Chocolate Orange Beet Cake with Cream Cheese Walnut Icing


Chocolate Beet Cake
(makes 1- 3 layer cake)
4 ounces chocolate
1 cup vegetable oil, divided
2 cups pureed beets, about 3 medium beets
1 tablespoon orange zest
1 tablespoon vanilla
3 eggs
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 cup AP flour
1 cup cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Orange Syrup
1/3 cup orange juice
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cocoa powder

Chocolate Walnut Icing
16 ounce cream cheese
1 cup butter, 2 sticks
1/4 cup cocoa 
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups powdered sugar
2 cups walnuts, chopped roughly with a knife

Make the Syrup: Whisk together the orange juice, water, sugar and cocoa in a small saucepan. Bring it up to a boil and reduce by half. Set aside.

Make the Cake: Preheat your oven to 375, and spray 3 non-stick cake pans thoroughly with pan spray. I like Bakers Joy.

In a small double boiler, melt the chocolate with 1/2 cup of the oil. Peel and cut your beets into rough cubes and combine them with the remaining oil, vanilla and orange zest in the highest powered blender you have. Process until the mixture is completely smooth, and add the melted chocolate. Pulse to combine. 
In a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the eggs and sugar until they are light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Slowly add the chocolate beet mixture and continue whisking to fully incorporate.

Sift together the flours, baking powder and salt. Add this in 3 batches and just incorporate. You’re going to end up with a batter that is slightly thicker than most you’re used to seeing. Don’t worry.

Turn 1/3 of the batter into each of the greased cake pans. Slide them onto the middle rack of the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Test the center of the layers with a toothpick. If it comes out clean, you’re good. If not, bake a few additional minutes. 

Turn the layers out onto a rack and cool about 30 minutes. Once they are cool, brush the syrup over the bottom of each layer. Try to use all the syrup.

Make the Icing: Combine the cream cheese, butter, cocoa and vanilla in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Paddle until things are velvety and soft. Add the sugar, a cup at a time, lowering the speed each time you make an addition to avoid a white mess. Scrape down the sides, and add the nuts. Paddle again for about 15 seconds. 

Ice the Cake: I’m not great at decorating cakes, so I love the naked side look. To accomplish this, just divide your icing into 3 parts and spread it to the edges of each layer, stacking one on top of the next. Easy.