Heavenly Chocolate Beet Tea Loaf

Heavenly Chocolate Beet Tea Loaf

Bless your heart if you are actually reading this post rather than running for cover to another food blog. Yes, I know this combination sounds a tad bit unusual, but I assure you it is Pure Genius.

Lest you think I’m being immodest here, the idea is not mine. The combination was recently featured in Gourmet Traveler, and that’s where I first encountered it.

Heavenly Chocolate Beet Tea Loaf

On page 136 of the June 2010 issue, there’s a recipe for Chocolate and Beetroot Cake–an elegant whipped cream and whipped egg white lightened bittersweet chocolate sponge cake with almond meal subbing for flour. I have yet to actually bake this cake but will definitely give it a go while fresh beets are still in plentiful supply in the Northwest.

Heavenly Chocolate Beet Tea Loaf

You can imagine my surprise and consternation when after a little research on the web, I discovered that a zillion cooks have already expounded on this combination to the world. I give you the most noteworthy of these at the end of this post.

Heavenly Chocolate Beet Tea Loaf

Meanwhile, summer weather has finally hit Seattle and the temperature is rising in the OtherWorldly Kitchen. Plus the garden and a stack of great books are calling. Now is the season for quick and easy.

Heavenly Chocolate Beet Tea Loaf

So I decided to focus my chocolate beet experimentation on a simple, but exceptional tea loaf. And upon perfecting that, I explored several extended flavor partnerships. After several rounds of testing, I arrived at three very distinct chocolate beet tea loaves, each of which is fit for the angels. Check out the above photos for the three flavor pairings.

Heavenly Chocolate Beet Tea Loaf

This tea loaf is just the ticket when you have only a few minutes to throw something wonderful together. The beets are used raw, which saves you the typical roasting or boiling time. You will not taste the beets, but they do add a subtle spiciness that is very appealing, plus they virtually ensure a tender, moist loaf for 2-3 days.  Did I mention the deep red-brown color? Gorgeous!

Heavenly Chocolate Beet Tea Loaf

Heavenly Chocolate Beet Tea Loaf with 3 Variations

I like this lovely tea bread so much (as much for its ease as for its excellent flavor, texture, and keeping quality), that I couldn’t resist developing a few variations. At this moment, I am devouring the ginger and white pepper variation with its spicy heat playing against a backdrop of moist, almost fruity (the beets) dark chocolate. What a delicious flavor pairing!

This loaf is modestly sweet, which makes it perfect for midday tea. However, if desired, you can add up to ½ cup additional sugar (which should be split evenly between brown and white sugar) without deleterious effects.

vegetable spray, to coat the pan
flour, to coat the pan

1 cup King Arthur all-purpose flour (4.5 ounces)
½ cup high quality, unsweetened cocoa powder (1.2 ounces) (tested with Scharffenberger cocoa)
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon fine sea salt

½ cup unsalted butter, melted (vegetable oil works too, but the flavor of the bread is not nearly so good as with butter)
½ cup sugar
½ cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla

1½ loosely packed cups very finely grated raw, peeled red beet (4.5 ounces shredded; 1 medium-large beet)

  1. Set an oven rack in the middle of the oven with plenty of room above it and preheat the oven to 350°.
  2. Coat an 8½- by 4½-inch (5-6 cup capacity) loaf pan with vegetable spray, and then a light layer of flour, tapping out any excess flour that does not cling.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  4. In another large mixing bowl, using a large whisk, whisk together the butter or oil, sugars, eggs, and vanilla until creamy and smooth, about 2 minutes.
  5. Stir the grated beet into the butter mixture.
  6. Add the flour mixture to the butter-beet mixture and with a large spatula, combine gently but well. No flour should remain visible in the batter.
  7. Spoon the batter immediately into the prepared pan, and set in the center of a preheated 350° oven.
  8. Bake for about 38-40 minutes. If the loaf is pulling away from the edges of the pan, immediately pull it from the oven. Hopefully you will catch it before this point. Over baking this bread will make it dry.

Makes one 8½- by 4½-inch loaf.


Heavenly Chocolate, Orange, Chile, & Beet Tea Loaf

Oranges and chocolate are one of my favorite chocolate pairings. Reddish-brown, slightly sweet guajillo chile adds spicy heat to the pairing, without overpowering the loaf. If you have whole chiles, split, seed, and toast one lightly in a hot pan. Remove from the pan, let cool, and then pulverize in a spice grinder or mortar with pestle. That lovely toasted flavor is excellent even in a dessert.

all ingredients from the basic recipe
finely grated zest of 2 large oranges
½ teaspoon ground chile guajillo

  • At Step 5 of the basic recipe, stir in the orange zest and chile powder.

Heavily Chocolate, Rosemary, Black Pepper, & Beet Tea Loaf

I told you all about my first encounter with chocolate and fresh rosemary in the post titled, Burnt Sugar & Rosemary Chocolate Tarts. I had wandered into Sahagun Chocolates in Portland, Oregon one cold February afternoon and was immediately drawn to a chocolate and fresh rosemary truffle. That first bite was a revelation! I’ve never looked back.

all ingredients from the basic recipe
2 teaspoons finely minced fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • At Step 5 of the basic recipe, stir in the rosemary and black pepper.

Heavily Chocolate, Fresh Ginger, White Pepper, & Beet Tea Loaf

When you taste this loaf hot, right out of the oven, the white pepper flavor dominates. Thus, you may feel that the balance of flavors is not pitch perfect. Taste again after the loaf has cooled, however, and the flavors should be in harmonious balance.

This loaf is meant to be spicy-hot, but you can of course cut the white pepper measurement in half, or eliminate it altogether, if you don’t want the heat.

