan is optional!). If you’re using a specially shaped cake pan like I did you’ll want the cake to slip right out. Here’s two tricks to help. After you grease the pan with oil or butter line it with a piece of parchment. Then dust the whole thing with cocoa powder (for non chocolate goods use regular flour. Invert your cake right onto a wire rack to cool. If forgoing a fancy pan, try a spring form cake pan which also works well for this dense cake. (Prepare the same way.) Chocolate Beet Cake 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened, plus additional for pan 3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder, plus additional for pan 1 cup strong black coffee, cooled 1 teaspoon vanilla 1 cup puréed beets (about 2 raw beets) 2 cups white whole wheat or spelt flour 1 teaspoon baking soda 2 teaspoons baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 cup packed dark brown sugar 2 large eggs Prepare beets. Preheat oven to 400°F. Scrub and peel beets then slice into eighths. Wrap in a foil packet and back for one hour or more until a fork easily slides through. Purée using an immersion blender or food processor. Let cool completely. Preheat oven to 350°F Whisk together dry ingredients. Combine cocoa powder, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Use a stand mixer or electric beaters to cream butter and brown sugar together. Add the eggs one at a time and beat until light and fluffy. Add coffee and beets to the butter mixture, then mix in dry ingredients. Stir until “just mixed”. Bake for 50 – 60 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the top comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack to cool then dust with powdered sugar before serving. Serve with fresh whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
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