Since I’ve already admitted that I hate Valentine’s Day, it might come as a surprise to see me post a V-day recipe. I do have a five year old who is more than excited about candy, hearts, and Valentine cards, so I’m trying to be a good sport. This recipe showed up in the mail with my Kroger coupons this month. Inspired by Holly’s obsession with juicing, I have been trying to add more veggies to our meals by hiding them in more palatable foods. When I saw a cake recipe made with beets, I had to give it a try. I don’t like beets, never have. I’ve never bought a beet in my life, and I’ve never made a cake from scratch. I wouldn’t recommend eating this whole cake to get your serving of beets, but a secret ingredient has to count for something, right? Lots of firsts here, but don’t ever accuse me of not trying new things.
2 medium beets, unpeeled
1tsp vegetable oil
6 oz. (3/4 cup) unsalted butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
¾ cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
⅔ cups unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 ¼ cups buttermilk (I used vanilla soymilk)
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 tbsp. finely grated beets, mashed with a fork
4-5 cups powdered sugar, sifted (I don’t have a sifter, didn’t seem to matter)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. milk
½ tsp. fresh lemon juice
pinch of salt
Roast the Beets: Preheat oven to 375. Place beets on piece of foil and drizzle with vegetable oil. Seal foil. Roast beets on baking sheet for 1 hour or until tender. Remove beets from oven. Allow to cool. Peel beets and finely grate. (I put them in the blender) Measure ¾ cup of grated beets for cake and 2 tablespoons for frosting. Set aside.
Cake Batter: With electric mixer, cream together butter and sugars. Beat until pale and fluffy (3-5 minutes). Beat in eggs, one at a time. Beat in beets (LOL) and vanilla until thoroughly combined.
In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add half to the mixer bowl. Beat on low, slowly adding milk. Once just incorporated, add remaining dry ingredients. Beat on medium until just incorporated. Batter should be thick (not pourable).
Divide batter between two 8 or 9 inch cake pans. Bake at 350 for 23-25 minutes for 9-inch pan or 30-32 minutes for 8-inch pan. I suppose you could do cupcakes as well and maybe check around the 15 minute mark to see if done. When done, remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Invert cakes on cooling rack (I used wax paper) to cool completely.
Beat cream cheese until pliable and smooth. Add butter. Beat until well combined. Beat in beets (They have to stop doing that!) Add powdered sugar, vanilla, milk, lemon juice, and salt. Beat on medium until smooth and silky. You can add more beet juice to make a deeper pink color. It’s very pretty and no FD&C artificial colors! Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before frosting.
To frost cake. place one layer on cake stand (or plate) Top with frosting. Add second layer and work frosting on top and sides of cake. Refrigerate for an hour to make slicing easier. (Yeah right, we cut the sucker right away!)
Observations: The cake was delicious and super moist. I am not the neatest baker, so I’m sure it could have been more symmetrical, but I’m pretty proud and I’ve made my peace with beets. My husband even tried it, and he would NEVER eat a beet. I will certainly add this recipe to my would make again list, and it motivates me to keep trying new ideas. Maybe I’ll be a real cook one of these days.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Original recipe from
Joy the Baker