Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Chocolate Beet Cake with Cream Cheese Beet Frosting

Did I already hear you say that beets do not belong in chocolate cake?  Well.  One of my kiddos said the exact same thing.  Until he tried it.  He changed his tune and ate half of this cake.  In 24 hours.

I found this recipe on Joy's site.  She has become my morning smile lately.  I love her.  I think it is her direct sense of humor.  She is straight from the heart funny.  Morning coffee and Joy go well together.  Like peanut butter and jelly.  Wine and cheese.  Sun and sand.  

We made this cake to celebrate my Mom's birthday.  Yes, she moved to California in December but we can still celebrate, right?  Especially when there is Chocolate Beet Cake.  So, Happy Birthday Mom!

This post is not JUST a chocolate cake recipe for you to enjoy.  You should know that it is part of the Crazy Cooking Challenge.  Check out the end of this post and you will discover huge numbers of chocolate cake recipes.  Yes.  You are welcome.


So, you need the recipe, right?  Well, here it is.....

Chocolate Beet Cake with Cream Cheese Beet Frosting

For the Cake:
2 medium beets, unpeeled but trimmed of their greens
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
6 ounces (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for greasing the pans
1 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the pans
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups buttermilk

For the Frosting:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
8 ounces (1 brick) cream cheese, softened
4 to 5 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons finely grated beets, mashed with a fork
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or scrapings of one vanilla bean pod
1-2 teaspoons milk, depending on desired consistency
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
pinch of salt

Place a rack in the center and upper third of the oven.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Thoroughly wash beets under running water, and trim their leaves, leaving about 1/2 inch of stem.  Place clean beets in a piece of foil.  Drizzle with just a bit of vegetable oil.  Seal up foil.  Place on a baking sheet in the oven.  Roast until beets are tender when pierced with a knife, about 1 hour.
Remove the beets from the oven.  Open the foil and allow beets to cool completely.  Beets will be easy to peel (just using a paring knife) once completely cooled.

Using a grater, grate the peeled beets on the finest grating plane.  Measure 3/4 cup of grated beets for the cake and 2 tablespoons for the frosting.  Set aside.

Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.  Use butter to grease two 8 or 9-inch round baking pans.  Trace a piece of parchment paper so it is the same size as the bottom of the cake pan.  Cut it out and place inside the cake pan.  Butter the parchment paper.  Add a dusting of flour to coat the pan.  Set pans aside while you prepare the cake.

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugars.  Beat on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes.  

Beat in eggs, one at a time, for one minute after each addition.   Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary.  Once eggs are incorporated, beat in beets and vanilla extract until thoroughly combined.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  

Add half of the dry ingredients to the butter and egg mixture.  Beating on low speed , slowly add the buttermilk.  Once just incorporated, add the other half of the dry ingredients.  Beat on medium speed until milk and dry ingredients are just incorporated.  Try not to overmix the batter.  Bowl can be removed from the mixer and mixture folded with a spatula to finish incorporating ingredients.  

 Cake batter will be on the thick side… not pourable.  Divide the batter between the two prepared cake pans.  Bake for 23 to 25 minutes (for a 9-inch pan) or 30-32 minutes (for an 8-inch pan).  Cake is done when a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.  Remove cakes from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes.  Invert cakes onto a cooling rack to cool completely before frosting and assembling the cake.

To make the Frosting:

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, beat cream cheese for 30 seconds, until pliable and smooth.  Add the butter and beat for another 30 seconds, until well combined. 

 Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl as necessary.  Beat in the beets.  Add the powdered sugar, vanilla extract, milk, lemon juice, and salt.  Beat on medium speed until smooth and silky.  Refrigerate the frosting for 30 minutes before frosting the cooled cakes.  To assemble the cake, place one layer of cake on a cake stand or cake plate.  Top with a generous amount of pink frosting.  Spread evenly.  Place the other cake on top of the frosting.  Top with frosting. 

 Work frosting onto the sides of the cake.  You will have extra frosting left over.  Refrigerate for an hour before serving (it will make the cake easier to slice).  Cake will last, well wrapped in the refrigerator, for up to 4 days unless you live in a house with teen-agers.  Then 4 hours is a pretty exact amount of time!

Here's a huge birthday shout out to my Mom in California and a great big thank you to Joy for making every morning full of laughs and giggles.  And, to the bakers in the Crazy Cooking Challenge~hope you all enjoy many walks in the near future to take care of all of the delicious calories that are inevitable when this many great cake recipes are nearby!

Charleston Treasures wishes you a very happy Tuesday!!  Now, go check out some recipes and bake some cakes!


  1. What a fantastic idea! I love hiding things in cake (I did the Black Bean Chocolate Cake), and the frosting is just a gorgeous color.

  2. Beautiful cake! My kitchen would probably look like a murder scene when I got done grating the beets. I'm a messy cook!

  3. I had a chocolate beet cake here in Hanoi and it was amazing! (It had a cardamom glaze instead of frosting) I've been meaning to try making it ever since. Can't wait to try it with your recipe!

    Check out my Red Wine Chocolate Truffle cake, #59!

  4. @greenhorn gourmande- Definitely trying the your recipe. Black beans are one of my favorites!
    @Amy.....the pink stain is pretty incredible! My hands looked like burn victims for a bit :)

  5. This looks interesting, but delish!! Not sure I woul dbe brave enough to try and make it, but would love to try if someone else did! ;)


  6. Your cake looks intriguing. I have never cooked with beets. They sure do make a gorgeous frosting color!!

  7. For years, I had only known beets as "pickled" but roasted...Yum! They are smoky and delicious and make this cake take on an almost dark chocolate taste! And, it's easy peasy!

    And, Teri, my hands were that same color for a few hours! Talk about intriguing...

  8. Very interesting and what amazing color.
    If you haven't already, I'd love for you to check out my Crazy Cooking Challenge entry: Double Chocolate Meyer Lemon Mousse Cake

    Cook Lisa Cook

  9. You are a genius. This is so unique and outside the box. Love it.

  10. We grow beets and just love them. A beet cake is one of our favorites. Your presentation looks wonderful! Thanks for sharing and hope you have a wonderful week!
    Miz Helen

  11. I love the moistness that beets add to baked goods. The color of the frosting is wonderful.

  12. I was thrilled to see this post using beets. I was just chatting the other day with a lady about what to do with extra beets, I had suggested a chocolate beet cake. I have never actually made a beet cake recipe, but now I am inspired! Thanks so much!

  13. Wow! Great recipe! And I love the colour of the frosting.

    Jen #79

  14. Que rica!! maravillosa la humedad de la masa; reemplacé el suero por yogur ( acá en Argentina tengo que elaborar el suero), muy rico. Guardaré esta receta entre mis favoritas

  15. I've seen a lot of beet cakes but yours is the most mouthwatering one. Can't wait to try this out.

    Haley McAdams
    Texas Food Handlers

  16. I really don't think anyone has put it that way before!. Your blog is definitely worth a read if anyone finds it. I'm lucky I did because now I've got a whole new view of this. Thank you!
    Best Bars In Singapore


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