If you're out shopping at your local grocery store for chocolate cake ingredients, chances are you are not going to be spending much, if any, time in the produce section. However, we would encourage you to take a gander over to where they keep the root vegetables. There, you will find an assortment of incredibly colorful bulbs known as beets. Believe it or not — we suggest the former — beets are actually the ingredient your chocolate cake needs.
Though their vibrant color is more well-known as being an all-natural food coloring for red velvet cake, beets contain properties that really help out your chocolate cake where it's needed. The history of using beets in cakes stretches back to World War II. Government regulations kept essential baking ingredients like cane sugar, cocoa powder, and butter strictly rationed. As an alternative, some bakers chose to use sugar derived from beets, which already have a naturally high sugar content. The easiest way to get the sugar was to juice the beets and use them to flavor and color the cake.
Beets can, however, be incorporated into chocolate cake in more ways than just by using their juice. They have all-around excellent baking properties and provide all sorts of tastes and textures to your chocolate cake.
Beets Add Sweetness, Moisture, And Texture
Beets can be incorporated into chocolate cake in a number of different ways. They can be juiced, as previously stated, but they can also be grated raw, cooked and pureed, or simply diced. You can even use canned beets if you can't find fresh ones. Using beets in this way helps make the cake a little denser, while still retaining moisture. This works if you're making cake mix from scratch, or if you're using box mix. Beetroots can actually help stabilize and keep box-mixed sponge cake fresher for longer.
You might be worried that the beets would lend too much of a vegetal taste to the cake, but that is not actually the case. Thanks to their natural sugar content, they will provide the sweetness, while also allowing you to use less sugar. They also provide the cake with a level of earthiness, which, when paired with the chocolate, really elevates the flavors of the cake. This works particularly well if you're baking a very rich cake. Beets, with the exception of their juice, aren't exactly best for lighter cakes.
So, if you're looking for a healthy sugar alternative that will give your cakes a wonderfully dense texture and elevate the richness of the chocolate, give beetroots a try. They're easy to find and can be used for a number of other recipes if you find yourself with more than you can fit into a cake.
Read the original article on Tasting Table.