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Cooking with Fel – Beet Cake

January 12, 2011

I think I’m picking up bad habits from the mother.

I love the mom – she’s a generous, giving person and one of my biggest influences in life – but her attitude towards food cannot be any further from my own. I’m willing to splurge on tasting menu at a nice restaurant whereas she will cook a gigantic pot of rice and eat it every day for a week. She also has a tendency to never follow a recipe completely.

“Sugar? Do we really need that much? I think I’ll cut that in half.
Butter? That much butter can’t be good for you – I’m just going to cut that out entirely.
Now to add in some nuts and bran and oats and for nutritional purposes…”

Well, I definitely pulled a mom on this recipe.

I had this beet lying around my kitchen that was starting to go soft and I didn’t feel like roasting it. I had seen recipes online for a beet cake and thought it couldn’t hurt to give one of them a try. Most recipes call for chocolate to accompany (mask?) the beet flavor but this particular recipe by Tyler Florence was a pure beet cake. However, I made a few swaps…

“The recipe calls for brown sugar? I have none, so I’ll just use white.
Buttermilk? I only have non-fat – that’ll do, I guess.
Molasses? Do I need to buy molasses? I’ll just use maple syrup.
Now to incorporate some whole wheat flour in the place of the all-purpose flour and use applesauce instead of oil…”

(Sound familiar?)

Honestly, I was expecting this cake to fall flat but surprisingly enough…the end result wasn’t half bad! The beets give an interesting touch to the final product – similar to carrot cake or zucchini bread, you get a hint of earthy vegetable in every bite, which does take a little bit to get used to. I’d imagine the real deal is a smoother flavor, which is why I’m including the original recipe below for you to try yourself. However, if you start swapping this for that, don’t worry! You’ll still be okay.

Beet Cake

* 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, to grease baking pans
* 1 1/4 cups finely chopped red beets
* 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
* 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
* 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
* 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
* a pinch of kosher salt
* 2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
* 2 large eggs
* 1/2 cup buttermilk
* 3/4 cups dark brown sugar
* 1/3 cup vegetable oil


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Begin by lightly greasing 4 individual baking dishes with butter (oven proof ramekins or cocotte dishes work well). Peel beets and cut into pieces so they can fit comfortably in a food processor.

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices. In a separate bowl, mix molasses, eggs, buttermilk, oil and sugar together. Now mix wet ingredients with dry ingredients and then fold in the processed beets.

Set ramekins out on a roasting tray. Divide batter amongst ramekins and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until they have puffed up and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.

2 Comments on “Cooking with Fel – Beet Cake”

  • Gastronomer

    This sounds like something I’d really like to make! By the way, the next time you’re without buttermilk, you can substitute with milk and vinegar/lemon juice. For one cup of buttermilk, add one tablespoon of acid, then fill the cup up with plain ol milk. Let it sit for about 10 minutes before using.

    January 14, 2011 » 8:45 PM »

  • fel

    Really now…that’s good to know!

    January 19, 2011 » 12:27 AM »

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