Friday, February 3, 2012

Mini chocolate beet cakes with cream cheese frosting

chocolate beet cake

This is not another sappy Valentine's Day post, though it is that time of year again, and the "big day" is fast approaching. I don't celebrate Valentine's day, and it's not just because I happen to lack a valentine in my life at the moment.

chocolate beet cake

I could have made a bright-red red velvet cake with an entire bottle of red food coloring to celebrate the season.

I could have.

Instead I made this chocolate beet cake that I had been eyeing ever since Joy the Baker posted the recipe.

I love, love, love constructing layer cakes, so I'm using Valentine's Day as an excuse for this one, but really, I made it just because.

chocolate beet cake

The cake is fantastic, moist, not too dense, quite chocolaty, and not too sweet. Plus, there are vegetables hidden in it! I love the fact that it's moist without having to add vegetable oil or shortening to the batter.

The frosting is a simple cream cheese frosting, need I say more. I think tangy, but sweet cream cheese frosting goes so well with chocolate cake. I love the color contrast of the creamy white frosting on the dark cake. It looks sophisticated, and it tastes great.

chocolate beet cake

For this recipe, I roasted a few beets (about 5 or 6 small ones) in a 375°F oven for about an hour in a foil packet with a little oil. I let the beets cool a little, and then I peeled and grated them. Be sure to grate them as finely as possible for the cake batter.

Mini chocolate beet cakes with cream cheese frosting

chocolate beet cake    Makes 4 mini layer cakes (3.5-inch)

Chocolate beet cake
  • 2 cups (250 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup (75 grams) extra-dark cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 200 grams (~ 1 1/2 cups) grated beets
  • 3/4 cups (170 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup (200 grams) light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup (170 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cup buttermilk (prepared from skim milk and white vinegar)
Cream cheese frosting
  • 1/2 cup (115 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (115 grams) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 cups (250 grams) powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 teeny-tiny pinch citric acid (or 1/4 tsp lemon juice)
  • 1–2 tbsp milk

    To make the chocolate beet cake
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prepare a 10x15-inch rimmed sheet pan by greasing it and lining the bottom with parchment paper. Set it aside for later.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set it aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and the sugars until they are well combined on medium-low.
  4. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well between each addition, and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  5. Add the vanilla and beat again.
  6. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk and the grated beets. Continue mixing and scraping down the bowl until the batter is well mixed.
  7. Spread the batter in the prepared pan and bake it for about 40 minutes or until a cake tester poked through the center of the cake comes out clean. The cake will begin to pull away from the sides of the pan when it is done.
  8. Let the cake cool completely before proceeding.
  9. To make the cream cheese frosting
  10. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and cream cheese until it is light and fluffy.
  11. With the mixer on low, add the other ingredients, except the milk. Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and continue beating. Thin the frosting out with 1–2 tbsp of milk, as needed, to achieve the desired consistency.
  12. To assemble
  13. With a 3.5-inch cake ring or round cookie butter, cut out 8 circles of cake.
  14. For each mini cake, rim the cake ring with an 11x4 inch strip of acetate. Secure the ends of acetate ends with a small piece of tape. Place the lined ring on a baking sheet lined with parchment (make sure the sheet fits in the freezer!).
  15. Begin building the mini cake by placing one layer of cake at the bottom of the acetate-lined ring. Gently press it down so that it is even. Top with a tablespoon or so of frosting, spread evenly, then another round of cake (pressed down gently) and then another tablespoon of frosting. If you only have one cake ring (like me). Gently pull up the cake ring and repeat the building process.
  16. Place the baking sheet with the cakes in the freezer and freeze them overnight or until about 3 or 4 hours before you are ready to serve them. Carefully peel off the acetate strips and let the cakes defrost in the fridge until you are ready to serve them.


  1. looks wonderful I too have tried a beet chocolate cake and it is delicious

  2. What a wonderful idea! I made a red velvet cake recently, at request of a friend, and cringed the whole time I was putting the red food coloring in the batter. I wondered if I could make it using beets instead, and I guess this answers my question! With a lot less cocoa powder I think this would turn out red. Great recipe and gorgeous photos!

  3. Now these are adorable! I've heard about beet chocolate cake, but never tired it. Looks delicious!

  4. This is so beautiful and looks so delicious! I like the fact there isn't any red colouring in it.

  5. This looks so yummy!! I've been wanting to try this since Joy posted it as well, and I'm glad it got your seal of approval!

  6. hello! lovely job on the layer cake. what does "2 cups (250 grams) INGREDIENT" mean in the ingredients list?

    1. Thanks! Sorry about that mistake. It actually was supposed to say flour, but flour is already on there. I'll delete that!

  7. Hehe I too got uberly inspired by Joy's lovely beet cake! I just used it as my first ever post in fact - although the pictures aren't nearly as gorgeous as yours. :) And I have to admit, I've never tried cream cheese and chocolate for some reason! I'm planning on making whoopie pies soon and your cakelets look so delicious - I might just have to give the combo a try then!

    - Eve

    1. Congrats on the new blog! I'll check it out soon :)

  8. What a lovely cake! I adore beets and am addicted to chocolate, so this is perfect for me. I am going to think of it as a nice chocolate salad :-)

  9. This looks delish! I'm a big fan of Joy the Baker but I haven't tried any of her recipes yet. Maybe this one will be the first.