Though not commonly used in desserts, beets have a natural, earthy sweetness that work well in baked goods. Here I’ve added raw grated beets to a chocolate-based quickbread, and I must say that I really love the resulting flavor and texture. The bread/cake is very moist, with a deep chocolate flavor and slightly musky undertones. For the finishing touch, I’ve topped it with a generous layer of sweet cream cheese frosting and a light sprinkling of organic beet root powder.
Makes one 9 x 5-inch loaf, serving 8
Chocolate Beet Quickbread:
- ½ cup (56 grams) Dutch-processed cocoa powder, plus more for dusting pan
- 1 ½ cups (195 grams) all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 large (100 grams) eggs
- 1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
- ½ cup (108 grams) firmly packed light brown sugar
- ½ cup (107 grams) neutral vegetable oil
- 1/3 cup (80 grams) sour cream, buttermilk or Greek yogurt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 ¼ cups (170 grams) firmly packed peeled and grated raw beets (about 1 ½ medium beets)
Cream Cheese Frosting:
- 3/4 cup (170 grams) cream cheese, at room temperature
- 6 tablespoons (85 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons (110 grams) confectioners’ sugar
- Pinch of salt
- ½ teaspoon vanilla paste or extract
- Organic beet powder* (optional)
*Note: Organic beet powder is available at health food stores or online at amazon.com.
Make the quickbread:
- Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350˚F. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan and dust it with cocoa powder.
- In a medium bowl, sift together the cocoa powder, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; whisk to combine well and set aside.
- In another medium bowl, whisk the eggs by hand until blended. Whisk in the sugars, vegetable oil, sour cream and vanilla mixing until well blended and light. Whisk in the beets. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the flour mixture one-third at a time until just blended. Scrape the batter into the pan and bake for 45-50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the pan comes out with a few moist crumbs clinging to it. Cool the bread in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes, then unmold and cool the cake on the rack completely.
Make the frosting:
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the cream cheese, butter, confectioners’ sugar, salt and vanilla together at medium speed until blended. Increase the speed to high and beat until stiff peaks form, about 3 minutes.
Frost the cake:
- Swirl the frosting decoratively over the top of the cake. Sprinkle lightly with the beet powder. Store the cake, loosely covered with plastic wrap, in the refrigerator. Bring the cake to room temperature before serving.