Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Chocolate beet cake with kale chips and almonds, or the otherwise known as the "Eat Your Salad and Have Cake, Too" Cake.

Every now and then, I come across a post sitting in my Drafts folder that I never got around to publishing. There are a few usual reasons for this languishing of posts: either I'm dissatisfied with the photos, or I want to save the recipe for the right moment (which never seems to appear), or I'm being too lazy to finish the post. This recipe has sat in my Draft Posts folder for a few months now, and yes, I was never 100% happy with the photos, and yes, I wanted to save the recipe for the right moment, and yes, I was being just darned lazy, but the real reason I haven't shared this one until now is because I haven't gotten the guts to do so. Because after today's post, in which I try to convince you to eat your salad and have your cake, too, with this kale chip and beet root chocolate cake, all y'alls might declare me criminally insane and ostracize me from the food blogosphere for the rest of eternity. But what the heck, right? Life isn't worth blogging without the risks, so here goes....

Kale chips! Okay, yeah, I'm a little late to the game, but finally DfB is jumping on the kale chip bandwagon. A few months ago, I discovered that such thing as baby kale existed, and publicly declared on twitter and facebook (you know, because that makes things, like, official) that it was my new favorite salad green. This comment prompted Irvin Lin (of Eat the Love) to dare me to follow the food bloggery fad and post a recipe for kale chips on this website. To which I answered, "Not unless I can put them into a dessert!"

.... of course, this got me thinking. I actually really appreciate sneaking an unexpected touch of traditional savoury-ness into my desserts (e.g., apricot-thyme brûlée tart? or rosemary peanut butter cookies?), and I always say that having chocolate cookies without salt is a crime and travesty. So why not kale chips? Flavor-wise, they are nice and salty with just a hint of earthy bite, and kale chips are also texturally fascinating, all crunchy and curly, but almost lighter than air. These two properties alone immediately made me think that they'd go perfectly with a soft, extra moist, dense, and rich dark chocolate cake. Naturally!

So here it is. My "Eat your salad and have your cake, too" Cake. Or my "Eat your cake and have your salad, too" Cake. Whatever. The point is: we can have it all, dark green kale AND dark red beets AND dark, dark chocolate. And a handful of toasted almonds for good measure. (You know, protein. Part of a balanced diet.)

But really, joking aside. I'm here to tell you that this cake seriously is dessert-worthy. The beets add a level of rich moisture to the chocolate cake, which is then enveloped in a deep layer of smooth dark chocolate ganache. The kale chips add a much needed crunch to the cake as well as that hit of salt that is so necessary with anything chocolate. And the almonds bring all the oddities together with a bit of familiar nuttiness.

...Or, maybe you might think that I'm now a bit nutty, too.

Read on for recipe....

Chocolate beet root cake with kale chips and toasted almonds
makes one 9-inch bundt

for cake
2 small beets (200 g total)
240 g all-purpose flour
1 tspn baking soda
1/2 tspn baking powder
1 tspn salt
2/3 cup cocoa powder
12 Tbspn butter, at room temperature
200 g brown sugar
150 g granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tspn vanilla extract
1/2 cup creme fraiche
3/4 cup whole milk
1/2 cup hot coffee

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Wrap the beets in aluminum foil and place on a baking tray. Roast for 30 minutes or until fork-tender. Remove from oven and let cool completely. When cool, cut off the tails, and peel the beets. Grate the beets and set aside.
2. Prepare a bundt mold by greasing and flouring the inside. Keep the oven at 350 degrees F.
3. In a bowl, whisk to combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cocoa powder. Set aside.
4. Put the butter in a mixer bowl with the paddle attachment. Cream until light, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the brown sugar and granulated sugar and continue beating on medium until light and fluffy, about 2 to 3 more minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well between each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract.
5. In two stages, add in the flour mixture, alternating with the creme fraiche and the whole milk. Mix well until combined but do not overmix. Pour in the hot coffee and mix. Fold in the grated beets.
6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out cleanly. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack at least 20 minutes before unmolding from the pan. Let cool completely on the rack.

for ganache
9 oz dark chocolate, chopped
7.5 oz heavy whipping cream
3 Tbspn butter

