Beet Cake with Walnuts

beet cake.jpg

Here I am, in a kitchen full of all kinds of veggies like artichokes, kohlrabi, fresh coriander, cherry tomatoes and of course, beets. Tomorrow it’s “clean” Monday for Greeks everywhere in the world and my family is no exception. The meat-free lunch table includes all kinds of green vegetables, root vegetables and bread ready to be dipped into tahini, hummus and taramosalata (fish roe salad). Beet salad is of course on the menu, so I spent my morning roasting beets. As I was removing the foil I roasted them in, all that lovely beet color dripped on the white plate I had them resting in. It was so lovely and bright that I immediately wondered whether it could naturally color a cake.

I heard of beet cakes before and since I was really tired of using red food color in a red velvet cake, I had to give it a try. I added roasted walnuts to make it more interesting. The taste is great! It’s the natural sweetness of beets, combined with the aroma of cinnamon and the crunchiness of the walnuts that give this cake so much flavor. It’s not too sweet and could use a touch more sugar, but I kind of prefer the sweetness of the beets to shine. To the question, can it really color a cake red, the answer is no. But who cares?

beet cake close.jpg

Ingredients

  • 180 grams unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large beet, roasted or boiled (about 180 grams)
  • ¼ cup Greek yogurt
  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1 Tbs cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup walnuts

Method

Preheat oven to 160 C. Put walnuts on a baking tray and roast for 6 minutes until fragrant. Set aside to cool. Increase oven temperature to 175. Butter and flour a round cake pan with a hole in the middle.

In a stand mixer bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla and mix

Sift together the flour with the cocoa, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a bowl of a food processor, mash the beetroot with the yogurt. If you don’t have a food processor, mash together with a fork or potato masher. It doesn’t matter if mixture is not completely smooth.

Lower the speed of your mixer and add about 1/3 of the flour mixture. Add the beet/yogurt mixture and then the remaining flour mixture. Beat until combined. Don’t overbeat. Mix in the walnuts with a silicone spatula or a spoon.

Put cake batter in prepared pan. Bake for 45-50 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes in the pan, then invert on a serving platter. Cool completely before slicing and serving.

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