Monday, April 17, 2017

Red Velvet Cake with Beets

The first time I ever heard of Red Velvet Cake was when I watched Steel Magnolias, and the groom's cake was a Red Velvet Cake shaped like an armadillo and had gray icing.  The idea of a cake made red with tonnes of food colouring didn't really appeal to me.  Hilary then told me that the original version of the cake was made red from beets, and ever since then we have wanted to try it.  This recipe was easy to follow and the cake turned out moist and delicious, though not as red as I would have thought.

  • 3 medium beets 
  • ¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) butter, plus more for greasing pan 
  • ¾ cup buttermilk 
  • Juice of 1 large lemon 
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar 
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract 
  • 2 cups cake flour (sift before measuring) 
  • 3 tablespoons Dutch process cocoa powder 
  • 1 1/8 teaspoon baking powder 
  • 1 teaspoon salt 
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda 
  • 1 ¾ cup sugar 
  • 3 eggs 
  • Cream cheese frosting or other fluffy white icing


  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Wash beets and wrap in aluminum foil. Bake until the tip of a knife slides easily into the largest beet, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Cool until beets can be handled, then peel. (This may be done up to a day ahead.)
  2. Butter two 9-inch cake pans. Line the bottoms of the pans with parchment and then butter again. (I used 2 8-inch pans)
  3. In a food processor, chop beets to pieces about the size of finely diced onions. Measure 1 cup and set aside (remaining beets can be reserved for another purpose). Return cup of beets to the food processor. Purée with buttermilk, lemon juice, vinegar and vanilla until smooth.
  4. Sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Set aside.
  5. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter until soft. Slowly add sugar and beat until creamy. Beat in eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition.
  6. Alternate adding flour mixture and beet mixture to butter mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients, and beating for 10 seconds after each addition. Scrape down the bowl after each addition of the wet ingredients.
  7. Divide batter between prepared cake pans, smoothing the tops. Bake until a cake tester inserted in the cake comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Remove pans from oven and cool completely on a wire rack. (It took 35 minutes for my cakes to cook, partly because of the smaller, deeper pans)
  8. Assemble and frost