- 8 ounces beets, unpeeled, rinsed and scrubbed free of dirt
- 7 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped, 70% cacao solids
- 1/4 cup hot espresso (or water)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup butter, at room temperature, cubed
- 1 cup white flour
- 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (the darkest you can find, natural or Dutch-process)
- 1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon powdered cinnamon
- 5 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
- Pinch of salt
- 1 cup superfine sugar (I use regular sugar that I blend in a food processor to make it fine)
Butter an 8 or 8 1/2 inch springform pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.
Boil the beets in salted water with the lid askew until they’re very tender when you stick a knife in them (about 45 minutes). Drain then rinse the beets with cold water. When cool enough to handle, slip off the peels, cut the beets into chunks, and grind them in a food processor until you get a coarse puree. (If you don’t have a food processor, use a cheese grater.)
Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC).
In a large bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water, melt the chocolate, stirring as little as possible. Once it’s nearly all melted, turn off the heat (but leave the bowl over the warm water), pour in the hot espresso and vanilla and stir it once. Then add the butter. Press the butter pieces into the chocolate and allow them to soften without stirring.
Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, and baking powder in a separate bowl.
Remove the bowl of chocolate from the heat and stir until the butter is melted. Let sit for a few minutes to cool, then stir the egg yolks together and briskly stir them into the melted chocolate mixture. Fold in the beets.
In a stand mixer, or by hand, whip the egg whites until stiff. Gradually fold the sugar into the whipped egg whites with a spatula, then fold them into the melted chocolate mixture, being careful not to overmix.
Fold in the flour and cocoa powder.
Scrape the batter into the prepared cake pan and reduce the heat of the oven to 325ºF (160ºC). Bake the cake for 45 minutes. The center should be barely done. Do not overbake.
Let cake cool completely, then remove it from the pan.
Note: You can easily make this a gluten-free cake by replacing white flour with Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free flour.
Serving: I like to makes a raspberry sauce (just frozen raspberries and maple syrup) to pour over the cake or simply place fresh raspberries on top. Included below is also a delicious chocolate coconut mousse for frosting the cake.
Chocolate Coconut Mousse
- 2 tablespoons soft butter
- 8-ounce package cream cheese, at room temperature
- ½ cup confectioners sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ⅔ cup semisweet chocolate chips, melted
- 1 cup heavy cream
In a large mixing bowl, combine the butter, cream cheese, confectioners sugar, vanilla, and salt, mixing at medium-low speed until smooth. Melt the chocolate until completely melted and smooth. Add the melted chocolate to the bowl and mix on medium-high speed for 1 minute, or until a bit light and fluffy. Beat the cream until it forms stiff peaks; be careful not to over-beat, which will turn the cream grainy. Fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture; scrape the bowl and stir in any sticky residue. Frost cake once it has completely cooled. With this mousse topping you must refrigerate cake until ready to serve.