Saturday, August 14, 2010

Chocolate Chip Beet Cake

During the summer of 2001, I lived in a house with six other women.  The house only had three bedrooms, so one of us slept in the basement, and the rest of us slept on mattresses in the attic.  (Ghetto, I know.  But rent was $140 and I was a college student.)  Oh, also?  It was mother-effing hot in that attic, and we did not have air conditioning.  I don't think I slept for three months.

One day I came home from work to find one of my roommates deep frying naan on the stove.  It was 101 degrees outside.  Due to my lack of sleep and generally pissy 20-year old attitude, I think I said some not-very-nice things to my roommate, probably including something like "Can't you just make a goddamn peanut butter and jelly sandwich??"

Farmers' Market Beets
Needless to say, we didn't remain friends.  But I'm reminded of her today as the temperatures are in the 80's and I have an overwhelming need to bake something.  I'm going to blame it on the Midtown Farmers' Market and the three bunches of beautiful beets I bought this morning.

The Recipe
I've decided to make a Chocolate Chip Beet Cake, roughly basing my recipe on this one from Heavy Table.  I don't think I've ever cooked with beets before, so I hadn't anticipated that the boiling of the beets would take so long.  (These are things I'm still learning.)

Tip: Don't peel the beets before boiling them - the skin will slide right off when they've been cooked long enough.

You should know, too, that I'm experimenting with a few substitutions - I like to put a little splash of my own creativity in every recipe I make:
  1. I'm using dark brown sugar, which always looks so much more luscious than the other stuff.  
  2. I don't have applesauce, so I'm using and plain yogurt instead (making this recipe not-vegan).  
  3. I added a tablespoon and a half of minced ginger because, well, why not?  
  4. For some reason I'm opposed to semi-sweet chocolate chips, so I used pieces of a dark chocolate bar instead.
The great thing about cooking with beets is how gorgeous the batter is.  I think I might even dare to call it "sexy".  The not-so-great thing about cooking with beets is how the juice gets all over everything, including your clothes.  Just make sure to wear something that looks good with magenta flecks all over it.

The Verdict
So how did it turn out?  Well, it tastes good, but unfortunately I didn't grease my pan well enough, so the whole top of the cake is still stuck there.  (Hey, I never claimed to be an expert...)

Hey, where's the rest of it?

Other observations
I think my oven gets a little hot, so I have to remember to set it a little cooler than the recipe calls for.  In general, the cake has good consistency, and the sweet flavor of the beets really makes it a unique dessert.  I'm thinking it would be good with a nice glass of Valpolicella, too, on a crisp fall evening.  My only beef with it is that I really prefer my cakes with something wet - you know, like ice cream or frosting or something.  But this one is so sweet on its own that I think adding anything else would be really overdoing it.  I'm open to suggestions.


  1. Hey, you have a blog? Cool. I like it!

  2. Coffee with cream (or tea with cream) is the obvious accompaniment.