Try to Beet This Chocolate Cake!

June 23, 2007 at 6:43 am 43 comments





I’m feeling kind of sheepish about this post…first, because the title is pretty cheesy, and second, because I can’t put down my fork long enough to make a coherent sentence.  Good lord, this cake is good! 

Okay, fork’s down.  Let’s start over while I have some lingering resolve to save the last sliver for tomorrow to give to Farmer Dave.   After all, the man did raise the amazing secret ingredient in the best darn chocolate cake ever!  For those of you that have read up on my general approach in the kitchen, you already know that I prefer baking to cooking.  I was thrilled to come across a recipe concept that finally brought my talents to the forefront, using the unassuming beet to do what applesauce often does in other moist baked goods. 

                chocolate-for-cake.jpg   pureed-beets.jpg  swirled-beet-cake-batter.jpg

What’s the advantage of using beets?  Beta carotene, baby!  And folate and vitamin C and… well, the list is long but the general idea is beets are good for the body.  Chocolate cake is certainly a great way to sneak health food past your picky eater kids (or boyfriend, in my case). 

Now, a word to the wise about this cake.  Leave it cool completely before eating.  I repeat, WAIT or else you’ll taste the beets, which kind of weirded me out, to be honest.  When the cake is warm, there’s beet flavor.  When it’s cool, there is not even the slightest hint of it.  So, let the cake cool.  Good luck keeping your hands off of it after it has…pardon me while I eat just another little “crumb”…


A quick general tip to share for all you cooks with tight space and no dish washer.  When baking, I always mix my dry ingredients in a freezer ziploc bag that I just reuse the next time (no need to clean since almost every recipe calls for the same general combination of dry ingredients).  Just dump everything into the bag, seal and shake hard.  This technique 1) cuts down on dirty dishes and 2) fluffs up the flour so you don’t really need to sift unless you’re making something really delicate. 

I baked this cake in a spring form pan.  The recipe I was following most closely called for a bunt pan.  I think you can get away just fine with a regular sheet cake pan too.  A nice cream cheese frosting could really fancy it up nicely but before I could get to the store for the cream cheese, D had already dug in.  I didn’t protest much between my own mouthfuls. 

Adapted from various recipes on

1 c. margarine, softened, dividedwhole-beet-cake.jpg
1 1/2 c. packed dark brown sugar
3 eggs at room temp
1 1/2 oz. dark chocolate
5 medium beets/2 c. pureed beets
1 t. vanilla extract
2 c. all-purpose flour
2 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. nutmeg
confectioners’ sugar for dusting
To make beet puree, trim stems and roots off beets and quarter them.  Place in heavy sauce pan filled with water.  Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer for 50 mins or until the beets are tender.  Drain off remaining liquid and rinse beets in cold water as they’ll be too hot to handle otherwise.  Slide skins off and place beets in blender.  Pulse until a smooth puree forms.  Let cool slightly before using in cake.  Puree can be made several days in advance.

In a mixing bowl, cream 3/4 cup butter and brown sugar. Add eggs; mix well. Melt chocolate with remaining butter; stir until smooth. Cool slightly. Blend chocolate mixture, beets and vanilla into the creamed mixture (mixture will appear separated). Combine flour, baking soda , salt, cinnamon and nutmeg; add to the creamed mixture and mix well. Pour into a greased and floured 10-in. spring form pan. Bake at 375 degrees F for 50-55 minutes  or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool in pan 15 minutes before removing to a wire rack. Cool completely before dusting with confectioners’ sugar.

(serves 16 if you’re lucky enough not to eat it all yourself)



Entry filed under: Recipes, Sweet Treats.

AfterWords 6/22 Let’s Talk “Shop”

43 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Rachel  |  June 24, 2007 at 8:18 am

    Great Events coming up. Wish we were closer. The blog coming to life–so excited!

  • 2. Jennie  |  June 25, 2007 at 8:54 am

    Yes, there are some great events coming up at the farm the next couple of months! Maybe you can make a trip to Philly sometime to visit… 🙂

  • 3. Mari  |  June 26, 2007 at 8:29 am

    Love, love, love beets and I’m totally curious about this cake. Its inspiring some good ideas on a artificial food coloring-free Red Velvet cake. Thanks for sharing!

  • 4. Jennie  |  June 26, 2007 at 10:35 am

    Mari – I’m glad to hear you share my enthusiasim for beets! Unfortunately, the red is not really retained in the cake after baking. It is slightly red but I don’t think it would be enough in a red velvet cake. I hadn’t thought about red velvet cake in a long time so thanks for bringing it back to the forefront of my mind. 🙂 I do love red velvet cake!

  • 5. r  |  June 27, 2007 at 12:26 pm

    beets are the food of the devil. mixing them with chocolate im surprised you didnt destroy the universe.