1. In a heatproof bowl, melt the chocolate over a pan of simmering water.
2. In a saucepan, heat the cream and butter just until simmering.
3. Pour the hot cream mixture over the chocolate. Remove from heat, and let sit for a minute or so.
4. Stir the cream into the chocolate until smooth. Cool until tepid and slightly thickened, and pour/spread onto the cake.

for kale chips and almonds
1 bunch curly kale, stemmed
1 Tbspn olive oil
flaked sea salt
1/4 cup sliced almonds

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
2. Chop the kale into medium-sized pieces. Toss with olive oil. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with flaked sea salt. Bake for 20 minutes, or until crisp. Remove from oven and let cool completely on a wire rack.
3. Meanwhile, spread the sliced almonds out in a single layer on a baking sheet. Toast in the oven for about 10 minutes, rotating once, until lightly golden. Remove from oven and let cool completely.
4. Either layer the kale chips and almonds on the cake, or smash into crumbs and sprinkle on the cake for a bit of savory bite.

Note: Use the kale chips shortly after they are made (or keep in an airtight container), and add them to the cake just before serving. The kale will soften if left to the open air and on the cake too long.



  1. I don't think this is nuts at all ... I think it's genius!!! :D

  2. I really can see myself chowing down on this cake. Not even the presence of veggies can distract me from something that is so beauitul

  3. omg, I love this. . my husband is going to kill me when I make this. . he hates kale. but I love this!! I'm 100% with you on chocolate cookies without salt is a crime and travesty. The kale chips make perfect sense and now we will all have to make this to see if it tastes as good as you say! :)

  4. Love this! I've been making a chocolate kale smoothie and beetroot brownies for ages, so this only makes sense! I think the photos are gorgeous, so there you are. x

  5. I JUST bought 6 huge bunches of kale because they were 3/99 cents, and I was at a loss for what to do with so much... Looks like I found my answer! :)

  6. Unrelated to the recipe, but this study totally made me think of your website. :) http://www.fitsugar.com/Eat-Dessert-Breakfast-Lose-Weight-Study-Says-21763440

    The title of the article is Eat Cake for Breakfast and Lose Weight. Do you dare rebrand your site as a weight-loss resource?

  7. Haha, seriously! I could probably make a good chunk of change if I did so.... :)

  8. Hm, I absolve myself of any responsibility in any ensuing homicide. However, if you do like the cake, I'll take credit for that! :)

  9. Oh, I'd never thought of a chocolate kale smoothie. That's interesting!

  10. I love choc-beetroot cake and adore kale chips, so why not together?! I love the idea of some crunch ontop of the soft and creamy cake. Thank you for being brave and being you! I'll be trying this for sure x

  11. it's a great one. Here it is (excuse photo, but brown smoothies are hard to make look nice), just sub spinach for kale. http://erinatlarge.com/erinatlarge/2013/02/28/properly-yummy-chocolate-green-smoothie/

  12. Cool, thanks for the link! I hear you on the brown smoothie thing. :)

  13. ami@naivecookcooksJuly 30, 2013 at 5:06 PM

    Yes it is not nuts...such a creative recipe!

  14. Laura (Blogging Over Thyme)July 30, 2013 at 7:50 PM

    Pretty sure this is the coolest cake I've ever seen in my life. Yep--definitely. I am sooooo fascinated by this idea!!! You are a genius.

  15. Cake that looks like cake, tastes like cake but is basically a salad. This cake shows there are no boundaries when it comes to desserts, or food in general. Great recipe and, as has already been said, genius idea!

  16. Those textures together must be fantastic. I've just started roasting kale myself (also late to the party) I wonder if I could persuade my husband to eat kale if I made this.

  17. how luscious does this look!? incredibly innovative!


  19. I am intrigued! Now that you've made kale into a dessert, what's next?!? I'm glad this post surmounted the drafts folder.

  20. Wow Looks Yummy, I wish i can go right away and get some chocolate pastry but its very late here :)....Thanks for sharing recipe :)


I love hearing from you and reading your comments! Thanks so much for stopping by the blog. Happy feasting!