This week's hack cake could be called "clean out the fridge cake." Some may call it a red velvet cake which I'm not a fan of due to the the dye. It always seemed odd that folks got excited about a cake with a slightly different hue. The red velvet cake has a somewhat muddled history with different claims as to its origin as well as the origin of its color.
The trick with natural red ingredients is the compounds that create the color are very fragile when exposed to heat. Even in plant-based dyes for textiles red is often a cold dye process and there is considerable attention payed to the mordants used to fix the colors.
My beet-based cake looks like any other dark chocolate cake. Unlike other beet cake recipes which call for shredded veg I chose to purée. This removes the texture. Think applesauce cake vs carrot cake.
Simply substituting a fruit or vegetable purée or sauce for liquid doesn't work. There are balances and our beet purée takes the place of some of the fat, sugar and liquid in the regular recipe.
Note: as I've gotten older my tendons decided "stir with a fork" was rather tedious. Now this cake uses 2 vessels: the 9 x 9 baking dish and either a stand mixer or a food processor bowl. When done all-in-one-pan the pan doesn't need to be lined or greased-and-floured.
Begin by making a shredded beet side dish, having. It with dinner then not eating all the leftovers. Roasted or steamed are also acceptable but will likely mean the recipe needs more oil.
The wine flavor will also be broken down by the heat so in this recipe the wine can be leftover from dinner a few nights ago that's just starting to turn to vinegar.
Put the beets and red wine into the food processor or blender and start puréeing. Scrape down the sides with a spatula and add the next 4 ingredients. Purée some more. The flour and cocoa may also need to be scraped down. Add the salad oil and make sure the mixture is the same consistency. At this point it should be pourable, like any boxed cake onced mixed. If it is too thick add a little more liquid through the feeder. Get your 9x9 pan prepared and have the chocolate chips ready. Add the baking soda and purée to make sure it is throughly mixed. Transfer half the batter to the prepared pan, add the chips and then the rest of the batter.
Bake at 350° for around 35 minutes. The cake is done when a toothpick or sharp knife comes out clean. Let cool completely before serving.