Red Velvet Cake with beetroot

I’ve never quite understood the fascination with Red Velvet Cake. I’ve tasted a few cupcakes which have the red colouring, but don’t really taste like much. So what was the point?

Then I got this recommendation:
I had a beetroot red velvet cupcake from Organic Bread Bar yesterday – it was AMAZING. Strong beetroot flavour, really moist and so tasty! Definitely a fave.

I had seen a video post from working class foodies, who had used the juice of baby beetroots to create a natural food colouring for the cake. But then to get the flavour of the beets into the cake? I guess it contains pureed beetroot.

A little further poking around on wikipedia shows that the original recipes probably used red food colouring during times of food rationing. Oh the joys of industry.

Why not try and replicate a cupcake I’ve never tasted?

I’m up for a challenge!

I settled for the recipe listed on the Red Cross’s “big cake bake” fundraising page. Poh Ling Yeow, I presume.

My trick with this cake? Roast the vegies the night before. I then mixed the dry ingredients, then the wet ingredients in separate bowls.

No vegies hiding in here:
It's all chocolate

It was already 1030pm on a school night, so I decided to keep the ingredients separated and bake them the next morning. That way I got to take a warm cake to work, straight out of the oven. Of course I was hopping up and down, testing the cake every few minutes with the skewer, wishing it to cook faster, faster, or else I’m going to be late. As it was – I pulled it out of the oven *just* as the skewer pulled out clean.

Final result:

Red velvet cake

My changes to the recipe?
I don’t have a food processor, so I pulsed the beetroots with the stick mixer, so the pieces were about the size of a pea or smaller.

Wet mixture:
Red Velvet Cake Wet Mix

Instead of 70% dark chocolate, I used milk cooking chocolate (20% cocoa solids).
Instead of dark drinking chocolate, I used van Houten dutch process cocoa which has been in the cupboard for at least 4 years.
As I had roasted and chopped up the beetroots the night before, I found that the mixture was drier upon combining than expected. I believe the warmth of the roast beets would’ve probably helped the mixture combine in the proportions given. As it was, I had to add about 1/2 cup of milk to the mixture to make sure there were no dry spots.
I also only made half the amount of icing – I don’t normally eat icing, so I wanted it more as an option than forced upon the tasters.

Really dense, really delicious. Almost like a mudcake in texture , but without the overpowering sweetness that you get from a mudcake. There was no strong beetroot flavour – so strike one there. However, every now and then you got a little ‘pop’ from a piece of the beetroot. The cake was a favourite with the colleagues – but also really filling. I had one piece at 10am, and then couldn’t eat anything until 230pm where I forced myself to eat something so I had fuel for that afternoon’s boot camp.

Red velvet cake slice

I may have to visit the Organic Bread Bar to taste the inspiration… and adjust the recipe to match. Perhaps the use of buttermilk, or vinegar may help bring out the taste.

Add this one to the favourites list!


2 responses to this post.

  1. […] think that the red velvet cake with beetroot is my current favourite cake of the moment. I think that it’s because it tastes rich and […]


  2. […] told you before how my favourite cake of the moment is the red velvet cake with beetroot. I didn’t realise how common this combination was until I tried to find a beetroot cake that […]


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