This rich decadent cake is the perfect treat: one part indulgent, one part healthy.
I’m never quite sure what to say when I meet a pastry chef who doesn’t like sweets – it’s a problem I certainly don’t suffer from, and I find it oddly amusing when someone who doesn’t like sugar is willing to devote themselves to its craft. I’m not sure if my love of all things sucrose, fructose and glucose stems from a childhood based on German chocolate and Italian gelato, or years spent nibbling on crème brulee scraps after long shifts in pastry kitchens. But either way, my taste buds crave sweets the way some women crave shopping, in the -oholic sense that borders on obsession. In short: I’m never one to turn down another course during a dessert tasting and I can always nibble on one more macaron.
My crème de le crème is chocolate of course. This luxurious chocolate cake offers all the rich, luscious texture and flavor of the most decadent recipe, with an added healthy kick: beet puree. While the vegetable may add an earthy bite — and a handful of vitamins and minerals — your guests won’t think you’ve tossed something unexpected into the cake, until you spill the beets. The puree adds a wonderfully moist crumb, and the almond flour adds a nice texture (although the cake is just as wonderful made with all cake flour if you are short on almond). It’s the perfect way to feed a sugar craving, and get a healthy dose of nutrients to boot.
Chocolate Beet Cake, adapted from Tiger in a Jar/Gilt Taste
8 ounces butter, divided
1 ½ cups packed dark brown sugar
3 medium eggs
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate
2 cups pureed cooked beets (steam and puree in a food processor)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ½ cups cake flour
1 ½ cups almond flour
¼ teaspoon salt
Confectioner’s sugar, for dusting
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 9-inch cake pan with oil and lightly dust with sugar.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream 6 ounces of butter with the brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes on medium speed. Add the eggs one at a time and mix until well combined.
3. Melt the chocolate and the remaining 2 ounces of butter together and stir to combine. Add a small amount of the butter/egg mixture into the chocolate, mix well, and then combine the chocolate with the butter mixture in the stand mixer. Beat well to combine completely. Blend in the beet puree and vanilla on slow speed until just combined; mixture will appear slightly separated.
4. Sift together the cake flour, almond flour, baking soda and salt; mix into the creamed mixture until thoroughly combined.
5. Pour the mixture into the prepared cake pan. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes, rotate, then bake an additional 20-30 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool in the pan completely, then remove. Dust with confectioner’s sugar before serving.