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Chocolate Beet Cake (Recipes from America' s Small Farms)

4 (1 ounce) squares unsweetened chocolate, cut into small pieces
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
4 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups packed light brown sugar
1 pound red beets, peeled and grated
1/2 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
Approximately 1 3/4 cups cream cheese or chocolate fudge frosting

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 9-inch round cake pans; line the bottoms with circles of parchment paper or wax paper and grease the parchment.

Melt the chocolate in the top of a double boiler, over gently boiling water; the upper pan should not touch the water. Keep the chocolate warm.

Whip the eggs and brown sugar with an electric mixer for about 5 minutes until mixture is noticeably thicker. Add the oil, whipping until it is incorporated. Add vanilla and melted chocolate and scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl.

Sift together flour, baking soda and powder and salt. Add to egg mixture and mix on low speed until well combined, stopping to scrape the bowl. Add the beets and mix well. Pour into the prepared pans and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the centers spring back when gently pressed. Let cool completely in the pans on a wire rack.

With a serrated knife trim the dome from both cakes so that they are flat, not domed. Trim the sides of the cakes if they seem dry. If you wish, grind the cake trimmings in a food processor or blender and reserve them for garnishing the sides of the cake.

Put one cake layer on a flat serving plate. Spread 3/4 cup frosting. Gently flatten second cake layer on top. Frost sides and top with remaining frosting. If desired, press some of the reserved cake crumbs onto the sides of the cake.