I love this beet cake for several reasons: First, one of the primary ingredients, beets, makes this a “healthy” dessert. Next, you make a ganache and add it to the cake before baking. Lastly, if you use vegan chocolate chips, the cake is 100% vegan and still super-rich and delicious. Win, win, win, right?
Read my story about shopping for produce in Italy or…Jump to Recipe
One of things I love most about travel is delving into a different culture and, if possible, going beyond the role of tourist. Mingling with local folks at the grocery shopping far away from tourist areas can be lots of fun.
Grocery shopping at home is sometimes an unwelcomed chore, but going marketing in Italy is a very pleasurable experience, most of the time. I still remember my first time in a supermarket in Italy. It was Conad supermercato, comparable to Safeway; a neighborhood market. I had my little cloth shopping bag, my list, and I was going to make dinner in my Air B&B. Just like I lived there.
I headed straight for the produce section, thinking about making a fresh pasta sauce. The red tomatoes and the fresh basil caught my fancy. As I reached out to give the tomatoes a little squeeze to test for ripeness, I was quickly accosted by an angry clerk. Frowning, he pointed to a plastic glove dispenser. Lesson #1: Never touch the produce with your bare hands; It is considered rude and very unsanitary. Lesson #1 learned.
I donned the plastic glove and picked out my produce; my face was the same color as the tomatoes. Sheepishly, I queued up to pay. When I got to the front of the line, again, the clerk frowned and sent me back to the produce section. Customers must enter a code into a machine, weigh the produce and then affix the price to the item BEFORE getting in line. Lesson #2 learned.
Oh those silly tourists….
The next time I went to the grocery store, I proudly put on my plastic glove, happily tested for freshness, weighed and labeled my produce with the proper code, just like a local. Now when I go grocery shopping in Italy, every so often I will see an innocent, unindoctrinated tourist touching the fruit bare-handed, and chuckle when a clerk comes running over. Oh, those silly tourists. Sometimes it’s nice to be in the know.
Another way I can feel at home is to buy a local Italian rag from a newsstand and try some recipes. One day, I found a lovely magazine called La Mia Vegetariana. Much like an Italian version of Sunset magazine, it’s full of lovely recipes and enticing food photos. Of course, it was all in Italian; the perfect way to practice my skills! Now that I am back home, I am working my through the recipes, translating, and reliving wonderful moments.
It’s beet season, and smack in the middle of the magazine is a beet section with a half-dozen interesting beet recipes, including this chocolate beet cake. I’ve never had so much fun with beets!
The moisture of the beets are really a pleasure for the palate. Oh, yes, and the rich chocolate flavor is not too bad either.
Chocolate Beet Cake
- 1 ¾ cup (200 grams) all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ cup sugar
- ¾ cup almond milk can use rice milk
- ¼ cup oil olive oil, sunflower oil
- 1 ½ cup cooked beet pulp, (13 oz)
- 150 grams 70% chocolate chips or chunks use vegan chocolate for fully vegan cake
- powdered sugar for garnish
- Cook beets: Scrub clean and cut into 1/2 inch chunks. Steam for 15 minutes until soft. (Beets can be cooked in a Bimby or Instapot, so use whichever method you wish). When beets are soft, make a chunky pulp in the blender or food processor. Pulse a few times in the food processor to break up the beets, but not to pulverize. Set aside to cool.
- Mix dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, and salt.
- In a separate bowl, mix sugar, oil, 1/4 cup of the almond milk, and beets. Mix well.
- Add dry ingredients to beet mixture and mix well. Set aside.
- Make the ganache: In the top of a double boiler, heat the rest of the almond milk (1/2 cup). Add the chocolate chips or chunks to the milk and remove from heat. Let the chocolate melt in the double boiler for 10 minutes without mixing. Then, whisk the milk and chocolate briskly until uniform and creamy. Fold into the cake batter. It will be slightly thick.
- Lightly grease an 8" x 8" baking dish with oil and spoon in the cake batter. Bake for 30 minutes at 350 °F until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serve warm or room temp. Will keep for 4 days in the fridge.
- Preheat oven to 350 °F