“I’m baking this for Nina. She ate a lot of canned beets in grad school,” I lied.
Nina did (does?) eat a lot of canned beets in grad school, but the part about the cakes being a belated way for us to celebrate our respective birthdays? That part was a straight “fib.” I peeled, sliced, whisked, cracked, beat, folded and baked these cakes right under the Urban Farmer’s nose.
I packed up all the accoutrements in plain sight, promised to save him a slice and elaborated, “we’re maybe going to the park. I’m going to take Julep.” Out the door I went, in my farm clothes, with his birthday cakes in tow. I was on my way to set up his Dirty Thirty surprise party!
In many ways, he should never trust me ever again. For at least a month, I “fibbed” and schemed, but in the end, I made him his own cake, inspired by his love of beets, roots and plants emerging from the dirt. Cake erases most conspiracies.
Gluten-Free Beet Upside Down Cake
About This Recipe: Don’t be alarmed by the lack of butter or oil in this recipe. The larger quantity of eggs yields a moist, spongey cake with sweet bites of beet and beet juices on top. Pair a slice with homemade whipped cream or organic vanilla bean ice cream. The cake also makes a great breakfast indulgence, since it’s not overly sweet.
3 Tablespoons organic, unsalted butter
1/4 cup organic light brown sugar
1-2 small beets, peeled and thinly sliced
1-1/4 cups organic almond flour (such as Bob’s Red Mill)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
4 large eggs, separated (organic/cage-free)
1/2 cup organic light brown sugar
2 teaspoons orange zest
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8” springform pan with parchment paper.
Melt the butter, then pour it into the pan, swirling it around to coat the sides. Sprinkle ¼ cup brown sugar over the bottom. Layer with sliced beets.
In a mixing bowl, whisk together the almond flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the egg yolks, sugar and orange zest.
Add the almond flour mixture, and beat to combine.
In a clean bowl, beat egg whites until foamy and doubled in size but not until peaks form. Fold egg whites into the rest of the batter and pour into the pan.
Bake on a middle rack for 30-35 minutes, or until top is golden and a toothpick comes out clean.
Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool before removing from the pan and transferring to a serving plate.