Chocolate Beet Cake

This cake has been making its way into heavy rotation around these parts. I’ve made this for most of my friends and family at this point. It usually goes a little something like this…. “Oh, Chocolate Beet Cake. Sounds interesting.” And after one bite... “Ohhhhhhhhh. Ok, what’s in this? No really, this is amazing!” I first became aware of this magical awesomeness in Tender by Nigel Slater. I’ve added coconut oil to his recipe, pulled back on the butter and bumped up the amount of beets. He serves with a dollop of crème fraiche and poppy seeds. But if you can’t find crème fraiche or can’t afford it this week, because you bought a pair of fuchsia Manolo Blahniks, you can whip up some full fat sour cream with your electric beater. Check back soon for the gluten free version I’m developing.

Note: this recipe requires many bowls and many steps (so worth it though). I find it easiest when a. your not working in your tiny NYC apartment kitchen (although it has been done) b. you measure out all of the ingredients before you begin and c. you read the whole recipe before starting. You will need a glass heatproof bowl, an electric mixer or hand whisk, and a food processor or food mill. 

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2 cups of cooked beets

7 ounces of good dark chocolate (above 70%)

3 tablespoons of cocoa powder

¼ cup of espresso

5 eggs, separated

½ cup of butter

1 cup + 2 tablespoons of all purpose flour

1 ¼ teaspoons of baking powder

½ cup of coconut oil

1 cup of sugar

Creme fraiche or sour cream to garnish

poppy seeds to garnish 

Start by placing the beets in unsalted boiling water. It will take about 30 min until they are fork tender, but this time depends on the size of your beets. Once they are cooked, drain them, run them under cold water, and peel them by rubbing off the skin with your hands. Once peeled, place them into a food processor and blend into a coarse puree.

Place a heatproof glass bowl over a pot of simmering water to form a double boiler. The water should not be touching the bowl. Break up the chocolate into pieces and melt in bowl, but do not stir. 

Once the chocolate is melted, pour in the espresso and chunks of butter. Stir just enough to combine. Make sure the butter is submerged so it melts, but do not stir the chocolate too much. Add in coconut oil off the heat.

Combine flour, baking soda, sugar, and cocoa in a bowl.

Whip the egg whites until they have doubled in volume and are fluffy and white.

Combine egg yolks with the cooled chocolate mixture. Stir in beets.

Now you have the chocolate mixture, the beaten egg whites, and the flour cocoa mixture. You gently fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture and then that mixture into the flour. I like to use a rubber spatula and mix in a figure eight motion, while making sure you scrape the bottom of the bowl to fully incorporate the flour. But do not over-mix because then you will lose all the volume of the egg whites.

Pour this into a buttered 9-inch round spring form pan. If you do not have a spring form you can use a regular pan but it’s a good idea to line the bottom with a parchment round.

Bake at 325˚ for 35 min. Check the center with a toothpick. If it is still gooey, return it to the oven for another 5 or 10 min. The cake does set up more as it cools.