Monkey See, Monkey Do

I am such a copycat. I read a recipe and then I make it and then I post it, just like that. It’s so unoriginal.

I was pondering the question of why I do so much cooking from blogs rather than from cookbooks (though I certainly have more than my fair share of well-thumbed cookbooks) and why it is that I end up really liking so many of the recipes that I find on the blogs. I think the reason is that people who blog about food are generally talking about and cooking food that fits the time of year I’m experiencing; in other words, food that I’m already thinking about and hankering after. For example, I read about a friend who’s making zucchini bread and so I take making zucchini bread into serious consideration. (Unfortunately, my zucchini plants are dead—curses on bugs and diseases.) I read about blackberry cobbler, so I make it—a couple times, for good measure.

And then I read about Chocolate Beet Cake. I have leftover cooked beets in the fridge. Out in the garden there are more beets, nearly pumpkin-sized. I study the picture. I contemplate the ingredient list. I compare the new recipe with the chocolate beet cake, called Secret Chocolate Cake, in Simply In Season that I had made last year. At the top of the page I had written “Yummy!” and, “good everyday cake”. I had even frozen the beet and applesauce puree, pre-measured, so I could easily turn out a cake come wintertime. But I never did. I guess the cake just wasn’t good enough.

But this beet cake looked like it just might be good enough.

So last night I melted the chocolate and butter, pureed the beets, stirred everything together, and baked the cake. I didn’t get around to assembling and frosting it until this morning, and as soon as it was done, even though it was only 10:30 in the morning, I cut into it, forking bites into the kids’ gaping maws. I chewed my bites slowly, thoughtfully, scrutinizing the texture and flavor. I thought I could detect a beety-ness, but I wasn’t sure. So I had another piece with my afternoon cup of coffee. I didn’t taste any beety-ness that time, just moist, fudgy, chocolatey-ness. Mmm. I don’t think I’ll be sharing pieces of this cake with anyone anytime soon. Just the recipe.

Chocolate Beet Cake
Adapted from Rosanna’s blog, Paprikahead

Updated, July 26, 2017: I made this last week and it turned out disturbingly dense. I’m not sure what went wrong, but no one wanted it, so I gave it to my brother’s family. On a scale of 1-10, ten being the best, my brother (who eats anything) gave it a four.

2 cups pureed beets
1 cup butter
8 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 ½ cups flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt

Cook up several beets, peel them, and use a food processor to puree them. Set them aside.

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, on low heat, melt the butter and chocolate.

In a large bowl beat the eggs and sugar together; add the chocolate and beat some more. Add the rest of the dry ingredients alternately with the two cups of beet puree. (I didn’t have quite enough puree, so I added a couple tablespoons of applesauce to round out the two cups—it worked just fine.)

Grease two 9-inch round cake pans and line the bottom with wax paper. Divide the cake batter into the pans and bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes. Let the cakes cool for ten minutes before running a knife around the edges and turning out onto a cooling rack. Peel the wax paper from the cake bottoms. Allow the cakes to cool completely before frosting.

Buttercream Frosting
1 stick butter, at room temperature
3 ½ cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-3 tablespoons milk

Beat the butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla together. Add the milk, a tablespoon at a time till it is a spreadable consistency.

I added about a quarter cup of leftover cream cheese frosting that was languishing in my refrigerator, which resulted in a spectacular frosting. You might want to experiment with just adding a little chunk of cream cheese to the frosting…


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