*The below recipe is from Heather Christo, a professionaly trained chef who graduated with honors from Le Cordon Bleu in San Francisco and is an interior designer on the new primetime HGTV show "Rescue My Renovation."
"This is absolutely one of the best chocolate cakes I have ever had—and my husband’s favorite. And no, you did not read this wrong. It is chockful of beets. This recipe actually started as a day dream. I saw a blissfully, insanely fluorescent purple cake—just like the juice that comes from a raw beet. I was so excited to bring this cake to life, but it turns out beets in baked goods come out a bit of a muddy reddish brown. I had to start over. This time I thought, why not take the moistness and earthy flavor from the beets and complement them with rich chocolate and a tiny touch of cinnamon? I added cocoa to the cake batter and the result was the most intensely moist and chocolaty cake I have ever had. The earthy beet flavor mostly disappeared and brought out more chocolate than ever. I paired the cake with a rich chocolate butter cream and a touch of espresso."
Generous Hint: The beet puree can be done up to several days ahead of time and kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Serves 10 to 12
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
2 to 3 large beets
¾ cup salted butter, at room temperature
1½ cups granulated sugar
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1½ cups cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup whole milk
CHOCOLATE BUTTER CREAM FROSTING
1 cup salted butter, at room temperature
1 cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder
4 cups powdered sugar
1⁄3 cup strong coffee
1 tablespoon whole milk
1. Preheat the oven to 325°f. prepare two 9-inch cake pans with baking spray and parchment paper rounds on the bottom of the pans.
2. In a medium pot filled with simmering water, boil the beets for 15 to 20 minutes. When the beets are fork tender, drain them and let them sit until cool enough to handle. Peel the skin off and trim the tops off. Chop the beets into large pieces and throw them in the food processor. Pulse the beets until they are a smooth puree. Set aside or refrigerate in an airtight container for up to a week, or until ready to use. You should have about 1¼ cups beet puree.
3. In the bowl of a standing mixer, beat the sugar and butter together until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and the eggs and beat to combine. Add the beet puree and combine well. (It will look like the batter has curdled, but it is fine!)
4. In a separate bowl, add the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon and mix them all together. Add the flour mixture and the milk to the mixing bowl. Mix the batter on medium speed until it is completely combined and smooth, about 2 minutes.
5. Divide the batter evenly between the two cake pans. Bake for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
6. Remove the cakes from the oven and let them cool in their pans on a rack.
7. Meanwhile, combine all of the chocolate butter cream frosting ingredients in the bowl of a standing mixer and whip until smooth and fluffy.
8. When the cake is completely cool, turn the layers out of their pans and place one of the cake rounds on a cake plate. Slather a generous amount of the frosting on the cake. Top with the second cake round and use the rest of the frosting to cover the top and sides of the cake.
9. Slice and serve.