Chocolate is so much more than the heart shaped buttery sweetness of the season. There’s also a weird malty, smokey thing happening just under the surface. It’s tannic and bitter and, more than anything, Chocolate tastes like minerals. Which, if we’re honest, is just the nice way of saying dirt. But, like, really fucking good dirt. Dirt with chocolate in it.
While we’re sure that there’s some hip post modern, even nihilist, allegory in the inherent dirt flavor of the patron sweet of romance (something about how we never really know anyone or whatever the Valentine’s industrial complex, man) it mostly just reminds us of beets. Because beets also happen to taste like delicious clods of dirt.
Putting beets in a cake sounds like a terrible idea, but it’s actually a fucking great one.
Just like carrots in a carrot cake, beets hold on to moisture, giving you a perfect crumb. They add fiber and bonus vitamins, while the beet’s mellow, earthy sweetness brings out everything dirty and delicious in the chocolate. What you end up with is a weird but charming, kind of purple dessert that’s way more special than saccharine flourless fudge blobs we’ve been (happily) suffering through all winter long.
Not making anything worse: we top this cake with a bourbon-cream cheese frosting. You could put this on a brick and we’d ask for seconds, but it does make things pretty– obviously– rich. If you tend to like your sweets on the less ostentatious side, a simple sprinkle of powdered sugar will suffice quite nicely.
- 5 medium Beets
- 2 oz Unsweetened Chocolate
- ¼ cup Cocoa Powder,plus more for dusting
- 2 sticks Butter, at room temperature
- 1 ½ cups Dark Brown Sugar
- 3 Eggs
- 1 Vanilla Bean
- 2 tbs Bourbon
- 2 cups All-Purpose Flour
- 2 teaspoons Baking Soda
- ½ tsp Salt
- In an oven heated to 400°, roast the Beets until tender. About 20 minutes. Once out of the oven, the skins should slide off. Use a paper towel if you need a little extra grip. Regardless: it will look like you just handjobbed the Koolaid Man. Set the now nude Beets aside to cool until hardly warm.
- Grease, stick a parchment round on the bottom, grease again, and dust two 9in cake pans with cocoa powder. If you’re feeling twee, drop liners for 24 cup cakes instead. Bring your oven down to 350°.
- Sift or Whisk together Flour, Baking Soda, and Salt in a small bowl, set aside
- In a blender, add your peeled, roasted Beets, Chocolate, and Cocoa. Also set aside.
- Cream butter and sugar well in a large bowl, using an electric mixer or stand mixer. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, mixing until well incorporated. Add vanilla bean scrapings and bourbon.
- Add ⅓ of Flour Mixture to butter and sugar, mix until just combined and follow it up with ½ of the beets. Add half of the remaining flour. Then all of the beets you’ve got. Last thing in the bowl will be the last of your flour.
- Divide the batter evenly into your cake pans. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean– about 20-25 minutes.
- Cool the cakes on a wire rack. Frost with the easiest icing ever: Bourbon Cream Cheese Frosting.
- 1 block Cream Cheese, at room temperature
- 1 stick Butter, at room temperature
- 1 ¼ cup Confectioners Sugar - sifted
- 2 tbs Bourbon
- Beat. Spread. Lick the bowl. It’s not rocket surgery.