Happy Birthday Jagan! Here’s the chocolate cake you missed

Red beet Chocolate cake with a silky chocolate frosting

In Facebook fashion, I am wishing Jagan (my husband) a very, very happy birthday on my blog much to everybody’s “teeth gritting” and “eye-rolling”. I know. To my defence, he’s not sitting next to me and I haven’t asked him to share this post on FB and ‘like’ it. He’s far away in US of A and will miss out my yearly birthday-gift goof up – he is always amused, worried or perplexed by my gifts but never pleased with them. I once sent him for a surprise Spa Treatment on his birthday and he counts it among his most awkward, embarrassing moments to date. I have a knack with these birthday gifts. He’ll also miss my home-made birthday cake which I have a feeling he’s quite happy about. He’ll miss his birthday special menu at home – Dosai, Dosai and Dosai. And he’ll most definitely miss Hasini and Yuvi’s birthday song. I hope being featured on my million-readership blog makes him feel special. And somebody please go tell him to read this post. He doesn’t read my blog (can you believe that!) that often.

red beet chocolate cake

I didn’t make this absolutely spectacular chocolate cake today. Are you mad? Today is Monday, day 1 of another work week after a crazy weekend and I just about managed to pack a lazy mom’s laziest lunch option of jam sandwiches and banganapalli mangoes for Hasini’s lunch. I made this cake a week back (another blogger thing I forgot to mention in my “Top things bloggers do” post, we’re preemptive). This chocolate cake is the best chocolate cake I’ve made so far and one of the best I’ve eaten. It is moist, just sweet enough and with the lovely creamy chocolate frosting, it is absolutely decadent.

red beet chocolate cake

The secret ingredient in this absolutely gorgeous chocolate cake that makes it so moist and delicious is red beets/beetroot in it. No typos there. The cake has cooked, pureed beetroot in it. The cake and the frosting are both from Maida Heatter’s cake book. 

red beet chocolate cake

I cannot tell you how hard it was for me to put the beetroot in this cake. Everytime I readied the beetroots, boxed them and put them in the fridge so that I could pull out and do the rest later (I rarely ever do the full thing – prepping, baking cake, frosting in one shot), they were gone. My Maamiyaar (mother-in-law) would have made beetroot poriyal. The third time I didn’t take a chance. I chopped, steamed and pureed the beetroots to a pulp and then put it in the fridge. But the actual cake itself is quite simple. It has oil and so no creaming nonsense. The frosting is relatively simple too. If you’re intimidated by frostings, have cake decorating nightmares, or are generally new to baking, try this red beet chocolate cake and this fluffy chocolate frosting.
And don’t forget to tell Jagan to stop by my blog today.
Prep time: 20 mins
Baking time: 40 mins
Cooking time: 15 mins
Makes: One 13-inch round cake, Yields 12-15 slices
Ingredients – Cake
All purpose flour/Maida – 1-3/4 cups
Cooked and pureed red beets – 1 cup to 1-1/4 cups
Baking soda – 1-1/2 tsp
Salt – ¼ tsp
Eggs – 3
Vanilla – 1 tsp
Unsweetened chocolate – 90 gm (I substituted with dark chocolate and cut down ¼ cup of sugar)
Sugar – 1-1/2 cups (I used 1-1/4 cup because I was using dark chocolate instead on unsweetened)
Oil – 1 cup
Ingredients – Chocolate frosting
Unsweetened chocolate – 60 gm (I substituted dark chocolate)
Butter – 170 gm at room temp.
Vanilla – 1 tsp
Granulated Sugar – 1 cup (I used ¾ cup because I substituted dark chocolate)
All purpose flour/Maida – ¼ cup
Milk – 1 cup
  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Grease a rectangular 13*9 pan or a 10 inch round pan and line the bottom with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. To prepare beets, peel and chop them roughly. Steam for 15 minutes or till a knife passes through easily. Cool slightly and puree. Do not add any water. Set aside.
  3. Melt chocolate in a double boiler till melted. Remove from heat and let cool.
  4. Sift flour, salt, baking soda and set aside.
  5. To a large bowl, add oil and sugar and beat with an electric mixer for a minute.
  6. Add eggs one at a time and beat after each addition.
  7. Add vanilla, chocolate and pureed beets and beat for another minute.
  8. Add the sifted flour mixture and beat on low just until incorporated and there are no traces of dry flour mixture. Turn the mixture into the pan, level the top and bake for 35-40 minutes or till a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  9. Remove from pan and cool completely. Prepare frosting in the meantime.
  10.  Melt the chocolate for the frosting in a double boiler over low heat. Set aside.
  11. To a small pan, add ¼ cup flour and ¼ cup milk and stir to make a lump free solution. Add the remaining milk, stir well and cook on low heat constantly stirring with a rubber spatula scraping the bottom and sides. Remove from heat when the flour and milk mixture has reached a thick very slow flowing mixture. Continue stirring with the spatula till the mixture cools down and reaches room temperature.
  12. Let butter come to room temperature. Beat with an electric beater till soft. Add granulated sugar and beat on high speed for 5 minutes. Add vanilla, melted chocolate and the flour-milk mixture and beat till soft and fluffy.
  13. Pour the frosting over the cake and let it slide down the sides. Use an offset spatula to smooth the frosting on top of the cake or to make swirls. Chill the cake for 2 hours. Pile some chocolate shavings at the centre if you wish. Slice and serve.
  1. The cake recipe uses cooked beetroot. So steam or boil them till tender and puree. I am always comfortable steaming rather than boiling. I used my idli steamer and just piled the chopped beets in each idli mould and steamed them.
  2. The frosting is not very thick and I don’t think you can pipe it. But it is not runny either. You can spread it using a spatula and it’ll drip slowly down the sides.
  3. I thought the granulated sugar in the frosting might make it grainy but it wasn’t. I beat the butter and sugar for a full 5 minutes at which point it still had sugar granules. Once I beat in the flour-milk mixture and the melted chocolate it was smooth. The flour-milk mixture and chocolate were just almost at room temperature which may have cooked the sugar.
  4. Cake is best served once it is chilled for a couple of hours.
  5. Cake keeps well for up to 2 weeks refrigerated. It remains soft and moist.
red beet chocolate cake
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  1. Praba Arun says:

    Hi Jayanthi… I like your style of writing so much. And this chocolate cake… omg…so so tempting.

    could you pls update how many beets did u use or cup measurements for beet puree? Would love to bake it soon.

  2. Padmapriya Pugazhendhi says:

    One of the best moist cake I have tasted so far… I enjoyed eating each and every bite.. And the frosting was so smooth silky tasty and not at all sugary like the usual frosting. On the whole, the beet chocolate cake and the chocolate frosting were mmmm yummy and delicious..

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