I have never been one to love cake. I grew up asking for ice cream on my Birthday and even refused to have cake on my wedding day. So, when I found myself pregnant with Octave I wondered why I suddenly desired and even stressed over what kind of cake to bake her as I labored and anticipated her arrival into the world. I suppose it was Octave who brought out the baker in me. Before her I would have laughed if someone would have told me that one day I would find myself covered head to toe in flour, finding deep purpose and meaning in a slow, domestic life. But with a new life growing inside, a baker was born, then Octave, and finally a Mama was born.
I won’t say that time has gone by fast, because truly it hasn’t. It feels like two beautiful years since Octave came into our lives. It feels like two perfect years filled with joy, sleep deprivation, frustration, cuddles, tickles, family bike rides and hours of dr. seuss.
I am continually amazed how often she changes and how I fall more in love with each season, age and mile stone. And yet I would be lying if I didn’t acknowledge how challenging the battle of wills has been lately. But still I refuse to call this stage terrible. As her sass, and strong will grow exponentially, so does her smile, vocabulary, opinions, compassion and empathy for others. She is growing into her own little person, that sometimes does not want to do what I want, and I find that terrific, yet slightly frustrating some times. Today I declare her a terrific 2-year-old! I am one proud mama, asking myself just how I got so lucky. Happy Birthday Octave, life with you is far better than I could have imagined.
Chocolate Beet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Disclaimer: This cake does not taste like a salad, in fact you can’t even taste the beets. They are a great alternative to artificial food coloring, and help add extra moister into the cake batter.
Recipe from Joy The Baker
2-3 medium beets
1 tsp. oil
3/4 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup cane sugar
2 large eggs at room temperature
2 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cup natural cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. sea salt
1 1/4 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1-2 tbsp. finely grated beets, depending on color preference
1 tbsp. milk
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. lemon juice
Pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 375. Wash beets well and coat them in oil. Wrap in foil and bake for 1 hour, or until tender when pierced with a fork. Let cool completely. Remove skins off beets,(they should just peel right off.) Using the finest grater you have, grate beets into a small bowl. Measure out 3/4 cup for cake and reserve 1-2 tbsp. for frosting. Lower heat to 350.
In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Add in eggs one at a time and beat until combined. Add vanilla and beets and beat until just combined.
In a medium size bowl combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Whisk all dry ingredients until they are combined. Add half of dry ingredients into wet ingredients and mix on low until just combined. Slowly pour in buttermilk while mixer is still going. Add the rest of the dry ingredients and beat until just combined.
Lightly butter 2, 8 inch round cake pans. You can trace your pans and cut some parchment paper to go on the bottom of your pans to ensure a successful removal. I definitely did this! Bake for 25-30 minutes. Test center of cake with a toothpick to make sure it cooked all the way through. Be careful not to over bake.
Let cakes cool in pans while you prepare your frosting.
Cream together butter and cream cheese. Slowly add in powdered sugar while mixer is on. Add vanilla, lemon juice, beets and salt. Beat for 30 seconds to 1 minute until light and fluffy. Set aside.
Remove cakes from pans and place one on a plate or cake stand. Generously frost the top and sides of the cake. Add the second layer on top. Spread the rest of the frosting over the sides and top of cake. Place in fridge until you are ready to eat.