Chocolate Beet Snack Cake

One Year: Peach Poppyseed Buttermilk Cake
Two Years: Berry Goat Cheese Shortcake Ice Cream Sandwiches
Three Years: Peach Caprese
Four Years: Turkey + Sweet Potato Tacos
Five Years: Caramelized Fig, Manchego, and Prosciutto Sandwiches

Chocolate Beet Snack Cake
Adapted from Food52

2 fresh beets, peeled and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
7 oz fine dark chocolate
1/4 cup hot, strong coffee
1 stick unsalted butter, cubed
1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
5 eggs
1 cup granulated sugar

4 oz creme fraiche
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
2 cups confectioner’s sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
poppy seeds, for sprinkling (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350° Fahrenheit. Lightly butter an 9×13-inch pan. Cook the beets in boiling unsalted water, about 25-30 minutes. Drain them process in a blender or food processor until a coarse purée. Melt the chocolate, broken into small pieces, in a small bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Don’t stir. When the chocolate looks almost melted, pour the hot espresso over it and stir once. Cut the butter into small pieces—the smaller the better—and add to the melted chocolate. Push the butter down under the surface of the chocolate with a spoon (as best you can) and leave to soften. Sift together the flour, baking powder and cocoa. Separate the eggs, putting the whites in a large mixing bowl. Stir the yolks together. Now, working quickly but gently, remove the bowl of chocolate from the heat and stir until the butter has melted into the chocolate. Pour in canola oil and stir. Let sit for a few minutes, then stir in the egg yolks. Do this quickly, mixing firmly and evenly so the eggs blend into the mixture. Fold in the beets. Whisk the egg whites until stiff, then fold in the sugar. Firmly but gently, fold the beaten egg whites and sugar into the chocolate mixture. Work in a deep, figure-eight movement but take care not to over-mix. Lastly, fold in the flour and cocoa. Transfer quickly to the prepared cake pan and bake 25 minutes, until browned at the edges and slightly spongy in the middle. Test with a cake tester or toothpick too—if it is still gooey in the center, continue baking just until moist crumbs cling to the tester. Set the cake aside to cool, loosening it around the edges with a thin icing spatula after half an hour or so. It is not a good idea to remove the cake from its pan until it is completely cold. When completely cool, turn out on cooling rack and frost.

Beat together creme fraiche and butter to combine. Beat in confectioner’s sugar 1 cup at a time, alternating with vanilla. Spread evenly on cake, creating delicate waves with spatula. Sprinkle with poppy seeds, if using.

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