• Karen Haralson

Beet Cake: A Healthy and Chocolatey Delight

Beets have a reputation for being less than delicious. Personally, I don't know why - they are sweet and earthy, and are lovely steamed and slathered in butter (grass-fed, preferably). Or roasted along with carrots, onions, parsnips, and other winter veggies, or grated raw into salads. And yes, they can be baked into an amazingly delicious chocolate cake! (Not every veggie can say that!)




Beets also add beautiful color to your plate along with amazing health benefits. If you have never cooked beets, see these three simple ways to cook beets.


Why Eat Beets?



Little jewel-colored orbs, beets are loaded with health-boosting nutrients. Beets get their amazing color from the plant pigments called betalains. Betalains contain:

· Antioxidants: These natural compounds protect your cells from damage and may lower the risk of heart disease, cancer, or other diseases.

· Anti-inflammatory properties: These help control ongoing inflammation in the body which is linked to several diseases, including Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.


Along with the betalains, beets have other health-promoting substances that benefit your heart:

· Fiber: Beets are high in fiber. Fiber can help you control blood sugar levels, maintain a healthy weight, support a healthy microbiome, and lower cholesterol.

· Nitrates: Beets contain nitrates, which help widen blood vessels. That can help lower blood pressure and heart disease risk.

· Vitamins and minerals: Beets and beet greens are a good source of folate, a B-vitamin that research has shown to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. Folate is especially important during pregnancy. They are also a good source of potassium, magnesium, and vitamin C, all necessary nutrients for overall health.


So, you can have your cake and eat it too! Amazing health supporting ingredients (don't forget - dark chocolate contains antioxidants as well!) and a super delicious dessert. What could be better?


Can’t Beet it Chocolate Cake


Earthy-sweet beet purée gives this chocolate cake a red velvet hue and so much buttery moistness that you'd never guess the cake is dairy-free. The almond flour also adds protein and makes this cake gluten-free. A perfect chocolatey treat!


Ingredients:

8–10 servings


CAKE

3-4 medium beets, scrubbed

2 Tbsp. virgin coconut oil, plus more for pan

½ cup cocoa powder, plus more for pan

1½ cups almond flour

½ tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. ground cinnamon

2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

1 tsp. apple cider vinegar or distilled white vinegar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

4 large eggs

2/3 cups (packed) light brown sugar

1 tsp. kosher salt


GLAZE

4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

1 Tbsp. virgin coconut oil

¼ tsp. vanilla extract

Pinch of kosher salt


Preparation:


CAKE

Step 1 -

Cook beets in a medium pot of boiling unsalted water until tender, 30–40 minutes, depending on size. Drain and rinse under cold water until cool enough to handle. Cut off the stem end, then peel and cut beets into large pieces. Transfer to a blender and add 2 Tbsp. water. Blend, adding water 1 Tbsp. at a time as needed, until a smooth purée forms—it should be the consistency of applesauce. Measure out 1 cup purée (reserve remaining purée for another use, such as blending into a smoothie).

Step 2 -

Preheat oven to 350°. Line bottom of an 8" round cake pan with parchment. Grease with oil, then dust with cocoa powder, tapping out excess.

Step 3 -

Whisk almond flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and remaining ½ cup cocoa powder in a medium bowl; set aside.

Step 4 -

Heat chocolate and remaining 2 Tbsp. oil in a medium heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water, stirring often, until melted. Remove bowl from heat. Stir in vinegar, vanilla, and reserved 1 cup beet purée until smooth.

Step 5 -

Beat eggs, brown sugar, and salt in the large bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment on medium-high speed (or use an electric mixer and large bowl) until more than tripled in volume and mixture holds a ribbon for several seconds when beater is lifted above batter, 5–7 minutes. Thoroughly beating the eggs is key to creating an aerated, light crumb and is a critical step when using gluten-free ingredients.

Step 6 -

Pour chocolate-beet mixture into egg mixture and beat on medium-low speed until combined. Turn mixer off and gently tip in reserved dry ingredients. Beat on lowest speed, scraping down bowl as needed, until combined.

Step 7 -

Transfer batter to prepared pan. Bake cake until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean and the top springs back when gently pressed, 45–50 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes. Carefully run a knife around edges of pan, then invert cake onto a wire rack and let cool.


GLAZE

Step 8 -

Heat chocolate, oil, vanilla, and salt in a medium heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water, stirring often, until chocolate is melted. Let cool, stirring occasionally, until mixture is thickened and cool enough to touch, 10–15 minutes.

Step 9 -

Place rack with cake on a rimmed baking sheet. Pour glaze over center of cake to cover top, tilting baking sheet slightly to encourage a few drips to run over sides of cake. Let sit at room temperature until glaze is set, 2–3 hours.


Do Ahead: Cake can be glazed 2 days ahead. Cover and store at room temperature.


Adapted from Bon Appetit