Beet-Chocolate Cake

Beet-Cocolate cake Ronit PensoThere is something fascinating about the American way of adding all kinds of slightly sweet vegetables to a cake batter, mainly for frugal reasons, but also for the moisture and the unique flavor the vegetables add to the cakes. The most common vegetable cake is, of course, the carrot cake, but the list goes on – from zucchini to pumpkin, sweet potatoes, butternut squash and even tomatoes, in the form of a soup…
Adding beets to a cake is less popular, but I’m sure that once you’ll try it, you’ll love it. The beets add a lovely flavor and color to the cake, and the enriched nutritional value is an extra bonus.

The original recipe called for cooked puréed beets, but I find that fresh beets result a better texture and flavor. I have also replaced most of the white sugar with brown sugar, and part of the white flour with whole wheat flour. Added spices, chocolate chips and chopped pecans – and ended up with the following version.

Makes: 12-16
Prep time: 30 minutes
Baking time: 45 minutes

For the cake
3 medium size beets
2 eggs
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup white sugar
¾ cup oil
½ cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 ½ cups flour
1 cup whole wheat flour for cakes
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
2 Tbs cocoa powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger powder
½ cup chocolate chips
1/3 cup chopped pecans
For the icing (optional)
1 cup powdered sugar
2-3 Tbs milk

1. The cake: Peel and grate the beets (food processor makes it easier). You should end up with about 2 cups of grated beets.
Beet-Chocolate Cake Ronit Penso
2. Preheat the oven to 355F (180C). Brush a 9½” (24cm) baking pan with oil and dust with a bit of flour.
3. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs with the sugars. Add the oil and mix well. Add the milk and vanilla, and mix again. Add the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and ginger powder. Mix to a smooth batter.
Beet-Chocolate Cake Ronit PensoBeet-Chocolate Cake Ronit Penso
4. Add the chocolate chips, pecans and beets and mix lightly, using a spatula. 6. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan. Bake for 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted to the center of the cake comes out clean.
5. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely before adding the icing, if using.
P1000476P1000478Beet-Chocolate Cake Ronit Penso

The icing: put the powdered sugar in a bowl and add the milk, one tablespoon at a time, and mix until you reach a spreadable but not too runny consistency. Drizzle over the cake and spread gently, and let set.
P1000488P1000516 Beet-Cocolate cake Ronit Penso

11 thoughts on “Beet-Chocolate Cake

  1. gitit says:

    it really is a strange combination, but quite creative!
    It doesn’t look like a typical chocolate cake, more like a carrot cake.
    I guess whoever loves chocolate cakes might be disappointed, even though this is obviously healthier and I’m sure, tastier.
    It will be interesting to try the combined flavor of of beets and chocolate, as the beet has such a unique type of sweetness.


    • Ronit Penso says:

      I know it sounds a bit strange at first, but I’m sure once you’ll give it a try, you’ll see that the beets actually enhance the chocolate flavor.
      It definitely is healthier than most chocolate cakes, though I also love the less good-for-you-decadent ones, and intend to post a recipe for one in the next few weeks, so keep following… :-)


  2. Cheesy Biscuit says:

    I already had pre roasted beetroot hanging out in my fridge (love to eat it just like that), but interesting to see you can use grated raw beetroot instead. What do you think it brings to the texture of the cake as opposed to pureed, out of interest?


    • Tasty Eats Ronit Penso says:

      I too love roasted beets as is. :)

      Your version sounds much richer and the cooked beet seems to blend better with the other ingredients.

      I developed the recipe for a health food magazine, so my thought was (though I’m not sure how accurate it is from scientific point of view) that the raw beet would have more nutritional value if not cooked and then baked.
      Using raw beets also shortens the preparation time, so that was an extra bonus. :)


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