Don’t Knock ’em ’till you Try ’em
Mini Beet Cakes

October 19, 2011 · 14 comments


Like so many things in life these days, I was introduced to a new-to-me cake variety, beet, via twitter:

I think I found a new flavor of ice cream for @ to make.
Angie Six

As much as I love beets, I’ll admit it, my first gut reaction was one of recoil. Beet cake? What in the world? Sounds like something Jessica Seinfeld would whip up, though she’d likely call it something different, to be stealth around all those unknowingly-healthy children who think they live on dessert (ha! joke’s on them!).*

I don’t know the history of this confection, and a lazy first-page skimming of google results gave me nothing. But I was intrigued enough to continue thinking about it, when yet another tweet appeared in my stream (I really do close my computer every now and again — just think of all the beet-related tweets I’m missing when that happens — perish the thought!):

Beet cake is in the oven!! I can't wait to taste it and I wonder if the magenta color will remain after cooking.
Rachel Tayse

And you know when that happens? When you hear about a previously unheard-of thing from multiple unrelated sources? You realize, well, beet cake must be all the rage. I must hop on this bandwagon.

So I found a recipe — this one included dark chocolate, which seemed a pleasurable match. I’ve recently been experimenting with grain-free baking (that is the subject of another, very long, post), and since this cake seemed the perfect vehicle for unrefined sugars, I went that route. Mini-cakes also seemed appropriate, since it allowed me to make a smaller portion in case the whole thing was a bust.


It wasn’t a bust. Quite lovely, actually, in that subtly-flavored-and-textured-dessert sort of way. My kids loved them, and even knew they included beets. I loved having access to a rich and decadent treat that didn’t cause my blood sugar to crash.


These cakes are very moist in the middle, even after baking for almost 40 minutes — not in a molten cake sort of way, but more a flourless cake sort of way. The beet flavor is vaguely present, but you might be hard-pressed to find a guest who could name it correctly in a guessing game, as the overbearing flavor is dark chocolate. Stored in an airtight container these were just as delicious the second day, making them ideal for make-ahead desserts for company, served simply dusted with powdered sugar.

* Truth be told: I’ve never laid eyes on Mrs. Seinfeld’s cookbook. I’m only taking a stance against the general concept of hiding good-for-you food in brownies and cookies. Not that you can’t do that (and I do — today’s post as case-in-point) — but I’d rather just put zucchini on my kids’ plates and make them take the requisite one bite until the day they like it. And then, they’ll like zucchini, and know what it tastes like.

This post was linked up to Simple Lives Thursday, via GNOWFGLINS.


Recipe: Mini Beet Cakes (grain-free, dairy-free, refined-sweetener-free)

: adapted from this recipe at Tiger in a Jar
makes 10-12 mini cakes


  • 8 Tbsp refined coconut oil, divided (can sub butter)
  • 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate
  • 3/4 cup sucanat (can sub dark-brown sugar)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup puree from cooked beets
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • powdered sugar for dusting


  1. Have a 12-cup muffin tin ready, lined with paper cups or parchment. Preheat oven to 375º.
  2. In a heat-proof bowl set over a saucepan of barely-simmering water, melt together the chocolate and 2 Tbsp of the coconut oil, stirring until very smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.
  3. In a mixing bowl, cream together the sucanat and remaining 6 Tbsp coconut oil. Add eggs one at a time, mixing until incorporated. Add melted chocolate, beet puree, and vanilla, and mix well.
  4. In a separate bowl, sift together the almond flour, baking soda and salt. Add to batter and mix until combined.
  5. Pour batter into prepared cups, filling about 2/3 full. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of a center cup comes out clean (the cakes will sink a bit in the middle).
  6. Cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes. Carefully remove the cakes from the tin to cool completely. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature, dusted with powdered sugar.

Copyright © Katy Carter, 2011.

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punkinmama October 19, 2011 at 4:07 pm

I would like to try these, but I would never attempt to make them myself!

katy October 19, 2011 at 4:12 pm

oh, they’re not bad at all, just like making cupcakes! have you ever cooked beets?

punkinmama October 19, 2011 at 4:35 pm

I have never bought beets. I have never cooked beets. I have never eaten a cooked beet.

katy October 19, 2011 at 4:41 pm

well, then. there’s a first time for everything!

Melissa October 19, 2011 at 5:16 pm

Could I use canned beets? I have never bought, cooked or eaten beets either.

katy October 19, 2011 at 5:18 pm

I think so, as long as they aren’t seasoned at all. Drain/rinse them before you puree — you might have to add a little water (I had to as well, to my roasted beets). Should be sort of thick, but very smooth (no chunks).

Kathryn October 19, 2011 at 7:11 pm

What a great blog. This recipe looks amazing. I’d never tried beets until my late 40’s and just love them. Can’t wait to try this on my family but I think I’ll keep the beets a secret!

katy October 20, 2011 at 9:10 am

Thanks, Kathryn! Try them — you will love them for sure, but I agree, you might just mention a “special ingredient.”

Kathryn October 20, 2011 at 10:16 am

Since I hide beans and veggies in nearly everything I cook or bake so they’re used to guessing what the secret ingredient. Once they love the taste they don’t care what it is. =D

Kathryn October 20, 2011 at 10:19 am

rather “what the secret ingredient is.”

Angie @ Just Like The Number October 20, 2011 at 9:24 am

And now, to make them totally unhealthy by tossing them in some fat-laden ice cream …

Hannah October 20, 2011 at 12:34 pm

nothing to do with the recipe (which I should try asap, as for some reason i have a produce drawer full of beets right now i keep meaning to pickle but, haven’t…), BUT i see you are reading middlemarch and this makes me happy :) i just finished re-reading it (1st time in was in college), and it is such an incredibly great book. would love to know what you think when you finish!

katy October 24, 2011 at 10:07 pm

ok, I know I’m going to love it, but right now I’m having a hard time getting into it. partly b/c I usually read about 3 pages in bed before falling asleep, so the next night I have to remember what is going on. this is my 3rd attempt at reading it — I kept setting it aside for book club books — but I’m determined. I’ve heard too many people say it’s one of their favorites!

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