Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Weekly Food Challenge - Beets

This is what my family thinks about beets:

So when we found out they were the secret ingredient of this week's cooking challenge, we were less than thrilled.  My goal was to figure out a way to disguise the beets so well that nobody would even know they were there, and I succeeded!  But first I wanted to see what my girls thought about plain beets.  As expected, Megan liked them, and Amelia, not so much.

Amelia and I made Goat Cheese & Beet Gnocchi along with a pork tenderloin for dinner.  She didn't want to get her hands messy rolling out the gnocchi, so she took charge of the fork and made the indentations. 

Gnocchi is a good main course for kids to help cook, especially if they like to play with playdough (and you could make it with a much more normal flavor, too).  Ben and I liked the gnocchi, which were a very unusual pinkish purple color, and Megan loved them.  Amelia wasn't too sure what to think of them, but did eat a whole one with the promise of chocolate cake for dessert.

And then, I made a Chocolate Beet Cake!  In searching for beet recipes, I found lots of different recipes for chocolate cake with beets, and thought I ought to give it a try.  I chose to use the recipe from Always Order Dessert because it had the most chocolate, and I wanted to make sure the beets were disguised as much as possible.  This cake is DELICIOUS!  You can't taste the beets at all, and it has a perfectly moist texture.  I'm not sure I would make it again, because of the extra steps involved in roasting and pureeing the beets, but I'm glad I tried it.

Chocolate Beet Cake
makes 6 mini bundt cakes

For the cake:
1/4 cup butter, softened and divided (6 tbsp and 2 tbsp)
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 1/2 eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup beet puree (about 3 small-medium beets roasted, peeled, and processed until smooth)
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp salt

For the ganache:
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup heavy cream

To make the cakes:
1) Cream 6 tbsp butter and the sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs and beat until mixture is doubled in volume.
2) Melt the chocolate chips with the remaining 2 tbsp butter.
3) Add chocolate chips to mixture, beat until smooth.
4) Add beets and vanilla, beat until smooth.
5) Combine dry ingredients, add in small batches, beating just until mixed.
6) Pour into mini bundt cake pan that has been sprayed with Pam for baking.  The batter will be a strange mauve color, but don't worry, it will turn a normal chocolatey color as it bakes.

7) Bake at 350F for 20 - 25 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.
8) Cool in pans for 20 minutes, then turn over.  Once cooled, top with ganache.

To make the ganache:
Heat cream until just boiling.  Add chocolate chips and butter.  Stir until smooth.  Pour over cakes while still warm.

If you want to make a whole bundt cake, double the recipe.


  1. I love that picture of Amelia! And of course, chocolate is what makes beets palatable.

  2. Beets are OK when you can't taste them in your food.