At first I was terrified of it. Terrified to make it even. But I had these beets and I had to find a way to use them that didn't involve eating them. No one in my house likes them, you see. Like brussel sprouts and cauliflower, beets are one of those vegetables that I can't even stand to smell cooking. Just what was I supposed to do with them? They had arrived two days before in my CSA box and I couldn't bear to let them go to waste. Then I had one of those light bulb moments where I remembered seeing recipes for chocolate cake made with beets. Could I make it work- make it good enough that my family would eat it despite the offensive vegetable hiding inside?
Aside from forgetting to add all of the butter that I had intended (which turned out just fine), the cake exceeded all of my expectations. I knew it was good when my seven year old ran up to his dad and exclaimed "Dad, you've GOTTA try Mom's cake! It's so good and you don't even know there are beets in it!". If he only knew how happy it made my heart to hear him say that...
This is an extremely rich cake, so you don't need a huge slice. It's like a very dense brownie in a sense. A bit of sweetened whipped cream might help to cut the richness if you need it. I just eat smaller slices more often!
7 ounces 60% bittersweet chocolate
1/4 red wine
1 stick (8 tbs) butter, at room temperature
1 scant cup sugar
1 cup beet puree*
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
*The beet puree was made by simmering 3 medium beets for about 45 minutes (until fork tender). The cooled beets were peeled and coarsely pureed in a food processor.*
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8-inch springform pan. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment cut to fit. Butter the top of the parchment.
Melt the chocolate. You can do this in the microwave at 50% power for about a minute to minute and a half or over a double boiler. When the chocolate is melted, stir in the red wine. It won't mix in very well, don't worry. If you don't want to use wine, you can use milk instead.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next. Add the cooled chocolate/wine mixture and beat for 30 seconds. With the mixer off, add the flour, baking powder and cocoa powder. Mix in the dry ingredients with the mixer on low speed just until they are incorporated.
Pour the batter (it will be very thick) into the prepared pan. Spread it evenly and flatten the top. Bake the cake for 40-50 minutes. The cake is finished when a toothpick inserted in the center come out with moist crumbs on it. Let the cake cool completely in the pan on a baking rack.
Carefully remove the cake from the pan by running a knife around the outside of the pan. Loosen the springform latch and remove the bottom of the pan from the sides. Slide the cake off the bottom and remove the parchment from the cake. Place the cake on a serving platter and serve cut into thin wedges. Sprinkle the top with powdered sugar or add a dollop of sweetened whipped cream.