I made a mad dash around my vegetable garden last night, pulling out and cutting off; record cold was threatening. I don't know if it's humanly possible to eat all of the eggplant, cabbage, and jalapenos now filling the bags strewn throughout my kitchen. Today I should have been making pasta sauce with the eggplant, or the stuffed savoy cabbage I've thought about all summer. But, there were also a few chioga beets in the garden. If I can find a way to spend my day making dessert, I will do that over anything else.
The return of a friend from Paris, and a gift from Maison du Chocolat had me thinking chocolate. I've made these Mini Chocolate Beet Cakes before, and I loved saying to my family... "and, the secret ingredient is... ?" After a summer of roasted beet salads, these little chocolate cakes were the perfect end to the season.
Walnut Creek, CA.
• 12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
• 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
• 3/4 cup light corn syrup
• 1/2 cup heavy cream
• 1/3 cup sugar
• Pinch of salt
• 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
• 1 teaspoon vanilla
• Butter for greasing molds
• 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
• 2/3 cup sugar
• 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
• 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 2 eggs
• 3/4 cup buttermilk
• 1/4 cup sour cream
• 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
• 1/2 cup peeled and grated raw red (in this case, Chioga) beets
• Whipped heavy cream
TO MAKE SAUCE: Melt chocolate in top of double boiler over simmering water, stirring until smooth. Stir in cocoa powder. Remove top insert of double boiler. Set aside. (You may also melt the chocolate in a microwave on low power). In a 1-quart saucepan, combine syrup, cream, sugar, and salt over low heat. Stir until sugar dissolves. Simmer over low heat for 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in butter and vanilla. Pour mixture into chocolate. Stir to blend. Serve warm, or let sauce cool. ( Sauce may be made ahead and stored in refrigerator for up to 5 days).
TO PREPARE OVEN and MUFFIN CUPS: Preheat oven to 350˚F. Rub 10 muffin cups (or French oval aspic molds) with butter.
TO MAKE CUPCAKES: Sift flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into large bowl. Combine eggs and buttermilk in bowl of electric mixer. Beat until blended. Add sour cream, mixing only until streaks begin to disappear. Add melted butter. Mix until just combined. Stir in dry ingredients. Gently fold beets into batter.
TO BAKE CUPCAKES: Spoon batter into muffin cups, filling each half full. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until tops spring back when pressed with your finger. Transfer pan to rack and let cool briefly; unmold and finish cooling on rack.
TO SERVE: Spoon chocolate sauce over mini cakes, reheating sauce briefly if necessary. Garnish wish whipped cream or serve with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.
TAKE a LOOK: