I volunteered, like the sucker I am, to bake dessert for a charity dinner for Youth Organics. Here was my thought process, ” The program grows vegetables, some people like vegetables, people like desserts more, MAKE A DESSERT WITH VEGETABLES!!!” Originally I had planned to make either tiny carrot souffles with a golden raisin honey glaze, OR use JTB’s (joy the baker’s) recipe for chocolate beet cake. That turned out to be a great idea because the beets were free. You can find her cake recipe here which I followed, but had to double because of all of the people coming.
The only thing I would recommend is to cook the beets a day before. Cook them, peel them, then chop them in the food processor and let them cool in the fridge. My beets ranged in size from two giants to tiny baby beets. You need about two-three medium beets for a cake, With my two giants and maybe one or two tiny guys, I had more than enough.
Beet Fun Fact: Beets have a greater sugar content than any other root vegetable. You’re welcome.
The frosting is where I used my voodoo. I thought, hey, what goes well with chocolate? EVERYTHING? Yes, that’s true. But what fruity, vegetably, thing goes awesome with it? Hmmmm, Raspberries? Yes. That’s happening. So a package of frozen raspberries later, and we are in business.
First for the raspberry syrup, (oh and you’re going to want to leave out the cream cheese and butter at this point so it can all soften up)
12 oz package of raspberries, frozen
½ c sugar
½ c water
Maybe a ¼ tsp of citrus zest, if you want a little freshness. Lemon zest would be great, Lime, even better for a cosmo-type flavor. Orange is also good. Get crazy and throw some pumelo zest in there, who cares, its your world.
Put all of these into a saucepan and let simmer, stirring, for about 5 or so minutes, until the raspberries break down and you have a seedy berry slurry. This step you can do now, or wait till the end, but I guarantee you will be happy you did it now. Turn off the heat on the sauce and strain it through a fine mesh sieve to remove all of the seeds and other bits. Since the sauce is runny, it will pass through easier when it is thinner. Smush (technical term) all of the syrup you can out of the seed part and return it to the saucepan. Add the zest here. Turn this on medium to low, medium if you are watching it and stirring regularly, low if you want to pull a set it and forget it situation. Now once it has thickened and reduced in volume, turn off the heat, let it cool to room temp and continue with these steps.
For the frosting: (again I doubled this for the event, so with the excess raspberry syrup, you might have a more intense flavor and color. If you want it lighter and less punch-in-the-face-berry flavor, use the syrup to taste)
1 brick of cream cheese- 8oz
1 stick of butter- 4oz
Raspberry syrup, from above
Lots of powdered sugar.. lets say 4 cups at least
1tsp vanilla extract, if you want, not necessary especially if you got zesty earlier
Cream the cream cheese in your bowl, until it is smooth, add the butter, cream those together. Add the syrup, let that get incorporated, then begin to add the sugar, in ½ cup increments until smooth and the consistency you want in your frosting. Add more powdered sugar if needed, you want it to stand up in the center layers. I also refrigerated mine while I was baking the cakes.
After the cakes are baked and cooled, slap that frosting on, and refrigerate if needed. Then slice and serve
Dwight Shrute would be so proud.
Until next time, beets, bears, and battlestar galactica