I recently explored The Cacao Cookbook. Beyond hot chocolate, there are many ideas ranging from savory main courses to this quite interesting cake. Beets and chocolate may not sound like a happy marriage, but it is. You have to try it to believe it. Here the road goes even further. The topping is a combination of avocado, cacao powder, and maple syrup. There’s a filling between the two layers made with strained yogurt paired with grapes that have been roasted until they caramelize. I’ve never seen that before. I have frozen grapes, but caramelize?

Suzi is on a road trip. When she returns, she’s making dessert. I’ll convince her, even if I have to whimper.

The Cacao Cookbook will be in stores on November 6. I hope you look for it and enjoy it!

Cacao Beet Cake

Yield: serves 8-12


For the cake:

  • 8 ¾ ounces solid (100 percent) cacao chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 3 extra-large eggs
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • ½ cup almond meal
  • 1 ¾ cup shredded, peeled raw beets
  • ⅓ cup sunflower oil
  • ¼ cup avocado oil

For the topping:

  • 1 avocado
  • ½ cup cacao powder
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon rose water

For the saving:

  • 2 ⅔ cups black seedless grapes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 cup Greek-style yogurt, strained through cheesecloth


Preheat the oven to 275°F and grease an 8-inch loose-bottom cake pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper.

Melt the chocolate in a bain-marie: Put it into a heatproof bowl set over a small saucepan of simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Stir until smooth, then set aside to cool.

Using a handheld electric mixer, beat the eggs with the sugar in a large bowl until pale and fluffy. Fold in the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cacao powder, and almond meal until thoroughly mixed together. Now fold in the beets, melted chocolate, and oils until evenly combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes in the center of the oven. Cover the cake with aluminum foil and return to the oven for another 30 minutes. Turn out of the pan and let cool on a wire rack.

To make the topping, put the avocado, cacao powder, maple syrup, and rose water into a food processor and process until smooth.

To roast the grapes for the filling, preheat the oven to 425°F. Toss the grapes, still attached to the stems, in the olive oil and roast for about 30 minutes, until caramelized. Let cool, then remove half the grapes from the stems and slice in half, reserving the rest to garnish the cake.

Slice the cake into two disks. Spread the strained yogurt over the bottom half and add the halved grapes evenly. Top with the other half of the cake and spread over the cacao ganache topping. Arrange the roasted whole grapes still attached to the stems on the cake to serve.

Source: The Cacao Cookbook from the Editors at Astor