2 secret ingredients to a better cake

June 30, 2015

Sometimes it just takes one ingredient to take a cake recipe to the next level. In these recipes, beets and walnut oil are the secret weapons to help make them unforgettable.

2 secret ingredients to a better cake

Red chocolate Bundt cake

Beets are so sweet that they are often processed into granulated sugar. It may sound odd, but puréed cooked beets perfectly complement the bittersweet taste of chocolate and give chocolate cakes an attractive red hue.

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 50 minutes

Serves 16

  • 2 sticks (250 ml/1 c) unsalted butter or margarine, softened, divided
  • 375 ml (1 1/2 c) firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 4 squares semi-sweet chocolate
  • 500 ml (2 c) puréed cooked beets
  • 5 ml (1 tsp) vanilla extract
  • 500 ml (2 c) all-purpose flour
  • 10 ml (2 tsp) baking soda
  • 1 ml (1/4 tsp) salt
  • Confectioners' sugar
  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F).
  2. In a medium bowl, cream 175 millilitres (3/4 cup) of the butter or margarine and the brown sugar. Add the eggs and mix well.
  3. Melt the chocolate with the remaining 50 millilitres (1/4 cup) butter or margarine in a small microwavable bowl on medium power for three minutes, ­stopping to stir every minute until smooth. Cool slightly. Blend the chocolate mixture, beet and vanilla into the creamed mixture (mixture will appear separated).
  4. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt. Add to the creamed mixture and mix well.
  5. Pour into a greased and floured 25-centimetre (10-inch) fluted tube or Bundt pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted near the centre comes out clean, 45 to 55 minutes.
  6. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack. Cool completely. Dust with confectioners' sugar. Cut into 16 slices and serve.

Seattle chiffon cake

Chiffon cakes generally feature delicate aromas such as lemon. This cake takes a different route with cocoa powder, cinnamon and espresso. Walnut oil gives the cake a delightfully nutty quality.

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes
Serves 16

  • 550 ml (2 1/4 c) cake flour
  • 350 ml (1 1/2 c) sugar
  • 15 ml (1 tbsp) baking powder
  • 3 ml (3/4 tsp) ground cinnamon
  • 2 ml (1/2 tsp) teaspoon salt
  • 125 ml (1/2 c) walnut oil, extra-light olive oil or canola oil
  • 2 large eggs, separated, plus 4 large egg whites
  • 175 ml (3/4 c) brewed espresso or other dark-roast coffee, at room temperature
  • 30 ml (2 tbsp) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 5 ml (1 tsp) vanilla extract
  • 2 ml (1/2 tsp) teaspoon cream of tartar
  • Confectioners' sugar
  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C (325°F).
  2. Stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl.
  3. Whisk the walnut, olive or canola oil with the egg yolks, espresso, cocoa powder and vanilla together in a large bowl until smooth. Fold the flour mixture into the egg mixture until well-combined.
  4. Beat the six egg whites until frothy in a bowl. Beat in the cream of tartar and continue beating until stiff peaks form. Gently fold egg whites into the batter.
  5. Spoon the batter into an ungreased 25-centimetre (10-inch) tube or Bundt pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean, about 45 minutes.
  6. Invert the pan to cool. Once cooled, run a metal spatula around the edges of the cake and invert it onto a serving plate. Dust the cake with confectioners' sugar. Cut into 16 slices and serve.


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