Sunday, September 19, 2010

Unbeetable Chocolate Cake

You will not believe that beets give this delicious chocolate cake its luscious, moist texture. We made ours in a Bundt® Pan, but you can also make this cake in a tube or rectangular baking pan.

Get your family to guess the secret ingredient in this tasty chocolate cake. When they give up, tell them it’s made with beets, a naturally sweet fall root vegetable. As a bonus, it’s a great way to sneak in a nutritional boost for picky eaters in the family, since beets are a good source of vitamin C, beta carotene and folate. Plus, if you're using fresh beets to make the purée, save the beet greens; they can be washed and sautéed like spinach.

Total Time : 1 hour 10 minutes to 2 hours 40 minutes (depending on whether you use fresh-cooked beets or canned)

Prep Time : 20-95 minutes
Bake Time : 40-50 minutes
Cool Time : 10-15 minutes
Servings : Serves 10-12


1 stick (1/2 cup) plus 1 Tablespoon butter, softened
1/2 cup plus 1 Tablespoon cocoa powder
1 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups puréed beets (see chef's note)
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
Confectioners’ sugar for dusting

Chocolate Glaze (Optional)
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 Tablespoons honey
1 Tablespoon butter
1/4 cup low-fat milk


Make sure the oven rack is positioned in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
In a small microwavable bowl, melt 1 Tablespoon of butter in the microwave on low power. When butter is melted, stir 1 Tablespoon cocoa powder into the butter. Use a pastry brush to apply a thin coat of the butter-cocoa powder mixture to the inside of a Bundt® pan (10-cup maximum capacity) and then set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat together the remaining 1 stick of softened butter, the sugar and the honey. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the puréed beets and mix well. Place 1/2 cup of the chocolate chips in a small microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high power for about 1 minute. Stir the chocolate chips and microwave for another 30 seconds or until chips are completely melted. Allow the melted chocolate to cool slightly before adding to the mixture in the large mixing bowl (from Step 3). Add the vanilla extract. Mix well.

In a small bowl, combine the flour, the remaining 1/2 cup cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Stir to combine. Add the dry ingredients gradually to the chocolate mixture from Step 4 and mix well. The batter should be smooth and thick. Stir in the remaining 1/2 cup of unmelted chocolate chips.

Pour the batter into the prepared Bundt® pan and place the pan in the preheated oven on the middle rack. Bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool the cake in the pan on a cooling rack for 10 minutes.

To remove the cake from the pan, place another cooling rack on top of the cake pan and, using oven mitts, flip the cake pan upside down and gently shake or tap it until the cake comes out onto the second rack. If the cake seems stuck, turn it back over and carefully run a thin rubber or silicone spatula between the edge of the cake and the pan. Then turn it over again onto the second cooling rack.
Dust the cake with confectioners’ sugar when cool.


Instead of sprinkling the cake with confectioners’ sugar, make a chocolate glaze. To make the glaze, combine the chocolate chips, honey and butter in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave in 30-second increments at full power, stirring in between, until the chocolate is melted. Let cool slightly and then gradually stir in the milk. Place the cooled cake on a serving platter and spoon the glaze over the cake. Place the cake in the refrigerator for 15 minutes or until the glaze hardens slightly.

chef's notes

Don't skip the instructions for coating the pan with the butter-cocoa mixture; it will keep the cake from sticking to the pan.

To make the 1 1/2 cups of puréed beets, use 5 fresh beets (small to medium in size) or 2 cans (14 oz. each), drained. If starting with fresh beets, trim greens, roots and stems from the beets and rinse the beets. Place beets in a pot of boiling water, cover and simmer for 30 minutes to an hour, depending on size, until the beets are tender when pierced with a knife. Let the beets cool (or run them under cold water) until they're still warm but comfortable enough to handle. Then use a paper towel to rub away the skin. Cut the cooked beets or canned beets (drained) into small chunks and purée them in a blender or a food processor until smooth.

Use any leftover beet purée to make a sauce for pork or chicken by simmering it with sautéed onions, vinegar and fresh herbs.

If you don't have a Bundt® pan, you can make this in a regular tube pan or as a sheet cake in a 13-by-9-inch baking pan. Prepare the pan and the recipe as directed and bake at 375 degrees F for 40 to 50 minutes.

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  1. WoW!I can't wait to try it! It must have a luxurious deep red color and unbelievable flavor! Yeah!!!

  2. Thanks for the comment, Ann. Let me know when you make it.