It’s been awhile, I know. Life happens, and I’ve been busy, and I’ve wrestled with whether to keep the blog thing going if I couldn’t post something every other week, and decided to stop. But I am adding a caveat to that decision: if I have a really great recipe, or something I really want to put out there in the e-universe to share with you, I’m going to. Like once or month or so. Deal?
So what is the really great thing I want to share right now? I had a really inspiring conversation about beets today with Betsy Karetnick on Everday Food on Martha Stewart radio. Besty is one of the warmest, funniest people on the planet, I feel lucky to get to chat with her now and then.
I coolly mentioned to Betsy that I make a dynamite chocolate cake recipe that happens to have beets it. It follows the same logic as carrot or zucchini cakes, but with rich, sweet grated beets (and some cocoa powder) instead. Callers clamored for the recipe. So, here it is!
And what you get for your fearless grating and subsequent pink fingers, should you try this recipe? A really moist cake, the kind of cake where you can press the tines of your fork into the crumbs and they adhere easily. (All the better to get every last speck into your mouth, my dear.) And the flavor? Lots of chocolate, walnuts, and a deep sweetness that you’d never pin on beets. Test it on your favorite picky 4 year-old and see if I’m joking.
I offer up my standard gooey cream cheese frosting here too, in case you need to fancy up the cake for a special occasion. If you’re not in the mood, the cake doesn’t really suffer when served unfrosted. Gild the lily, or don’t. That’s up to you.
Ivy’s Chocolate Beet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Makes one 9×13-inch sheet cake or 2 8-inch rounds, for layering
1 1/2 cups, plus 1 tablespoon all purpose flour, divided
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 1 /2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, plus 1 tablespoon for pan, room temperature
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 medium beets, peeled and grated (3 cups)
1 cup chopped walnuts
5 ounces cream cheese, room temperature (I use Sierra Nevada Cheese Company’s Gina Marie Cream Cheese, much better flavor than Philly)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 ounces (about 1 1/2 cups) powdered sugar
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Rub bottom and sides of a 9 x 13″ pan with 1 tablespoon butter. Add 1 tablespoon flour and tap to coat bottom and sides. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, sift the remaining flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a large mixing bowl, beat the remaining butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and stir until just combined.
Blot the grated beets with a few paper towels to absorb some of the excess moisture. Stir the beets and walnuts into the cake batter and pour into the prepared pan. Bake until a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes for a sheet cake, a bit less for 2 round cake pans. Allow the cake(s) to cool on a rack in the pan(s).
In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla until fluffy. Sift the powdered sugar over the cream cheese mixture and beat to combine. Spread the cake(s) with the frosting and serve.