Beet It, or Beet Velvet Cake

Slaveboy was really sweet to clean one of my baking drawers. I had spilled meriwhite in there and in a head-in-the-sand ostrich way, I simply abandoned using the drawer. Not long after handing the task of organising my baking stuff back to me, I had to call him back to fix a plastic bit of the Kenwood mixer that I broke in my mad, panicked cleaning frenzy. Slaveboy is the superglue pimp. It is the answer to everything. We have a special surface where all the children put deposit broken toy cars, dolls' limbs and eyeballs, broken spine of a favourite book, busted belt buckle, snapped handbag clasps. All waiting to for the special glue. Other families have special ouchy cream. We have superglue. So in my mad, cleaning frenzy, I found my Steenbergs jar of beetroot powder. I am a sucker for jars. The only time I have used this powder was when I made beetroot pasta.

It got me thinking about red velvet cakes, and my love/hate relationship with it. I reckon Spiker thinks I am a cake heathen for even eating it but I am drawned to the colour. The thing that puts me off from making it is the fact that some recipes tell you to use 2 fl. oz. of red food colouring. Waaaay too crazy amount. Seeing that Google is a friend to ALL of us, I had a look for alternative recipes and found this one. It sounded feasible enough. I wasn't too sure that the cake was going to taste like red velvet cake seeing that it called for a hefty amount of beetroot powder. But it was Friday, and I was feeling brave, plus I'm getting a new oven. And I bought two tops I actually liked yesterday. In a smaller size. It felt like the stars have aligned themselves right today. So off I went to dirty the kitchen some more and mess up my orderly baking corner.

So the egg yolks and half the sugar and the buttermilk goes into a bowl over pan of simmering water.

I'm really bad as I never write down the recipes I try out, I just rest my ipad against the toaster and cover it with cling film. This photo is prior to the cling film fetish adornment.

You whisk the egg yolks, and sugar and buttermilk til they mix almost triples. I actually didn't have buttermilk so subbed with equal amount of milk with vinegar added to it.

I think at some point, I added my home made vanilla extract. I try to remember to not add it to anything too warm as that will affect the extract.

Add the other half of the sugar to the egg white and whisk it. Don't forget the cream of tartar.

It was all a blur, I tell you.

I love these guys. They look like butter wouldn't melt in their mouths. So prim and proper.

This is what they look like after a really good night out.

Add the egg white mixture to the yolk mixture. At this point, it looks absolutely delicious. Gloopy, glossy and made a whack-whack sound when folded to fast.

The flour, cocoa powder and beetroot powder mixture. I strongly recommend sifting the mix. Beetroot powder appears like it clumps easily. Just fold it into the wet mixture.

I assure you, the mix this look like this. Bright and almost luminous. In the oven at around 175c, or if you've got my oven, just throw salt over your shoulder, cross your fingers and hope that the temperature stays relatively constant.

20 minutes later, they ought to be ready.

I wasn't too happy about the browning around the edges and tops. I think next time (if there is one, I would probably use a baking strip or wet folded newspaper and cover it. I'd have to bake it for longer but it would mean that the cakes would colour less. I whipped some double cream with vanilla extract and icing sugar and sandwich the cakes together. I didn't have cream cheese in the house and in retrospect, I think cream cheese frosting would soften the beetroot flavour. It tasted earthy, and I certainly think it would benefit from being a tad bit buttery (the recipe doesn't call for butter so I might rework the recipe). As opposed to conventional red velvet cakes where I struggle to taste the cocoa powder, you could taste it in this recipe.

Texture was beautiful. Moist, light and fluffy but not wimpy. You know what I mean by wimpy cakes, so light that it's made with just flour and air. But you wanna hear about the colour, dontcha? It was definitely red. Just not bright red. However, I liked this red. It looked edible. Would I bake it again? Hmmmm. Not unless I plan to rework the recipe. Slaveboy loved it for its earthiness. The children didn't really ask for seconds, the Small Shouty one said it tasted too red and Potato Bottom claimed that it was slightly akin to chilli chocolate (??). I also thought it left a strange, dry tingle in my throat, despite the silky cream filling. - Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


  1. I like your Russian dolls :o))

    Pics look great and it sounds like a very strong attempt at making an unhealthy cake a bit healthier. Let me know if you have another go as I would be willing to volunteer as a taster ;o)

    love n hugs dolphinwitchuk

  2. That cake looks delicious! Where can you get beetroot powder? I've obviously lived a sheltered life- I've never heard of it...

  3. Hi Helen

    You can get little dinky jars of beetroot powder from Steenbergs organic. They're an online company. It was a lovely cake, the funny thing is, the men who tried it LOVED it, saying that it left a really lovely after taste.


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