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Chocolate Red Velvet Cake

Another luscious special occasion cake. Sure, you may not make this for weekday dinners, but come the weekend, when you want a little something special on the table for the ones you love, this decadent-tasting chocolate cake will be the one you turn to every time. Moist, sweet and oh, so chocolate-y, I can't think of anything better.

1 1/2 cups chopped beets
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup semolina flour
5 tablespoons cocoa powder
Generous pinch sea salt
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3 tablespoons beet powder (optional)
1 1/2 cups spring or filtered water (preferably from boiling beets)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup avocado oil
1 1/2 cups brown rice syrup
2 teaspoons brown rice vinegar

3/4 cup non-dairy, grain-sweetened chocolate chips
1/2 cup vegetarian butter spread (like Earth Balance)
1/2 cup unsweetened almond or soy milk
2 tablespoons brown rice syrup
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Place beets in a pot with several cups of water and bring to a boil. Cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain beets, reserving 2 cups of cooking water. Cook this water over medium heat until it has reduced to 1 1/2 cups (needed for recipe).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly oil and flour 2, 8-inch spring form pans. 

Whisk together flours, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder/soda and beet powder. Place cooked beets and beet water in a food processor and puree until smooth. Whisk together, in a separate bowl, vanilla, oil, rice syrup and vinegar. Mix beets and wet ingredients into flour mixture to create a smooth batter. Spoon batter evenly into the 2 prepared pans and bake on the center rack for 50 minutes, until the tops of the cakes spring back to the touch or an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before releasing cakes from pans. Cool completely before frosting.

Make the frosting while the cakes bake. Place chocolate in a double boiler (or in a glass bowl over a pot of boiling water) and whisk until smooth. Mix in butter spread and whisk until smooth. Whisk in soymilk, rice syrup and vanilla until smooth.

Transfer to a glass bowl, cover and chill completely. Whisk briskly to loosen before using. When you are ready to frost the cake, shave the top of one of the cakes to create a flat surface. Place on a platter and spread frosting over the top of the layer. Place remaining cake on top of the frosting and frost the entire cake. Makes 8-10 servings 


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