Vegan Beet Chocolate Cake

Saturday, November 20, 2010

February in Berlin is a dreary time. It is also under the sun sign of Aquarius, and I was dating one this last winter. A. shares a birthday with her best friend, N., who was visiting at the time. A perfect time for cake.

No need to explain the intentions of my lecherous design for my girlfriend… and N. is an artist who creates rather pornographic illustrations. I thought they would appreciate a vag full of sour cherries on their shared birthday cake. I think I embarrassed them both. But my roommates loved it.

vegan beet chocolate cake with honey marzipan layering + cherry cooter

My favorite cake recipe is Vegan Chocolate Cake. Boo had once mentioned putting beets and chocolate together in cake, as a way to deepen the flavor of chocolate while adding moisture to the cake. It seemed so brilliant that I scoured the internet for a recipe and came upon the incredible blog Fat Free Vegan Kitchen, with a recipe for such a cake. So minimally deleterious to one’s organism… so maximally delicious.

Vegan Beet Chocolate Cake (via Fat Free Vegan Kitchen)

1 large beet
unsweetened apple sauce
2 tbsp. water
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup unbleached white flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1 cup sugar
1 tbsp. cornstarch
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cinnamon

Peel and dice one large beet. Place the pieces in a saucepan with water to cover and boil until soft. (I’ve heard that you can buy canned beets, so you may want to skip this step–and the resulting red hands–by using pre-cooked beets.) Allow the beets to cool, and then drain them, reserving the red water for another purpose. Put the drained beets into the food processor with 1/4 cup (clear) water, and process until pureed.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Oil or spray your cooking pan(s).

Put the pureed beets into a 2-cup measure. Add enough apple sauce to reach the 2-cup line. Add the 2 tablespoons water, vanilla extract, and apple cider to the beets and mix well.

Mix the dry ingredients together; then add the beet mixture and stir until well-combined. Bake for 35-60 minutes, depending on the size of pan you use: more for small, deep pans and less for a 9X13 pan. (I used a 9X13 pan, and it took 35 minutes.) Test by inserting a toothpick into the center; it’s done when the toothpick comes out clean.

Allow to cool completely before cutting and serving.

Improvised Toppings

FFV calls for a peanut butter frosting. Tasty but heavy. Friends and I have tried variations over the last couple of years, including a banana frosting and a hard, dark chocolate ganache with dried cherries. For the Aquariuses’ birthday, I thought I would venture into a double-layered cake with a thin layer of honey marzipan in between. My homemade frosting was a bit of a disaster, but it didn’t matter because it was topped with a cooter full of sour kirsch cherries encircled with honey marzipan fringe.

Next time, I will try it with my new vegan chocolate ganache:

  • Gently melt 2-3 bars of fine, bittersweet chocolate bars in a double-boiler over medium-low heat
  • Add approximately 1/2 – 1 cup of refined coconut oil (eyeball it; not sure about the measurements)
  • Sweeten with cane sugar or agave syrup as desired
  • Dash a vanilla (if you want or if your chocolate isn’t so great)
  • Dash of salt
  • Stir until well-blended and melted
  • Allow to cool in the fridge, but not until hardened completely
  • Once firm (but not hard), whip with a hand-mixer and apply to the cake

I like this ganache because coconut oil melts at body temperature, and is a much healthier alternative to margarine or butter. It solidifies quickly in the fridge, and takes a while to melt at room temperature, if at all. It will wilt in the heat, though, so watch out if you picnic with this cake.

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