Chocolate Beet Cake

Every once in a while I run across a perfectly confounding chocolate dessert recipe that incorporates an ingredient “X,” like dark chocolate zucchini cake, one of my favorites, or black bean brownies. This chocolate cake recipe from the Farmer John’s Cookbook tucks a bunch of sweet beets into the batter. Beets really aren’t that much of a stretch for a dessert, as sweet as they are, but still … beets? Sure enough, the beets give it their moisture, their sweetness, and their rich color–but none of their beet flavor.

Oil and flour for preparing the pan
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 cup mild flavored vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 3/4 cups sugar (or your favorite natural sweetener)
2 cups cooked pureed beets (3 medium beets)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Powdered sugar for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 375F degrees. Lightly coat a 10-cup Bundt or tube pan (or two loaf pans) with oil and dust it with flour.

2. Partially fill the bottom of a double boiler with water and bring to a boil over high heat; reduce to a simmer. Put the chocolate and 1/4 cup of the oil in the top of the double boiler. Heat until just the chocolate melts; remove from the heat and stir until well combined.

3. Combine the eggs and sugar in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer until fluffy. Slowly beat in the remaining 3/4 cup oil, chocolate mixture, beets, and vanilla.

4. Sift the all-purpose flour and whole-wheat pastry flour into a large bowl. Stir in the baking soda and salt. Gently stir the flour mixture into the egg and chocolate mixture just until the flour is mixed in. Pour batter into the prepared pan.

5. Bake until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes.

6. Carefully remove cake from the pan and let cool on a rack. When completely cool, dust with powdered sugar.

Adapted from Farmer John's Cookbook by Farmer John Peterson (Gibbs Smith, 2006)


Sonia M
Sonia M10 days ago

Thanks for sharing

Joan S
Joan S3 months ago

The ingredients state baking powder but the method says add the baking soda - big difference. Can anyone verify which to use? The cake looks wonderful and there are two birthdays coming up in our family!!

Peggy B
Peggy B3 months ago

Looks yummy

William C
William C9 months ago

Thank you.

W. C
W. C9 months ago


Jeanne Rogers
Jeanne Rabout a year ago

Thank you for sharing.

heather g.
heather g3 years ago

Intriguing but I wouldn't use some of those unhealthy items - I'm sure it tastes excellent because beets re full of nutrition...

Carole R.
Carole R3 years ago

Sounds yummy.

Helga Balague
Helga Balagué3 years ago

funny cake good to give to kids...

Sybil G.
Sybil G3 years ago

Sounds interesting except for the 9 cups of sugar...

This is what I would change:
- 1/2 cup of sugar (I use American made xylitol)
- 1/3 cup of coconut oil (saturated fat is excellent for you, I would imagine 1 whole cup is excessive though)
- 1/2 cup organic whole wheat pastry flour
- 1/2 cup spelt flour
- 1/2 cup barley flour
- 1/2 cup potato or tapioca starch

Add 1/3 cup of organic full fat yogurt if the batter is too dry (to make up for reduced amount of oil).

I use a steamer for all my veggies. Medium size beets usually cook in 40 minutes. Let cool and peel afterwards.

I hope this helps.