Hands down, the moistest chocolate cake I’ve ever made. Don’t be intimidated by the beets – they’re easy, healthy, add moisture to the cake, and make it taste interesting (but not unpleasantly “beet-y”)!
I had a lot of fun with the flavor combos in this cake – pink peppercorn, blood orange, orange blossom water, Himalayan pink salt – because the flavor of the beets and chocolate could stand up to some craziness. That said, less exotic ingredients will work wonderfully too and will be more likely to be in your pantry! I’ve noted these spots in the recipe below.
Chocolate Beet Cake
- 3 cups pureed beets, about 6-7 medium sized fresh beets
- 3 1⁄2 cups flour
- 4 teaspoons baking soda
- 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
- Spices – I used 1 teaspoon finely ground pink peppercorns but try baking spices, candied ginger, citrus zest, or any other spices that you love with chocolate!
- 6 eggs
- 2 1⁄4 cups white sugar
- 1⁄3 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
- 1 1⁄2 cups neutral oil, like grapeseed or canola
- 6 ounces unsweetened chocolate*, melted and cooled
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 3⁄4 cups “whole” or “full fat” oat milk
- 6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, roughly chopped
- Flavoring – I used juice from 1⁄2 of a small blood orange, 2 tablespoons orange blossom water, and 1 teaspoon. pink salt. Other suggestions are 1 teaspoon vanilla or 1-2 teaspoons cinnamon or 1 teaspoon orange fine zest or 1-2 tablespoons seedless raspberry jam or anything else that tickles your fancy!
Scrub beets thoroughly and quarter. In a large pot, cover beets with water and simmer until tender, 30-45 minutes. Drain beets, slip off skins, puree in small batches, and allow to cool fully.
Preheat oven to 350° F. Butter and flour a 10″ bundt pan.
Sift together flour, baking soda, salt, and spices.
In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs until pale yellow and frothy. With the mixer still running at a medium-high speed, slowly incorporate one tablespoon at a time first the white sugar and then the brown sugar.
And here comes the part that will test your patience: with the mixer still running, slowly incorporate the vegetable oil. And when I say slowly incorporate, I mean using only tiny dribbles of oil at a time. Dribble a tiny amount into the eggs and wait until it is fully incorporated, which means the eggs mixture no longer looks oily and has started clinging to the edges of the bowl again. Add another tiny dribble of oil and wait until it is fully incorporated… And add another tiny dribble of oil… and so on until all 1 1⁄2 cups of oil are thoroughly and wonderfully emulsified in the egg mixture. Congrats, you just made mayonnaise! Well, not really. But this frothy, fluffy, crazily time-consuming base for the batter makes for an insanely awesome cake.
Using a rubber spatula, slowly fold the beet puree into the egg mixture to combine them well. The “batter” will be pink and pretty at this point. Gradually fold the flour mixture into the egg mixture in small amounts at a time – scrape around the edge of the bowl and cut through the middle, repeat. Be careful here: you’re adding flour to a large quantity of liquid, take your time with folding it in so as to avoid lumps but make sure you combine them well! Gently but thoroughly fold the melted unsweetened chocolate and the 1 1⁄2 teaspoons of vanilla into the batter.
Admire the huge of volume of beautifully maroon batter and then pour batter into the prepared pan. It will almost fill the pan but fear not! As it bakes, this cake will rise well beyond the top of the cake pan, but the batter is incredibly stable and shouldn’t spill over the edges, you will just end up will a kind of muffin-topped cake that looks amazing when turned out the pan. Bake cake in the middle of the oven for 1 1⁄2 hours or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and dry.
Invert the cake over a wire rack and allow to cool completely, at least 2 hours. If cake doesn’t drop right out of the pan once it’s fully cooled, loosen it by running a knife around the edges, invert and tap firmly on the bottom and sides of the pan.
Heat the oat milk in a heavy-bottomed sauce pan. Add the semi-sweet chocolate pieces and stir until smoothly melted. Add flavoring. You made need to add more chocolate at this point to end up with the right consistency – you’re looking for thick, almost pudding-like chocolate sauce, though it should still be pourable.
Place the fully cooled cake on a wire rack with a sheet of parchment paper under the rack. Evenly pour the ganache over the cake so that it coats thoroughly. If you need more than one pour, scrape up the excess ganache that has dripped onto the paper and reuse.
While the ganache is still shiny and soft, you can garnish the top of the cake to make it extra-sexy – I used the pink Himalayan salt and roughly smashed pink peppercorns, but you could also try some roughly chopped chocolate pieces or chocolate curls, dried fruit, or a dusting of cinnamon or cocoa powder – have fun!
Allow ganache to set and enjoy!
* A note on chocolate for nut and peanut allergies – Every product nowadays has a warning on the ingredient label like, “Made in a facility that processes tree nuts and peanuts.” That’s why I have recently switched to Guittard baking chocolate and chocolate chips. It is excellent chocolate with no nuts or peanuts and a very responsible policy about allergens and labeling, see here. Delicious and worth supporting!