Roasted beets, chocolate cake and a visit to the Green String Farm have all been on my mind for a few weeks. Well I finally accomplished the lot and have assembled them into a scrummy little package just for you.
First, can we please talk about the Green String Farm..WOW… what an amazing farm. The boys and I did not want to leave. Between the artistically arranged produce in the farm stand, the playhouse fit for miniature royalty, and the farm animals, it is truly a magical place. I could feel the farm fairies and garden sprites working their magic and sitting on the shoulders of the charming members of the this farm team.
Green String Farm was founded in 2003 by Bob Cannard and Fred Cline. Cannard has been farming sustainably for 30 years and providing produce to Alice Waters‘ restaurant Chez Pannise. Cannard is a very important member of the sustainable food movement in Northern California. Fred Cline is the landowner and founder of Cline Cellars. These two pillars of the Sonoma County community were not satisfied with the way the “organic food movement” was evolving. They believe that “organic” should equal; locally grown, include a deep respect for the environment and planet, and products should not be traveling across country or continents to go to market. So they created a new name for their system of farming, Green String Farming. Their method incorporates the above mentioned premises as well as the use of cover crops, soil supplements, such as microbes, compost tea and crushed volcanic rock. At Green String they are doing some really important work. They are also paying it forward by running four internships programs per year, where they teach their cultivation practices to future farmers. It is a farm that I highly recommend visiting.
The farm stand is open every day 10 -5. They have been selling produce to the community since 2006. On the day we visited they had an extensive selection of tomatoes, lettuces, melons, pumpkins, apples, pears, prickly pears, celery, carrots, onions, and beets. As I have had this chocolate beet cake recipe brewing in my head I was on the lookout for those rosy, dirt covered, little gems. We choose a couple of pounds of the tiny tender beets. When we got them home and roasted them we had a virtual rainbow of colors, yellow, red and watermelon.
Growing up, my childhood best friend’s mother, used to make a chocolate mayonnaise cake for every birthday. I have uber-fond memories of this cake and I have been day-dreaming about reinventing it. This cake uses cocoa instead of chocolate and mayonnaise to replace any eggs, oil or butter. The result is a fine crumb and a moist irresistible tooth.
I have been fascinated with the use of beets in chocolate cake. I am not going for a red cake, sorry I never got on the red velvet kick, not my thing. And let’s face it folks I am writing a blog about farms and their produce. My mission is to visit 52 farms in a year, one a week. All the summer fruits are winding down for this year so we are on to our fall harvest.
So after much deliberation and researching online because there are quite a few variations on this theme, I think I came up with something …dare I say it…new…ok well maybe just not written about on the internet YET….now here it is…wait for it.. long title…don’t let my long involved title scare you off though… If you are still reading…yay… and thank you and you will not be sorry to try this recipe out.
Roasted Beet Cocoa Mayonnaise Bundt Cake
Beet Infused Cream Cheese Swirl Topped with Ganache and Mini Chocolate Chips
Serving Size: 12
-= Ingredients =-
2 cups All-purpose flour
1 cup Sugar
1/4 cup Brown Sugar
1/2 cup Cocoa powder
1 teaspoon Baking powder
1 teaspoon Baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 cup Mayonnaise
2 cups Beets; roasted and grated
1 cup Half-and-half cream
1 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla extract
8 ounce Cream cheese; softened
1 large Egg
1 cup Mini chocolate chips
1 1/4 cup Heavy cream
-= Instructions =-
– Place a rack in the center of the oven. Preheat to 375 degrees F.
– Thoroughly wash beets under running water. Place clean beets in a baking dish drizzle with a little vegetable oil and add a couple of tablespoons of water. Cover the dish with foil. Roast beets until tender when pierced with a knife, about 1 hour.
– Remove the beets from the oven, allow to cool. Peel and grate. Measure 1 1/2 cups beets for the cake and 1/2 cup beets for the cream cheese swirl. Set aside.
– Reduce oven heat to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a Bundt pan.
– Combine the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl: 2 cups all-purpose flour, 3/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup cocoa powder, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon salt. 1/2 cup semi-sweet mini chocolate chips. Stir the dry ingredients together.
– Add the following to the dry mixture: 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1 cup half-and-half, 1 cup mayonnaise, and the 1 1/2 cups roasted, grated beets. Mix until well combined. Set aside.
– In the bowl of an electric stand mixer place 8 ounces cream cheese, 1/4 cups sugar and mix until combined. Add the egg and vanilla and mix until combined, scrape down the bowl. Add the remaining 1/2 cup roasted, grated beets and mix until just combined.
– Place 1/2 of cake mixture into the prepared Bundt pan. Spoon the infused beet cream cheese mixture into the center of the cake batter, trying to stay away from each edge by about 1/2-inch. Pour the remaining cake batter on top.
– Bake for 1 hour or until a skewer inserted in the cake comes out clean. Remove cake from the oven and allow to rest for 15 minutes. Invert cake onto a cooling rack to cool completely before applying ganache.
– While the cake is cooling prepare the ganache. Heat 1 1/4 cups of heavy cream in a small saucepan to scald point. Place the 1 cup of mini chocolate chips in a bowl. When cream is hot pour over chips and allow to melt for a few minutes. Whisk until mixture comes together and is smooth and silky.
– Place the cooling rack with the cooled cake on it on top of a clean sheet pan. Begin to pour the ganache over the bundt cake to cover completely. You can reuse the ganache that falls on to the sheet pan underneath if necessary.
– Sprinkle the very top with mini chocolate chips for garnish.
3571 Old Adobe Road
Petaluma, CA 94954
Farm stand open every day 10 – 5 (6pm during summer)
For more Green String Farm pictures click here