  • 6. Jennie  |  June 27, 2007 at 12:30 pm

    Actually, beets and chocolate seem to be a match made in HEAVEN. You’d be surprised.

  • 7. Trace  |  June 28, 2007 at 10:15 am

    A somewhat related question…Have you ever made sugar from sugar beets? Some sources say it’s easy, others say don’t bother.

  • 8. Jennie  |  June 28, 2007 at 10:43 am

    Trace – I haven’t tried to make beet sugar…. Hmmm, I might take a stab at it though. There’s an abundance of beets on the farm. Do you have a method you were considering?

  • 9. Trace  |  June 29, 2007 at 3:04 pm

    I was thinking of chopping up the beets, boiling for a bit, then straining and simmering the liquid until I get a syrup. Supposedly the sugar will begin to crystallize at some point in that process and it can be scooped out.

  • 10. taylor  |  August 2, 2007 at 12:36 pm

    Sweet. Found it. Bookmarked it. Thanks. Those cupcakes were damn good!

  • 11. Beet Cake, Beware « Straight from the Farm  |  August 19, 2007 at 7:39 pm

    […] is about to end, but I don’t want to leave without posting a challenge to the raved about chocolate beet cake and cupcakes. I have to admit that baking with beets is much more original (and probably […]

  • 12. Rachel  |  October 1, 2007 at 11:53 am

    Used ghirardelli intense dark squares for the chocolate and boy does this make one heck of a cake. Very good. Heavy, but not too rich. I used the springfrom pan, too. You’d never suspect a single beet in this cake. YUM! What a treat. Though, I must also note that in the pureeing of beets, I ended up with a blob on the ceiling!!

  • 13. Jennie  |  October 1, 2007 at 12:37 pm

    A blob on the ceiling!?!? Ha! Not that I’m making fun of you, Rachel…I just love amusing kitchen tales like that. I’m so glad the cake turned out well for you. The more intense the chocolate, the better. Now, the question we’re all wondering…does this cake beat your chocolate zucchini cupcakes?? 🙂

  • 14. Rachel  |  October 1, 2007 at 4:34 pm

    Yes, this beets 😉 the zucchini. The beet cake is a much more special cake. However, I think the zucchini is quicker and has a fewer calories. But for serving a special treat, this wins! 🙂

  • 15. Jennie  |  October 1, 2007 at 7:57 pm

    You’re too kind, my dear. 🙂

  • 16. Geraldine  |  November 1, 2007 at 5:56 pm

    Very interesting recipe! Ive been searching the internet for a good recipe for Red Velvet cake without the bottle of red dye!!! Love the beet addition to this cake, I will give it a whirl. Hope you stop by Veggies…too . I have the same presentation, great minds think alike! 🙂

  • 17. Jennie  |  November 1, 2007 at 7:10 pm

    Glad to be of help, Geraldine. I will stop by Veggies and check it out. 🙂

  • 18. Jody S  |  July 11, 2008 at 12:41 am

    Hello! I have a question about Pureeing the beets. Maybe I just don’t get it, but I put the beets in the food processer (and also tried the blender) and it did nothing. I had baked them for 1 hour first, so they were nice and tender. I ended up having to put in water with it to get it to start moving around. Is that normal? I am not a good cook, but I am trying to learn… for my famililes sake! The beet chocolate cake sounds so delicious that I wanted to give it a try. Thanks! Jody

  • 19. Jennie  |  July 11, 2008 at 5:22 am

    Jody – I’m fairly certain the snag in your system was that you baked the beets, instead of *boiling* them as the recipe instructs. Baking beets dries them out. Boiling them adds water content to their flesh. Next time just be sure to boil them and everything should work smoothly from there. If it doesn’t, leave another comment and we’ll figure this out together. 🙂 Everyone should have beet cake!

  • 20. Eat Healthy Monday  |  July 28, 2008 at 12:50 pm

    […] Feeling adventurous? Try one of these unconventional ways to sweeten up some of those delicious fruits and veggies that are in season or on their way: Chocolate Beet Cake […]

  • […] can them it with fennel and orange. Or put them into a velvety chocolate cake. Or make beet […]

  • 22. K’s Brownies « Language Lessons  |  October 13, 2008 at 3:59 am

    […] for something more healthy, here is a delicious recipe for beet chocolate cake. No Comments so far Leave a comment RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI […]

  • 23. Elizabeth  |  December 31, 2008 at 2:45 pm

    I made this today and added pumpkin spice on top of the other spices as well as walnuts through out the mix as I have seen walnuts in the other recipes I looked up. It didn’t taste very chocolaty to me if at all. The beet taste is definitely not as prominent once the batter is cooked as it is raw. I still really really like this recipe tho. It tastes like a good holiday cake and I’ll definitely make this again ^_^

