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Posts tagged ‘beets’

Chocolate and the Beet…

How do I even begin to explain myself? Putting puréed beets into a beautiful and already delicious chocolate cake!

Well, I have mentioned before, that I am trying out some recipes from my favorite cookbook Tender by Nigel Slater, adapting some of the recipes to suit my gluten-free kick. So far I had worked up the lamb and beet meatballs with fresh tzatziki sauce, which left me with plenty of beets in the fridge. Working with beets is fun and I love the pretty colors and how much they stain your hands. However, up to this point, I had added raw shaved beets to salads, roasted them to perfection, and gently boiled them, but never had I actually baked with them. Now adding beets to sweet treats is not total insanity or an I-don’t-know-what-to-do-with-these-leftovers crisis. Most of us have turned over our favorite Wholefoods treat or even cereal to find beet sugar in the ingredients list. Beets are super sweet and of course a natural replacement for refined sugars which I really like as a healthy alternative. The really great part about using them in this recipe is that the cake stays incredibly moist even if not enjoyed in one day! It will surprise you how elusive the beet is once married to the intensity of the chocolate.

So why not give some boiled beets a whirl around the blender and try this recipe out next time you have a hankering for a hunk of cake! (this recipe was approved by my husband, the doorman, and two unsuspecting neighbors)

Raw Cocoa + Beet Cake with Crème Fraîche Icing (serves 8-10)

Adapted from the recipe in Tender

8 oz of fresh beets

7 oz of fine dark chocolate, I used Valrhona 61% chocolate but you could easily use 70% or more

4 tbsp of hot espresso, I used Dean & Deluca’s espresso

200 grams of butter, cubed, I used goats milk butter and a touch of olive oil equal to 200 g

135 g all-purpose flour or gluten-free flour mix (add xanthan gum)

1 heaping tsp baking powder

3 heaping tbsp raw cocoa powder

5 fresh farm eggs

1 scant cup of super fine sugar


1 small container of quality crème fraîche

Blue poppy seeds to sprinkle over top

Grease an 8 inch spring form pan and line the bottom with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 350F/180C

Boil the beets whole, in unsalted water until you can pierce them with a knife, usually 20-40 minutes depending on size. Drain and let cool under cool water. Then peel them with your fingers (the skins should just slip off) and remove stems. Drop them into a blender or food processor and spin to a coarse purée.

On the stove top, prepare a double broiler (sauce pan with an inch or two of water, with a glass bowl over top careful not to have the bowl touch the water). Since I broke my glass bowl a few weeks back I used my two sauce pans with the larger one on-top of the smaller one. Add the chocolate chunks to the bowl while simmering the water on low-ish heat. Do not stir! When the chocolate looks close to melted, pour the hot espresso over it and stir once, add the olive oil and cubed butter pushing it underneath the chocolate. Let the butter soften in the chocolate bath.

Sift the flour, baking powder and raw cocoa powder in a large bowl. Set aside.

Using a stand mixer, I beat the egg whites to stiff peaks and reserved the yolks, slightly mixed, for the chocolate. Once the butter has melted, let it sit to cool. Then add the egg yolks quickly, firmly, mix to combine. Fold in the beet purée, set aside.

Fold in the powdered sugar to the egg whites, then fold the egg white mixture to the chocolate mixture. Careful not to over mix and deflate the egg whites. Lastly, fold in the flour mixture and transfer to a the spring form pan.

Pop the pan in the oven and decrease the temperature to 325F/160C and bake for 45 – 55 minutes. The middle will be a little giggly when the pan is wiggled. Let the cake cool completely! This will be challenging since your kitchen will smell divine but hang in there, it only gets better!

Once cooled, loosen the edges and remove the outer form. Place the cake on plate or cake stand. (I iced my slices individually since my husband didn’t care for the tartness of the crème fraîche. Alternatively you could sweeten the crème fraîche with a little sugar if you prefer.) Slice or leave the cake whole, then dress with the crème fraîche and liberally sprinkle the poppy seeds all over. Enjoy!!!

You could make this recipe in cupcake or silicon forms for individual size portions and for a fun and healthy kids treat.

Feel free to share your pictures of this cake on our Facebook page:




So almost 7 weeks ago my best friend Heather Hudak ( and I started an insanely crazy workout challenge with the celebrity trainer Tracy Anderson. The challenge was to workout with her Design Series dvd’s 4-6 times a week for 12 weeks while eating healthy. This was especially challenging for me in my line of work however, I hear moderation is key so I was up for gaining some balance.

The goal for me was to loose some of the wine belly I was gaining and achieve a more trim frame…only one catch. I had to pose in a tiny bikini for “before” and “after” shots! Let’s just say this was a true moment for cocktails the day of the shoot. We pulled it together though and even had fun. For me this challenge was really to gain some of the strength I was lacking in my core which was yielding symptomatic shoulder issues for me.  I have found the workouts to be wonderfully successful for my posture and overall tone of my muscles. I even find myself missing them if I skip a day! Regardless of the challenges of keeping fit I think it’s worth finding balance so I wanted to share some of my “foodie” salads that I have been making. (You knew I wasn’t going to eat carrots & celery this whole time didn’t you?)

watermelon radish market salad

Watermelon Radish & Little Gem Lettuce Salad:

A few bunches of crisp little gem lettuces (washed and spun dry)

A couple of watermelon radishes peeled and sliced with a knife or mandolin

Fresh chives cut to small pieces with kitchen shears or chefs knife

Kosher salt & fresh cracked pepper to taste

1/2 Lemon

1/4 cup Olive Oil

Combine the olive oil, lemon, salt & pepper in a small bowl and whisk together. In a large bowl combine the little gem lettuces, radish, & chives. Pour desired amount of the dressing over and toss. I serve this with soft scrambled eggs with chives and if  you would like a glass of wine with this try the 2009 Cade Winery Sauvignon Blanc from Napa California.

phat beets salad

Phat Beets Market Salad:

1 bunch frisée (washed & spun dry)

1/4 cup pickled beets

1 small turnip (peeled and sliced with a mandolin)

1/4 cup sliced toasted almonds (not shown here)

3 tbsp how to eat n’drink dressing (recipe below)

Wash and dry frisée and place in large salad bowl. Peel and slice the turnip with a mandolin and add to frisée. Dice the pickled beets and add to salad.

For the dressing:

1 tbsp garlic manonaise (homemade or store bought)

1 tbsp whole grain mustard

1 tbsp champagne vinegar

1 tbsp hazelnut oil

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp honey

Pinch of Kosher Salt

A few cracks of Pepper

In a small bowl, mix all of the ingredients until combined and emulsified. Drizzle to taste over the  frisée and enjoy with a glass of Costa d’Amalfi Furore Biano 2009 from Italy! But don’t forget to workout later…