How do you get a 2½-year-old to eat beets? Put them in a cake! (And how do you get the same 2½-year-old to eat fish for dinner? Promise him beet cake for dessert.) If you have a picky eater in your house or are suffering from an overabundance of beets from your CSA subscription this summer, baking up a beet cake is an unexpected but tasty way to incorporate the vegetable into your weekly menu. And even if you like beets when they’re prepared in a more traditional way, you have to admit that a cake — studded with chocolate chips, no less — tops even the most mouth-watering salad any day.
The chocolate won’t completely mask the beets’ flavor. Rather, it complements their natural sweetness while putting this concoction firmly in the dessert category, unlike zucchini bread, which you could classify either as a dessert or a breakfast bread. The original recipe, from Colleen Patrick Goudreau’s The Vegan Table, calls for 2 cups of pureed beets. If, like me, you don’t have enough beets on hand to yield 2 full cups, use applesauce to maintain the proportion of wet ingredients — a balance of 1½ cups beets and ½ cup applesauce lends enough moisture to the cake without diluting the beet flavor.
Oddly addicting, chocolate chip beet cake may become a summertime staple in your kitchen. You may even find yourself running to the grocery store to buy more beets when they disappear from your CSA box. Your Bundt pan never saw this coming.
½ c canola oil
1 ½ c packed brown sugar
1 ½ c non-dairy semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided
1 ½ c pureed cooked (boiled or steamed) beets (about 3 small beets)
½ c unsweetened applesauce
1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
2 c all-purpose flour, plus 1 tbsp for mixing with the chocolate chips
2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
Powdered sugar for sprinkling atop the finished cake
- Preheat oven to 375ºF and lightly oil a Bundt pan.
- Cream together oil and brown sugar with an electric mixer (stand or handheld).
- Using a double boiler or the microwave, melt ½ c chocolate chips in a small bowl.
- Add beets, applesauce, melted chocolate, and vanilla to the oil / brown sugar mixture and mix well.
- In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to beet mixture and stir until just combined.
- Toss the remaining 1 c chocolate chips in 1 tbsp flour in a separate bowl and gently mix into the cake batter.
- Pour batter into the prepared Bundt pan and bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.
- Cool in pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving.