Recipe: Velvety Beet and Cocoa Cake

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

We want a good red beet cake. We have friends who love the classic Southern Red Velvet, but we object to the entire bottles of red food coloring that go into most recipes. Beets add such a sweet, moist texture that we just really want to find a recipe that incorporates them into a proper red cake. This attempt was a disappointment but also a pleasant surprise…

It was too chocolatey – not a bit of red to be seen, and the beets were obviously well-camouflaged. This was disappointing, but the cake itself was wonderful. It has a stunningly light, moist texture and as far as straight chocolate cakes go, it may beat out our favorite dark chocolate cake recipe.

So we give it to you in the spirit of recipe testing and development. We’re still trying to get that red beet cake, although we’re starting to suspect that chemically it’s pretty tough to bake beets into a cake batter and keep their color. But still, stay tuned for our next try…

Velvety Beet and Cocoa Cake
2 9-inch cake layers

3/4 cup butter
2 cups white sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup dark cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 1/2 cups pureed canned beets, juice drained off and 1/2 cup reserved
1/2 cup reserved beet juice

Heat the oven to 350’F. Cream the butter and sugar and beat in the eggs until light, pale, and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt and add in alternating amounts with the milk. Add the beets and beet juice and mix for a couple minutes or until very smooth. Pour into two greased 9-inch cake pans and bake for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Layer with lightly sweetened whipped cream and cacao nibs.