You Devil

While elbow deep amidst several components for a baking project I had planned last weekend, our oven decided to take a little vacation. I can't be too upset, the task could easily be put on hold, and the stove top works just fine, so this little interruption was simply nothing more. But then, the beets in my fridge started to call out for help; they were losing their muscle.

Now, I love beets. I haven't always, in fact, I think I hated them as a kid. More accurately, I avoided them. I'd like to think of myself as someone who will try anything, but I wasn't always that way (though I tell myself I was). So when I finally gave them a chance, I fell in love, with dirt (and that I did eat as a kid). I think beets taste more like the earth than anything else, and that is what I love, so much. A gift from the earth, and a sweet one at that. So kind of the earth to think of us, wouldn't you say? I love them most oven roasted in their skins, rubbed with oil and salt beforehand. Boiled beets just won't do.

Then what to do with a few sad, lonely beets and no oven? I was at a loss, so I turned to the website of the farm from whence I adopted these garnet jewels. And there it was, a recipe for chocolate beet cake. I had heard of this before, beets in cake. Carrots aren't unheard of, so what could be so wrong with beets?

Peel the beets, boil the beets, puree the beets. Mix together some eggs, sugar, oil, salt and vanilla, then add the beets. Now for the dry ingredients. Oh wait, I forgot to preheat the oven and prepare my pan.

Oh wait, I don't have an oven. This is what got me here in the first place.

Prepare the dry ingredients, don't combine just yet. Bring wet ingredients, dry ingredients, and cake pan to work tomorrow. Combine at work, pour into prepared pan, bake, cool, and enjoy.

While I don't suggest you follow the preceding method, I do suggest you give the following recipe a try. Simply delicious, decadently moist chocolate cake, with a dense crumb, yet light enough to enjoy more than one piece without pause. I may have found a new favorite way to have my beets.

Red Devil Cake
adapted “from a Mollie Katzen book”
via Mariquita Farms

3 medium red beets
3 eggs
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1½ cups sugar
½ cup canola oil (or other neutral tasting oil)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1½ cups flour
¾ cups cocoa powder
1½ teaspoons baking soda

Preheat oven to 350°. Oil a 9 in square or round pan.

Peel and halve beets. Place in a small pot with and add cold water to cover; cook until fork tender (beets can be lifted, but easily fall, from a fork when pierced). Puree beets in a food processor, and set aside (you will need 2 cups of the puree).

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and Kosher salt. Add the sugar, oil, vanilla, and 2 cups of beet puree; whisk until thoroughly combined.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, and baking soda; stir well with a whisk or fork. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients a little at a time, whisking until smooth.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan.

While delicious on its own, it would equally benefit from copious amounts of softly whipped cream.