After several weeks of unusually warm weather, winter has finally arrived in Pittsburgh. That means it’s time to gear up for some much needed baking. The warmth of the oven offers a sense of comfort that can only be appreciated when a dusting of snow swirls across my front lawn.
I had a couple of prehistoric sized beets, leftover in my last CSA delivery, that were begging to be incorporated into a recipe. “Please make me delicious,” I imagined them saying as I washed away bits of soil left behind after harvest. On most occasions, I associate beets with other savory flavors – a sprinkling of crumbled feta cheese, chopped parsley and a drizzle of olive oil. That’s what I call heaven. The moons must have aligned just right for me to develop an insatiable desire to attempt something sweet with my beet bounty.
Beets and chocolate are wonderfully right for each other like two long lost lovers reunited after many years of solitude. Neither conflict nor compete for top billing. They work just right together. This cake was incredibly rich and dense. The chocolate flavor intensified while the beets add a hint of earthliness woven into each bite. The texture was very similar to a pound cake. However, it wasn’t overly sweet; allowing the glaze to shine on its own.
Chocolate Beet Cake with Cream Cheese Glaze
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
1 ½ cups light brown sugar, lightly packed
3 eggs, room temperature
4 oz. semisweet chocolate, not chips
2 cups pureed roasted beets, room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1 Tbl. unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Generously coat the inside of a bundt pan with non-stick spray. I used the kind with flour added.
Divide the butter. Place ¾ cup in a mixing bowl with the brown sugar. Cream together with a mixer set to low. Slowly add the eggs one at a time until completely incorporated. Add the pureed beets and vanilla extract to the mixing bowl. In a small sauce pan, melt the remaining butter with the chocolate. Allow the mixture to cool slightly. Fold in cooled chocolate into the liquid mixture.
Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. With the mixer on low, gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet. Allow the flour to become absorbed into the liquid mixture before adding more flour.
Pour the batter into the greased Bundt pan; spread the batter evenly to fill in around the edges. Bake at 375 degrees for 40-45 minutes. Check the cake at 30 minutes to determine the final cooking time. Be careful to not over bake the cake.
Remove the pan from the oven and allow to cool slightly before turning the cake onto a cooling rack. Allow the cake to cool completely before drizzling it with the cream cheese glaze.
Cream Cheese Glaze:
4 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
½ cup powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
4-5 Tbl. of milk or half and half
Mix the cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla extract until smooth. Gradually add the milk one tablespoon at a time until the mixture pours easily from the spoon. Carefully pour the glaze along the top of the cake allowing it to drip down the sides.
Authors Note: Be sure to check out my previous post on how to roast beets.