Garden cake

You can’t beat this red velvet cake made with beets.

Save this recipe to impress when you slice open for a bold, natural red. — Simone McGraw

We love cake of all kinds, so when summer intern Simone McGraw asked if we would be interested in a recipe for red velvet cake made with beets and buttermilk, we said, “Sure!” Little did we realize that her masterpiece would be so delicious. And best of all, she utilizes the rich color of beets rather than a bottle of food coloring, making this cake a real winner.

Red Velvet Beet Cake 


6 or 7 small beets (stems removed)
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp. distilled white vinegar
1 Tbsp. vanilla
3 cups cake flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1½ tsp. baking powder
3 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
½ cup unsalted butter (room temperature)
2 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs (separated)


4 8-oz. packages of cream cheese, softened
¾ cup powdered sugar (or to taste)
2 tsp. vanilla extract
Edible flowers (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°. Wash beets thoroughly, and surround with aluminum foil. Cook in the oven until the beets are soft in the center (about 45 minutes).

Dice beets in a food processor. Then pour the buttermilk, vegetable oil, vinegar, and vanilla into the mixture, and purée. When the mixture is smooth and has a vibrant fuchsia color, set aside.

Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and cocoa powder in a large bowl.

Beat the butter and granulated sugar until creamy. Then, one at a time, add the egg yolks.

Alternating between the beet and flour mixtures, combine into the butter mixture to form the nearly finished batter.

Whisk the egg whites until thick peaks form. Fold into the batter until just incorporated.

Grease two cake tins and divide the batter between them.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

While the cakes are in the oven, you can turn to the cream cheese frosting. With an electric mixer, combine the softened cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract until blended and velvety.

You can trim the top layer of your cakes to create an even surface. Top the first layer with frosting, then stack the second layer on top and repeat. You can decorate with piping, cocoa powder, edible flowers, and more!

This rich, luxurious cake brings the beauty of the outdoors to your kitchen.