Fall has officially arrived. Autumn brings the allure of comfortable weather, and the change of colors signaling the coming harvest. In NYC, another sure sign of this time is the appearance at the Farmer’s Market where the last hurrah of lettuces, peaches, corn, and tomatoes is underway. The debut of butternut and delicata squashes marks the changeover from a palette of vibrant grass green, peach, and red to the earthier tones of blue-green, orange, and nut brown.
There’s a humble vegetable in the market that doesn’t show its true nature until you take it home for a date. At the market, the beets are stacked in unassuming mounds, their true beauty doesn’t reveal itself until you undress the ruby jewels. Whether raw or cooked, their range of colors is magnificent when peeled. (Like any good date, they will leave an impression—in this case, it may be a stain on your finger tips.)
Before you’re overwhelmed by pumpkin and squashes, try these individual Autumn Spice Beet Cakes, they’re the perfect transition from late summer to fall. Most desserts that use beets marry them to chocolate. (Beets increase the moisture of the final product.) By contrast, I wanted to bring out their vibrant colors and allow them to be the star. Fall spices take the supporting role, and a dollop of vanilla honey cream reinforces the natural sweetness.
Autumn Spice Beet Cake with Vanilla Honey Cream
yield: 6 servings
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon allspice powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated
2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses or honey
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup canola oil
3/4 cup (6 ounces) light brown sugar, packed
1-1/4 cups peeled and finely grated red beets
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1. Set oven rack in middle position and preheat to 350℉. Lightly coat 6 8-oz ramekins with butter and set them on baking sheet.
2. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, allspice, cinnamon and nutmeg in a large bowl, set aside. In medium size bowl, mix molasses, eggs, buttermilk, oil and sugar. Pour wet mixture to dry mixture and whisk to combine. Fold in beets until fully incorporated.
3. Divide batter among the ramekins and bake until cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 18-22 minutes.
4. While cake is baking, combine sour cream, honey and vanilla in a small bowl. Stir to combine. Serve warm cakes with a dollop of Vanilla Honey Cream.