  • 24. Jennie  |  January 2, 2009 at 1:28 pm

    Wow, Elizabeth, I love your adaptations! I could see how the chocolate might get lost in the spices and walnuts though. Next time I’d suggest increasing the chocolate to at least 2 oz, maybe even 2.5 to help balance with the nuts. Will have to try that myself when I have some beets on hand again. 🙂

  • 25. halee  |  April 20, 2009 at 5:16 am

    hahaha greats cake… superr…..=)=)=)

  • 26. Beet cake  |  July 8, 2009 at 8:12 am

    […] list now includes recipes for beet cake! I like the look of this one for Chocolate Beet Cake, though I haven’t actually tried it yet. But I can personally vouch for this non-chocolate […]

  • 27. Flowers  |  July 9, 2009 at 6:40 am

    Absolutely brilliant and I love the detailed pics! Ribbiticus from Pond Perspective got me to jump over here!

  • 28. mary storey  |  August 19, 2009 at 5:01 pm

    this may sound like a stupid question, but here it goes. do you cook the beets, prior to adding them to the recipe?
    thank you,

    • 29. Jennie  |  August 19, 2009 at 8:32 pm

      No stupid questions here, Mary. Yep, you do cook the beets first. If you look in the first paragraph of instructions in the recipe at the bottom of the post, you’ll see directions for preparing the beets. 🙂

  • 30. From the Archives: Beet Cake « Straight from the Farm  |  August 24, 2009 at 8:05 pm

    […] the original archived post, click here.  You can go ahead and laugh at my sad pictures from yore!  But now you’ll get the full […]

  • 31. Ed  |  August 25, 2009 at 6:55 pm

    I did not have time to make this from scratch. Instead I too a box cake mix, and replaced the oil with the beet puree. It came out wonderfully. So great taste and no oil.

    • 32. Jennie  |  August 26, 2009 at 2:35 pm

      What an awesome idea, Ed! I never would have thought to try that and I love that it worked out so well for you. Shortcuts are a very wonderful thing! 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  • 33. play65 indir  |  July 12, 2010 at 11:16 pm

    I will stop by Veggies and check it out too 🙂

  • 34. Nina  |  September 8, 2010 at 12:03 pm

    Nice cake! Could do with significantly more chocolate, I find. Here is a interesting question: The cake (when still ever-so-slightly warm) smells strongly of ammonia. No other cake has ever done that, so I presume it’s the beets? Quite weird. Thank you!

    • 35. ladyla  |  December 3, 2013 at 10:39 pm

      i just baked a carrot cake and it reeked like ammonia. I am very worried and dont want to eat it. Is it safe to eat?

      • 36. Daci  |  March 14, 2015 at 12:40 pm

        me too! Just baked a regular choc. cake…not the beet cake. It’s still hot and every bit I took filled my nostrils w/ an ammonia smell! So glad I found these posts on here!

  • 37. Lane  |  September 29, 2010 at 11:36 am

    I made this cake and it was delicious! However, I would suggest much more chocolate. I used 2.5 ounces and it was barely enough. I made a chocolate ganache to pour over it, and it was amazing.

  • 38. Julie  |  November 8, 2010 at 10:26 am

    Made this cake last night with the last of our garden beets. I was very disappointed. There is not enough chocolate in the recipe, and the cake was flavorless. I was expecting the beets to add moistness, but the cake was too dry for my liking.

  • 40. tom  |  November 9, 2010 at 10:54 pm

    looks really delicious. can’t wait to share this with my friends at meizitang.

  • […] and you can’t have Valentine’s day without a little chocolate … can you believe beets to make your chocolate cupcakes moist? Trust – these are super yummy and no one will ever know your secret ingredient: Chocolate Cake (or cupcakes) with Beets  […]

  • 42. beach body shaun t insanity  |  April 23, 2014 at 6:29 am

    For latest iոfοrmation you have to pay a quick visit web and oո world-wide-web I
    found this web page as a best site for newest updates.

  • 43. healthy meat recipes  |  October 1, 2014 at 8:17 am

    Generally I don’t read post on blogs, but I would like to say that this
    write-up very forced me to take a look at and do so! Your writing style has been surprised
    me. Thank you, very nice article.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed

Add to Google Add to My Yahoo!

All text and photos © 2007-2012 Straight From the Farm. Contact straightfromthefarm (at)gmail(dot)com to ask for permission before reprinting in any format.


Fill in your email address below to get new posts sent to your inbox so you'll never miss a great recipe!

Join 466 other followers

Favorite Photos

My site was nominated for Best Food Blog!

CookEatShare Featured Author
view my recipes
CookEatShare Featured Author

The Foodie Blog Roll

%d bloggers like this: