Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Birthday Beets

For years I’ve been baking small chocolate cakes and mailing to them – yes, mailing them – to friends on their birthdays.

I’d been using a doctored cake mix – chocolate with mini chocolate chips with a chocolate ganache glaze. But I’ve kind of sworn off mixes, so I’ve been sending brownies for birthdays while I searched for a suitable scratch version of my birthday cake.

Last week Eggs on Sunday posted a recipe for Chocolate Beet Cake. I knew as soon as I saw it I was going to have to try it. I’ll admit the cute beet stenciled on the cake had a lot to do with my desire to bake this cake, but I also am a sucker for unusual food combinations, so at that point it was a no-brainer.

The recipe instructed me to boil the beets, and I did that. But I wonder now, what kind of results would I have gotten if I’d roasted them? Would I have gotten more sugar out of them? (And why didn't I take photos of the beautiful ruby red beets after they were peeled and piled high in the mixing bowl?!) I’ll try it next time, and I’ll reduce the brown sugar a bit, just as an experiment. "Despite having the highest sugar content of any vegetable, beets are low in calories. At about 35 calories per half cup, beets are rich in vitamins A and C, and also give us folates, calcium, iron, and potassium." [The City Cook] Reducing the brown sugar would actually make this cake healthy. Right?!

The batter is RED --

-- but the baked cakes are not.

I divided the batter into thirds – one for us, one for the neighbors, and one for a generous friend who lives up the street.

As much as I adored the beet stencil, I was working the night I made this and didn't have time to make my own, so I used these stars instead.

The cake is fabulous, I have to say. Very moist, and only a vague hint of something – what is it? – that makes you take notice that this is not your typical chocolate cake.

So the quest is over – I have found my new scratch recipe birthday mailer.


  1. i have read somewhere that the originial red velvet was made with beets. it made it richier and helped with the red color. i love beets so i will have to try this.thanks

  2. I've heard that too. I've never been a huge fan of Red Velvet Cake, but I wouldn't mind playing with this recipe to create my own. I'd have to cut way back on the chocolate, obviously, to get the true red color, but I'd much rather have the red come from a beet than food coloring. Add that to the looong list of must-try-someday. (I used some leftover puree in pancake batter the next day. You couldn't taste the beet, but it made pretty pink pancakes!)