Thursday, October 2, 2014

Chocolate Beet Cake (or Cupcakes)


I never thought this would work. My kids have bloodhound noses and the taste buds of the king's poison taster. Did I really think I was going to sneak beet puree past them? But I had two honking beets and had already made my favorite beet salad. I figured it was worth a try and, as long as I thought of the beets as "something that would moisten chocolate cake," instead of "I'm trying to add a weird vegetable to chocolate cake," I didn't psyche myself out too much.

Even so as I pureed those beets, each one of my kids commented on the grossness of the smell (note: the kids did not know what the beets would be used for). Then when I made the batter, it was distinctly purplish-pink. And then as those cupcakes cooked and I could catch the faint whiff of beetiness, I had to wonder if I'd be eating a bunch of beetcakes all by myself.

When they came out, I could still smell the beet just faintly, but after they'd cooled it was gone. As was any beety color--these are a nice, rich chocolate color. The cake was intensely moist with a perfect delicate crumb. And they were delicious. I had made a fudge frosting for them as a sort of backup plan--thinking that if they were just a little beety, I could cover that sin with some decent frosting. But I found I preferred them without the frosting--as a sort of slightly-indulgent-muffin. (Note: Don't worry--when I asked my kids if they would like to eat these without frosting as chocolate muffins for breakfast or with frosting as chocolate cupcakes for dessert--they chose the frosting/dessert option. And, no, I never told them they contained beets.)

Seriously, I plan to make these again and again when I've got a couple leftover beets hanging around. I must add that beets or no beets these are not exactly health food. But I should also add that they are absolutely no worse than many "muffin" recipes floating around the internet. And surely more healthy than any "muffins" you would buy in a store or bakery.

Chocolate Beet Cake
Adapted from Taste of Home
Makes about 24 cupcakes or 2 9-inch cakes
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes to boil the beets, 20-30 minutes to cook cupcakes
Cost: $3.20
chocolate: .60, butter: 1.00, sugar: .40, beets (mine were free, so this is a guess)--1.00, flour: .20, other stuff: .05

4 oz semi-sweet chocolate (about 2/3 C chocolate chips)
1 C butter (2 sticks), divided
1 1/2 C brown sugar (a combination of brown and white will also work)
3 eggs
2 C pureed beets (2 large beets will make about this much, or 4 normal ones)
1 tsp vanilla
2 C flour (I used just a touch of whole wheat flour--probably about 1/4 C)
2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

Boil your beets (you can also roast them) until they are tender--you should be able to easily stick a butter knife into them. Let them cool. Then you can slide the skins off. After this, you'll need to puree the beets. I did this in my Magic Bullet. (Note: Naturally, it's time saving to cook many beets for different recipes at once. So if you're making beet salad, cook your beets for this too. You can puree and freeze the puree or the beets themselves will keep cooked for a good week in the fridge.)

Set the pureed beets aside.

Melt chocolate with part of the butter (I used 1 stick--1/2 C). I did this in the microwave in 30 second intervals--stirring in between. When the chocolate is melted, combine it with beets and vanilla.

In a separate (large) bowl, cream remaining butter and all the sugar until it's light and fluffy. Beat in eggs. Now add your chocolate/beet mixture. It might look a bit separated (and generally like it will be a big failure--don't despair).

Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients. Mix.

Bake as cupcakes for 20-30 minutes or until a cake tester comes out with just a few moist crumbs.

LET THEM COOL. This is essential. If they don't cool, they'll still have beety hints to them.

Frost if desired or dust with powdered sugar.




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