Like so many things in life these days, I was introduced to a new-to-me cake variety, beet, via twitter:
As much as I love beets, I’ll admit it, my first gut reaction was one of recoil. Beet cake? What in the world? Sounds like something Jessica Seinfeld would whip up, though she’d likely call it something different, to be stealth around all those unknowingly-healthy children who think they live on dessert (ha! joke’s on them!).*
I don’t know the history of this confection, and a lazy first-page skimming of google results gave me nothing. But I was intrigued enough to continue thinking about it, when yet another tweet appeared in my stream (I really do close my computer every now and again — just think of all the beet-related tweets I’m missing when that happens — perish the thought!):
And you know when that happens? When you hear about a previously unheard-of thing from multiple unrelated sources? You realize, well, beet cake must be all the rage. I must hop on this bandwagon.
So I found a recipe — this one included dark chocolate, which seemed a pleasurable match. I’ve recently been experimenting with grain-free baking (that is the subject of another, very long, post), and since this cake seemed the perfect vehicle for unrefined sugars, I went that route. Mini-cakes also seemed appropriate, since it allowed me to make a smaller portion in case the whole thing was a bust.
It wasn’t a bust. Quite lovely, actually, in that subtly-flavored-and-textured-dessert sort of way. My kids loved them, and even knew they included beets. I loved having access to a rich and decadent treat that didn’t cause my blood sugar to crash.
These cakes are very moist in the middle, even after baking for almost 40 minutes — not in a molten cake sort of way, but more a flourless cake sort of way. The beet flavor is vaguely present, but you might be hard-pressed to find a guest who could name it correctly in a guessing game, as the overbearing flavor is dark chocolate. Stored in an airtight container these were just as delicious the second day, making them ideal for make-ahead desserts for company, served simply dusted with powdered sugar.
* Truth be told: I’ve never laid eyes on Mrs. Seinfeld’s cookbook. I’m only taking a stance against the general concept of hiding good-for-you food in brownies and cookies. Not that you can’t do that (and I do — today’s post as case-in-point) — but I’d rather just put zucchini on my kids’ plates and make them take the requisite one bite until the day they like it. And then, they’ll like zucchini, and know what it tastes like.
This post was linked up to Simple Lives Thursday, via GNOWFGLINS.
Recipe: Mini Beet Cakes (grain-free, dairy-free, refined-sweetener-free)
: adapted from this recipe at Tiger in a Jar
makes 10-12 mini cakes
- 8 Tbsp refined coconut oil, divided (can sub butter)
- 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate
- 3/4 cup sucanat (can sub dark-brown sugar)
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup puree from cooked beets
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup almond flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- powdered sugar for dusting
- Have a 12-cup muffin tin ready, lined with paper cups or parchment. Preheat oven to 375º.
- In a heat-proof bowl set over a saucepan of barely-simmering water, melt together the chocolate and 2 Tbsp of the coconut oil, stirring until very smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.
- In a mixing bowl, cream together the sucanat and remaining 6 Tbsp coconut oil. Add eggs one at a time, mixing until incorporated. Add melted chocolate, beet puree, and vanilla, and mix well.
- In a separate bowl, sift together the almond flour, baking soda and salt. Add to batter and mix until combined.
- Pour batter into prepared cups, filling about 2/3 full. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of a center cup comes out clean (the cakes will sink a bit in the middle).
- Cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes. Carefully remove the cakes from the tin to cool completely. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature, dusted with powdered sugar.
Copyright © Katy Carter, 2011.