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Chocolate-Beet Cakes with Candied Beets and Rose Petals

Try this mouthwatering chocolate-beet cake, from chef Johnny Iuzzini's "Dessert FourPlay," for an unforgettable Valentine's Day dessert.

  • servings: 6




For the Candied Beets

  • 2 cups Johnny Iuzzini's Simple Syrup
  • 2 bunches assorted baby beets (red, golden, and candy-striped), peeled and sliced 1/8-inch thick (preferably on a mandoline)
  • Sugar, for coating

For the Cake

  • 3 large beets
  • Coarse salt
  • Unsalted butter, for pan
  • 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar, plus more for pan
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 large egg
  • 6 tablespoons grapeseed oil
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, chopped and melted

For the Raspberry-Beet Sauce

  • 18 ounces fresh raspberries
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon powdered apple pectin

To Serve


  1. Step 1

    To make the candied beets: Divide simple syrup evenly between three medium saucepans. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Add each variety of beets to a different saucepan and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and simmer until beets are translucent, about 1 hour. Remove from heat and let cool completely.

  2. Step 2

    Line a baking sheet with a nonstick baking mat or parchment paper. Place sugar in a shallow dish. Gently drain beets, taking care not to break them, and dredge in sugar. Transfer to baking sheet and place in a cold oven to dry overnight. Beets may be kept in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

  3. Step 3

    To make the cake: Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Trim the tops from beets, leaving about 1 inch of the stems. Line a large piece of aluminum foil with a piece of parchment paper; make a bed of coarse salt in the center. Place beet on salt and tightly wrap foil to enclose. Transfer to oven and roast until beets are very tender, about 1 hour.

  4. Step 4

    When beets are cool enough to handle, peel and cut into large pieces. Transfer to the bowl of a food processor; process until very smooth. Strain and measure out 1/2 cup for the cake; reserve remaining beet puree for the sauce.

  5. Step 5

    Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-by-9-inch square baking pan; coat with sugar, tapping out excess, and set aside.

  6. Step 6

    Sift together flour, baking soda, and 1/8 teaspoon salt onto a piece of parchment paper; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat together sugar, egg, and oil on medium-high speed until pale and light. Beat in vanilla and slowly add flour mixture; beat until well combined. Add chocolate and beat until well combined. Add 1/2 cup beet puree and beat until well combined.

  7. Step 7

    Pour batter into prepared pan and rap on the work surface to remove air bubbles. Transfer to oven and bake, rotating pan after 10 minutes of baking, until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes total. Let cool completely before removing from pan.

  8. Step 8

    To make the raspberry-beet sauce: Place the raspberries in the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth. Strain, discarding solids, and measure out 1 cup of puree.

  9. Step 9

    Place 1 cup raspberry puree in a medium saucepan along with 1/4 cup reserved beet puree and vanilla bean and seeds. Place saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil.

  10. Step 10

    In a small bowl, mix together sugar and apple pectin; add to saucepan and return to a boil. Strain sauce into a medium bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Transfer to refrigerator and chill for at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.

  11. Step 11

    To serve: Using a 3 1/2-inch heart-shaped cutter, cut out six heart shapes from the cake. Using a 1 1/2-inch heat-shaped cutter, cut out the center of each 3 1/2-inch heart. Dust large hearts with confectioners' sugar; place one on each of six plates. Fill the center of each heart with raspberry-beet sauce and drizzle some of the sauce on the plate. Lean the smaller heart against the larger heart.

  12. Step 12

    Using a soup spoon, scoop up a mounded spoonful of vanilla whipped cream; slide second soup spoon on top of first, with spoons pointing in opposite directions. Spoon whipped cream back and forth a few times, scraping it into a small, neat egg shape. Place on one of the plates. Repeat process five times until each plate has a scoop of whipped cream. Crush a rose petal over each plate and serve immediately.

The Martha Stewart Show, February Winter 2009



Reviews (2)

  • chefette86 16 Feb, 2009

    Thank you for having Johnny Iuzzini on your show! He is so creative with flavour combinations and presentation. I bought his book as soon as it came out, love it!

  • cynthiamilwaukee 15 Feb, 2009

    This made my dinner. Unbelieveable - outratgeous dessert. Martha - you rock.