Saturday, March 21, 2009

No Dye Red Velvet Cake? Can it be true?

I get my CSA box on Thursday. Really a perfect day to get it. Yes, I know that I seem to have a love/hate thing going on with my box…

This weeks box had some really beautiful looking beets in it. One of them was huge, about the size of my youngest daughters head! It also came with my weekly newsletter. For their newsletter they always feature 2 recipes, come ingredients and a bit of farm news. One of the recipes caught my eye. It was for a Chocolate Beet Cake and as soon as I saw it I knew I had to make it.

See how moist and delicious it looks? Ummm, nope (see after recipe)!

Chocolate Beet Cake (from

  • 3 large beets
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 cups mini chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a 9 x 13 pan with cooking spray.
  2. Trim stems off beets, and wash off dirt. Drizzle olive oil over beets. Wrap loosely in foil and place on a sturdy baking sheet. Roast 45-55 minutes, until tender when pierced with a fork.
  3. Remove from oven and let beets cool 10-15 minutes. Peel and cut into chunks.
  4. Place beet chunks and applesauce in a food processor, fitted with a metal blade. Pulse until smooth.
  5. Beat sugar, oil and eggs together in a large mixing bowl. Add cocoa powder and beet mixture. Mix well.
  6. Sift together flour, baking soda and salt. Gradually mix into batter until no clumps of flour show. Do not over mix.
  7. Stir in half of the chocolate chips. Pour into prepared pan.
  8. Bake 40 minutes. Sprinkle with chocolate chips. Bake another 2-10 minutes until cake is done. (I skipped this as the cake was domed and the chips would have been everywhere so I just sprinkled it with powdered sugar!)

Results: I am so, so very sad. I just did not like this cake! It didn't have the beautiful color that I thought it would have once cooked. Before it was baked the color of it was just gorgeous. A beautiful, deep, rich red but once it was baked it looks like chocolate cake.

I also think that the flavor of it is a little “irony” or “earthy”. That may have been my fault. The recipe does not have a measurement for the beet and apple sauce mixture and that could add up to a big fail right there. The beets I had were very large. I even removed some of the chunks but I guess not enough. I probably had about 2 cups of pureed beets. I expected something like carrot cake or zucchini cake and this was too strong for me.

I am very picky though…my girlfriend Shellie liked it, as did the girls. I think if I used less beet puree it would be perfect but I still would not have the color I was looking for.

Would icing instead of the chocolate chips or powdered sugar help? I don’t think so. I may just save the icing for another really good banana cake!

Will I make this again? I am not sure. Roasting the beets and pureeing them is a pain in the butt and took a while. I was also disappointed by the color so maybe not but I would love to get the flavor right so you never can tell! It will not be my go to cake for sure!

Maybe we should just try these…Double Dark Chocolate Beet Muffins by Pinch My Salt

As Always…

Happy Entertaining!!!



glamah16 said...

Sorry you didnt like it. It looks good though. Maybe you can make your own adaptations to male it richer and more chocolatey to overide the irony taste?

RecipeGirl said...

What a major bummer!!! I love beets, but have never tried them as anything but veggies. Maybe if you stick a large amount of rich cream cheese frosting on there, you won't taste the cake so much :)

Anonymous said...

It's still pretty, but what a bummer. Reminds me of those "deceptively delicious" recipes I tried from Jessica Seinfeld's cookbooks. Uh, you can tell. Spinach brownies fooled NO ONE. LOL

Judy@nofearentertaining said...

Hey Courtney-Didn't like it is a huge understatement! It went in the trash!

Hey Lori-I love beets too! There was no way I was wasting some yummy cream cheese frosting on this!

Hey Lettergirl-See I haven't tried those but I love zucchini cake and carrotcake but this was just bad...

Ivy said...

Wow, beets in a cake? It sounds very weird but why not, beets are sweet like carrots. I am tempted to try a different approach and make this one day.

Cate said...

Looks like it could have been a great way to sneak beets into kids' bellies. Sorry it didn't work out, but the research is always fun. ;)

Debbie said...

Hey the cake does look really good. Maybe less beets is the answer....

Peter M said...

Sorry they didn't turn out as you the trash/ Perhaps next time feed the gators in your backyard! lol

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

I saw a version of this when I was trying to find a Red Velvet Cake recipe. I wondered if the cake would have that true red colour. I wouldn't know about the flavour because I have never had Red Velvet Cake before.

sj said...

shucks! Sorry it didn't turn out like you hoped... I was hoping it would be good too... seems I have heard of beet in chocolate cake before and always wondered how it would be :( It's still pretty! And I give you a lot of credit for trying something most folks wouldn't dare!

... said...

I think, the red, is the "wow" factor that puts this cake over the edge. With the addition of cocoa powder (even the small amount) makes one think you're having a chocolate cake (even though if you were you'd be adding more powder/chocolate). For me, the red makes me think about having a different type of cake, so I don't notice the "chocolate" flavor missing.

Sorry.. you didn't like it, but I can feel your pain.

NuKiwi said...

Bugger...and here I was ready to pluck some of the overgrown beets outta my garden. Thanks for the warning tho. I have used the cooking liquid from beets to colour easter eggs, and that didn't change the egg flavour...perhaps just using the liquid in place of the applesause or something?...hmmm

NuKiwi said...

P.S. I boil my beets and that could make a difference in taste versus the roasted ones...just a thought.

Holly said...

This cake recipe has the problem that it doesn't have buttermilk in it, which gives red velvet cake its unique crumb. According to lore the cake was either first created at the Waldorf Astoria, or it was a Southern creation with the color originally coming from beets. The recipes I have seen use peeled and grated raw beets. Twice cooking the beets probably resulted in the brown color instead of a vibrant red.

Daisypicker5 said...

I made a red velvet cake this past weekend using this recipe and it actually turned out really well. I did a combination of beet juice and red food coloring to really make it red and it was absolutely beautiful with the white frosting on top. I think i'm going to make the cake into cup cakes the next time though.

Anonymous said...

Check this out:

Haven't tried it, but addresses a few of your concerns.