It was the night before my first ever CSA pickup, and it felt like Christmas Eve. What great produce was I going to find in my share? What was I going to make with it? Ooh, the sheer excitement of it all!
I knew that I was probably going to find beets in my share, and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on those fuchsia beauties because I had plans for them. Nevermind that I’d wanted to gag every single time that I’d tried beets in the past. I was determined to make a beet-filled something or other that would also be something that I would like, and a chocolate cake seemed like just the thing to rid me of my beet blahs.
In my defense, I will say that I would very much like to enjoy beets. They’re extremely nutrient rich, and they’re bright pink (one of my favorite colors), but they’re just too earthy for me on their own. So, this cake was the perfect solution because the earthiness of the beets blended wonderfully with the chocolate. I don’t think that I can say that I like beets now, but I can say that I love beets … if they’re in this cake.
I’ve been working on a gluten free, sugar free chocolate cake recipe for a while, and this one is my absolute favorite. The recipe is very flexible; you can replace the beet puree with unsweetened applesauce, mashed bananas, or pumpkin puree (I’ve done all three) and still get a rich, moist cake that will stay moist for many days.
recipe by Kristen Magee
yields one 9 inch cake
FOR THE CAKE
1/3 cup millet flour
1/3 cup almond flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoom baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup xylitol
1/2 teaspoon liquid stevia
1/2 cup canola oil
3/4 cup beet puree (see instructions below)
FOR THE GANACHE
Preheat oven to 400F. Wrap beets (about 3 medium or 2 large beets for 3/4 cup of puree) loosely in aluminum foil and roast for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the beets are soft enough that a knife can easily be inserted. Remove from the oven, carefully unwrap (beware of hot steam), and allow to cool for about 15 minutes, or until the beets are not too hot to touch. Remove the skins (you might want to wear kitchen gloves so you don’t stain your hands), cut beets into large chunks, and puree in a blender with the canola oil. You can also use a hand blender. Set aside.
Lower the oven temp to 350F, and line a 9 inch cake pan with oven parchment, or grease with non-stick cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, combine the millet flour, almond flour, cornstarch, cocoa, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a large mixing bowl, or in the bowl of a stand mixer, add the xylitol, stevia, eggs, and canola oil/beet mixture. Mix on medium speed for 1-2 minutes, or until all of the wet ingredients are thoroughly combined.
Add the dry ingredient mixture to the wet, one third at a time, and mix until just combined. After all of the dry ingredients are added, mix for an additional minute. Transfer the batter to the prepared cake pan, and smooth evenly using a spatula. Rap the pan against a hard surface to get rid of any large air bubbles, and bake until an inserted toothpick comes out with just a few crumbs, about 20-25 minutes. Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack to cool completely before removing from the pan and topping with ganache.
In a small saucepan, add the coconut milk, xylitol, and stevia and cook on low, stirring occasionally, until the xylitol is completely dissolved. Break the chocolate into large chunks and place into a medium heatproof bowl. Add the coconut milk mixture and stir until glossy and smooth. Pour over the cooled cake and spread with an offset spatula or spoon. Serve immediately, or chill in the refrigerator.