Note   Be sure to freshly grind the white pepper. Ground white pepper that has been hanging around for awhile often has a musty, unpleasant taste.

all ingredients from the basic recipe
2 tablespoons peeled, finely grated fresh ginger (1 ounce prepared)
1 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper (or less if you don’t want the heat)
½ teaspoon ground cardamom

  • At Step 5 of the basic recipe, stir in the ginger, white pepper, and cardamom.

Chocolate Beet Cake



More Chocolate Recipes from LunaCafe:

More Chocolate & Beet Inspiration

Cannelle et Vanille
Gluten Free Chocolate and Roasted Beet Pudding Cakes

Food Mayhem
Beet Chocolate Cupcakes

La Tartine Gourmande
D is for Dark Chocolate and Beet Brownies

Martha Stewart
Chocolate-Beet Cakes with Candied Beets and Rose Petals

Chocolate Beet Brownies: They Can’t be Beat

Pinch My Salt
Double Dark Chocolate Beet Muffins

Straight from the Farm
Beet Cake

The Kitchn
Velvety Beet and Cocoa Cake

The Nibble
Chocolate Almond Beet Torte

When Harry Met Salad
Chocolate Beet Cake

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  1. says

    Wow that was odd. I just wrote an incredibly long comment but
    after I clicked submit my comment didn’t show up. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again.
    Anyhow, just wanted to say great blog!

  2. travelinjewel says

    I’m back again with a question about the variation using the rosemary. My rosemary plant has bit the dust! Have you ever made the rosemary-black pepper variation using dried rosemary? If so, what’s the conversion.

  3. TravelinJewel says

    Delish! Absolutely, positively delicious!!! I tried the white pepper, ginger & cardamom blend with beets from my CSA box. I ended up putting them into a baby bundt cake mold of 4 and made these adorably tasty treats!! My whole house smells fantastic right now and I’m taking one of the mini cakes/loaves to a group of foodie friends right now. I’m sure they’ll fall in love with it like me. Hope to get more beets in my CSA box so I can make rosemary (from my herb garden) & black pepper loaf next! Brilliant, absolutely brilliant! Your blog was a divine discovery and is now in my faves!!

  4. Ting says

    Thanks for sharing the recipe. I just baked the loaf with rosemary variation yesterday and eating it now as my afternoon snack. It’s very moisture and chocolaty. The color is BEAUTIFUL. However, I will omit the black pepper part next time. The spiciness is a bit to much to my taste. I thought the beet taste won’t be too much in the cake, although it’s kind dominant in mine. I love beets so it won’t be a problem to me. But to those not big in beet, this needs to be taken into consideration. Anyway, this is an interesting one.
    Ting recently posted…5-11-2011My Profile

    • Susan S. Bradley says

      Thanks for your thoughtful observations, Ting. I admit I lOVE heat in desserts and this is not to everyone’s taste. My beets must not have been as flavorful as yours. I plan to bake this cake again soo so will see if the beet flavor comes through more loudly this time.

        • Susan S. Bradley says

          Lorna, did you make the black pepper or white pepper variation? Both call for 1 teaspoon ground pepper, which I found to nicely balance the other flavors of the cake. However, I admit I adore freshly ground pepper. :-) It provides a different kind of heat than chile. In any case, it can be left out of the recipes without any deleterious effect if you wish. Thanks for trying the recipe and giving us your candid feedback!

    • Susan S. Bradley says

      Alta, thank you! Yes, I noticed a few Red Velvet Cake reciopes that included beets. The added benefit, beside the gorgeous color, is the moistness of the cake.

  5. Susan says

    I just knew there had to be something redeeming about beets. (Yes! I’m one of the haters) I think you may have convinced me to give them another try. An introduction by chocolate may be all that I needed! Thanks, Susan.

    • Susan S. Bradley says

      Susan, LOL! Yes, start here. You aren’t going to actually taste the beets though. :-)

      On the beet note, at the Seattle restaurant, Anchovies and Olives (Ethan Stowell’s latest) last night, I ordered Halibut with Beets, Orange & Cauliflower. The beets were golden, tender-crisp, cut into small dice and combined with diced orange and roasted cauliflower with a light orange sauce. Very effective! to warm folks up to bets, I suggest serving them in similar ways to this, in small size and quantity, as an adjunct to other elements of the dish.

      • Susan says

        Thanks, Susan. The beet, cauliflower and orange is probably my next step! I’m shooting for total disguise first..just to get them down and to be able to say I did! I’ll look at the farmers mkt for the golden beets too this week. I’ve not really paid close attention to beets, though I’ve read they come in other colors! Mostly, it’s been a texture thing with me, then flavor. I keep remembering a sort of metalic flavor in red beets along with the slippery, squeeky thing they have going on, that I just haven’t been able to get over. That’s why I though chocolate along with flour would have the strength to assert itself over them.

    • Susan S. Bradley says

      Joanne, thanks so much. Do give it a try, and let us know what you think. Now I’m running over to your site to check out that Avocado Buttercream. What a cool idea.


  1. […] Another batch of the beets got pureed and frozen because I was headed out of town and didn’t have time to use them. This week I dug these out of the freezer with the intention of making another batch of cupcakes. However, when I discovered I was out of baking chocolate I switched game plans and decided to make a Chocolate Beet Tea cake instead. […]

  2. […] the flavor a bit better. I’m completely fine with that- I LOVE chocolate. I decided on this Chocolate Beet Tea Loaf that I came across in my searches, and I am SO glad I […]

  3. […] used a recipe for a chocolate beet loaf seen here at Luna Cafe. It was ridiculously easy, and you can’t even see the beet when it’s finished save for […]

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