...is to bake a cake for the icing instead of choosing an icing for the cake.
In last Thursday's post I mentioned that the cream cheese icing recipe in More from Magnolia had left me with plenty of glorious cream cheese-butter-sugar-vanilla left over. Thinking that chocolate would be a wonderful companion, I went to my cooking library (aka, a shelf in my kitchen) looking for the perfect recipe to experiment with.
Printed up ages ago from Apartment Therapy's The Kitchen blog, the recipe I chose had been in the back of my mind as something I really wanted to try for a while. Of particular interest to me was 1 1/2 cups pureed beets used in the recipe. Though they had used the beets in an attempt to make a Red Velvet cake the old-fashioned way, what they took out of the oven was a "stunningly light, moist" chocolate cake. My mind started to wander...I love stunningly light, moist chocolate cakes. And beets. And creaminess is good with beets and chocolate. So are walnuts, so why not mix in some chopped walnuts to the icing.
Well, almost. I wanted a smaller cake than the recipe allotted for (two 9" layers), but know enough from many mistakes not to mess with the ingredients until I've baked the virgin version at least once. That said, I grabbed two 5" pans as well as assorted ramekins and a coffee mug with in which to bake the overflow. Sure, I could have used a cupcake tin, but what's the fun in that?
Velvety Beet and Cocoa Cake
Oven: 350 degrees
Prepare two 9" cake pans or, in my case, two 5" cake pans and a variety of oven safe items
3/4 c. butter
2 c. white sugar
until all is light, pale and fluffy.
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
and add in alternating amounts with
1 c. milk
Then stir in:
1 1/2 c. pureed canned beets, drained
1/2 c. reserved beet juice
Mix for a few minutes until the batter is very smooth. Pour into the pans and bake for 25 min. or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let rest five min. in the pans, then remove to cool completely on a rack.
As you can see, perfect cakes mine were not:
But the cup cake was pretty fun:
And the final cake?
I sliced each cooled layer in two then spread the cream cheese frosting (into which I mixed about 1/2c. chopped walnuts) between them. Though it came out looking more like something a drunk woman would bake when faced with a late-night sugar craving, it tasted wonderful. Though I could smell the beets very faintly, I did not detect them taste-wise.
The next day, I brought the leftovers to work and passed out slices, asking everyone to see if they could name the special ingredient. No one came close to guessing beets, and most were excited to eat "healthy cake" (I kept my lips zipped about the 2 cups of sugar). The only annoyed taster: a woman who hates beets. Of course, she only found out what was in the cake after having polished it off quicker than anyone. Classic.