Less Beetles, Mo’ Beets

I’m not crazy about crushed beetles or colors made in a lab, but I can’t help it. I love red velvet cake.

Last week my friend Shirley sent me a newspaper clipping from The Morning Call. The clipping included.

A) An article (since deleted!) about Maggie Moos’ red velvet cake (featured on Unwrapped)


B) A red velvet recipe which uses (mostly) pureed beets for the deep red color.

I’m pretty excited about trying this one because while I absolutely can’t stand beets, I like the idea of them not-so-hidden in a cake. That said, I don’t think the Maggie Moo’s version is very authentic because it lacks buttermilk, but it still sounds like a good cake.

If you try it before I do, let me know.

Red Velvet Beet Cake (adapted from Morning Call)

3 ozs. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
2 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 1/2 tsps. vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/4 tsps. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 lbs. canned beets, drained and pureed
1 tsp. red food coloring

2 cups heavy cream
12 ozs. cream cheese at room temperature
12 ozs. mascarpone cheese
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter three 9-inch round cake pans and line them with parchment paper circles.

Melt the chocolate in a metal bowl set over a saucepan of boiling water or in the top of a double boiler.

Place the sugar, eggs, oil and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed for 2 minutes. In a mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda and salt.

Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture and continue to mix on low speed scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula so everything is well incorporated.

Add the melted chocolate to this mixture and continue to mix on low speed. Add the pureed beets and the food coloring. Continue to mix on low speed until everything is thoroughly combined. Evenly divide the batter between the 3 prepared pans and bake in the middle of the oven for 20-25 minutes or until the center of the cake springs back when touched, or when an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Remove the pans from the oven and transfer to a cooling rack. Let cool for 10 minutes in the pans, then turn the layers out onto the rack and let cool completely.

To prepare the icing: Pour the cream into a small bowl and whip to soft peaks. Set aside in the refrigerator. Place the cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixture fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until it is soft and smooth. Add the mascarpone and continue to mix on low speed until the cheeses are well combined. Add the vanilla and the powdered sugar and mix until everything is just combined. Turn off the mixer and fold in the whipped cream by hand with a spatula. Keep refrigerated until ready to assemble.

To assemble: Using a serrated knife, trim the top of each layer of cake so that it is flat. Place the first layer on a cake plate or serving platter and top with some of the icing. Repeat until all the layers are covered with icing, then ice the top and sides of cake. Store the cake in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

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  1. Karen says

    This sounds great. I have made a chocolate cake with beets in it and it came out very well. And of course, you feel so healthy when you put beets in anything.
    I can’t wait for you to make it and report on it.

  2. says

    I don’t think I’ll be making these – beets are great but I think I’ll stick to my artificial color thank you! Interesting idea though!!

  3. says

    My friend made a red velvet cake that used beets( she got the recipe from egullet, recipe gullet I believe) and she said it SUCKED!!

  4. Diane says

    I found the exact, word for word recipe on three different sites, all claiming to be the Original Waldorf-Astoria red velvet beet cake. I really want to try it. I love the food color RV I hope this is as good.

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