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
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)