To prepare cake, peel beets using a vegetable peeler. Grate beets, using the large holes of a grater, to measure 2 cups.
Coat 2 (9-inch) round cake pans with cooking spray; line bottoms with wax paper. Coat wax paper with cooking spray.
Combine the granulated sugar, brown sugar, oil, and eggs in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well-blended. Add beets; beat well. Lightly spoon the flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 5 ingredients (flour through salt) in a large bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Add flour mixture to sugar mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Pour batter into prepared pans; sharply tap pans once on counter to remove air bubbles.
Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes on wire racks; remove from pans. Carefully peel off wax paper, and cool cake completely on wire racks.
To prepare frosting, beat orange rind, vanilla, and cream cheese with a mixer at high speed until fluffy. Add the powdered sugar; beat at low speed just until blended (do not overbeat).
Place 1 cake layer on a plate; spread with 1/2 cup frosting; top with remaining cake layer. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake. Sprinkle nuts over top of cake. Store cake loosely covered in refrigerator.
I liked this cake a lot and my husband (who already loves carrot cakes; I am less excited about them) loved it. I am registering his conscientious objection to my 4 start vote -- he wanted 5, but I'm the one who writes these things. : ) Moist and definitely a noticeable though not overwhelming and highly beet flavor in the cake. I grew up with southern-style cakes, so to me the frosting was too soft and not sweet enough -- and I thought there could be a little more of it, but I see I am in the minority here. Husband thought the frosting was perfect and we both agreed we liked the touch of the orange zest. Beautiful presentation with the toasted nuts, and a unique flavor. Well worth a try, and maybe a repeat!
The taste of beet comes through in a pleasant way. Very interesting cake! In the frosting, I cut the powdered sugar to 2 cups, but it was still very sweet. Next time I would use 2/3 cup as others recommended for this amount of cream cheese, and actually, I would simply cut the amount of frosting to half altogether.
I baked the cake in a prepared 9 x 13 pan for 38 minutes and dusted with powder sugar before serving. Cut into 24 pieces. Nice flavor and texture; not too sweet. Froze half of it for another day. Did not prepare the frosting as we prefer foods with less sugar and fat.
I have been making this cake for a few years now. It is a creative way to use beets - can't get anyone to eat them in my family. Everyone loves this cake - I even made this for a baby shower with rave reviews. I always use less sugar in the frosting and use a bit more creme cheese as the 8 oz barely covers the cake. I have also mixed whole wheat flour in at times for added healthfulness (have to be careful as too much makes it too dense). So good!
Here's the deal, I'm probably still going to make this (I got a bunch of beets in my CSA and don't know what to do with them) BUT this recipe is 312 calories and 10.5 g fat for 1 out of 18 possible servings...for a 9 in round double layer cake?? I'll probably get 12, maybe 14 servings out of a cake this size. I wish they would put a reasonable portion size on things like this. This is a treat/indulgence and while I'll enjoy it, I'll be sure to deal with it as such. This is not a "healthy" or "cooking light" dessert.
I saw this recipe and just had to try it. I didn't alter anything, except that I melted the cream cheese a bit so I could stir in the other frosting ingredients. My family was a little skeptical but they had seconds!
This is absolutely delish! I used golden beets and made 1/2 of the recipe. I added 1 tsp cardamom and nutmeg for extra spice. I also, cut the powdered sugar to 2/3c. I had enough to frost the top and sides of the cake with this and cut some calories. The frosting is really sweet so a little goes a long way. I definitely would make again! I'm not sure what the taste differences is between golden and red beets.
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