Chocolate Beet Cake

We’ve made this cake for years — it’s sneaky fun and invariably fools even the most astute taste buds. It’s not overly sweet. With a dusting of powdered sugar (perhaps some whipped cream) for serving it’s just right for most tastes, but if you prefer a sweeter cake, add another ¼ cup of sugar (either kind). You can also increase the cinnamon to one teaspoon if you like a stronger taste of spice. Prepare the beet purée by roughly chopping peeled, cooked beets, then processing with a scant amount of water in a blender or food processor until smooth.  For cupcakes, bake at 375 degrees in prepared muffin tins (greased or lined with paper cups) for about 20 minutes (makes 18).

(Serves 10-12)


  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup good-quality cocoa powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 ¼ cup beet purée (about two large beets)
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk or yogurt
  • ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips


  1. Preheat oven to 350 ° F. Grease and flour a 9-inch round or square pan.
  2. Sift salt, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and cinnamon together in a medium bowl.
  3. Cream sugars and butter together in a large bowl with an electric mixer until well combined. Add eggs, one at a time with mixer on low speed. Scrap down sides of the bowl as needed. Add vanilla, beet purée and buttermilk still on low speed.
  4. Slowly add dry ingredients to wet ingredients with mixer on low speed. Stop to scrape down the side of the bowl as needed. Mix until ingredients are just incorporated. Fold in chocolate chips. Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 45-50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  5. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then invert pan and turn out onto a rack or plate and cool completely. Dust with confectioner’s sugar before serving.
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