Crushed beets are an inexpensive way to make a nearly molten, incredibly moist cake and highlight deep chocolate flavor.
|4||beets (medium, scrubbed)|
|butter (for cake pan)|
|2 c||flour (all-purpose)|
|1 1⁄2 c||sugar|
|1⁄2 c||cocoa powder (unsweetened)|
|1 1⁄2 t||baking soda|
|3⁄4 c||warm water|
|1⁄4 c||safflower oil (or other neutral oil)|
|1 t||vanilla extract|
|1 c||creme fraiche|
|1 T||poppy seeds|
In boiling water, cook the beets whole and unpeeled. Cook until tender and easily pierced with a sharp knife, 30-40 minutes. Drain, then cool under running water. When cool enough to handle, trim stem and root ends and peel. In a food processor or blender, process into a smooth purée.
Butter a 9-inch round cake pan and line with a round of baking parchment. Preheat oven to 350˚F.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk in eggs, water, oil, vanilla, and 1 1/4 cups of the beet purée. Reserve any remaing purée for another use. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for about 45 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes, then transfer to a dish and allow to cool completely.
Serve with a dollop of creme fraiche and a sprinkle of poppy seeds on each slice.