Maybe you’ve never knowingly tried a beet. These lowly root vegetables are jewels of the garden full of folate and anti-inflammatory antioxidants. You can roast them and toss them in a salad with apples and oranges or have them over greens with feta cheese and parsley.
I know beets can be controversial. I too have a love-hate relationship. When you say beets, my memory goes back to my mom’s beet soup full of cabbage and potatoes. Not my favorite at 8-years-old, but I have managed to overcome. I like roasted beets – do I seek them out and go gaga over them? No…well, not until I put this recipe together.
Determined to use up an unusually large supply of beets I acquired through a farm share and a beet-averse friend, I recalled a decadent chocolate beet cake recipe I once read about in “Southern Living.” (I used to pour over cooking magazines as a child) Putting fruit or veggie purees into baked goods is nothing new – think applesauce, mashed bananas or pumpkin – why not beets?
So, in an effort to get my kids to have a positive outlook on beets, I set out to create a vegan beet cake. The result? A moist, rich, crumbly cake that needed no frosting. It also showed why I don’t often make baked goods – even vegan ones. Jaxen seemed to enjoy the batter — licked that bowl clean. After it cooled, the kids only got one slice; between my husband and me (okay, me), most of it was gone. Yesterday, the kids asked if I would go to the store and get some more beets. I am sure I never asked my Mom to do that. Tonight, we made a second batch. My 9-year-old asked if I’d make the cake for her birthday. Success, I say!
- 2 cups cooked beet puree (I scrubbed, peeled, chopped and then boiled the beets and pureed them with some of their own water in the vitamix)
- ½ cup coconut or olive oil
- 2/3 cup sucanat (in a pinch, use brown sugar)
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 2 cups flour (whole wheat if possible, but it does make a thicker batter)
- ½ cup cocoa powder
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- ½ tsp. baking soda
- ½ tsp. salt
- Chocolate chips (optional)
Blend together the beet puree, the oil and the sugar. Add the vanilla. In a separate bowl mix the dry ingredients and add to the beet mixture all at once. Stir until just combined. Fill a round, 8-inch, greased pan with the batter and bake for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of chocolate chips (look for vegan varieties) if you dare. I think this is what skyrocketed this recipe into birthday-worthiness, however.
The cake is moist and the taste of beets is almost impossible to detect. Sprinkle with powdered sugar for a lightly sweetened flavor. Frost it, if you must.