Secret Sauce: Beet Trifle Cake by Dirt Candy


What happens when one of the most acclaimed vegetarian fine dining kitchens in New York City goes all out during the holidays? You get something like this surprisingly decadent beet trifle cake recipe.

Amanda Cohen, the owner and chef behind Dirt Candy, wanted to create something more exciting than the usual holiday, carnivorous-leaning, pièce de résistance. And this recipe checks all of the necessary boxes: It is an indulgent, stunning centerpiece made for family-style sharing, and in true Dirt Candy fashion, completely turns vegetables on their heads.



Salt Roasted Beets

Kosher salt to cover beets
5 sprigs fresh thyme
4 medium red beets
4 medium gold beets

Beet Cake

½ cup unsalted butter
¼ cup canola oil
¾ cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon beet powder
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon beet juice

Whipped Goat Cheese

2 cups fresh goat cheese
2 ½  cups cream cheese
1 ⅓  cups heavy cream
2 cloves of garlic, minced
Salt to taste

For Assembly

1 cup toasted and chopped pistachios


For the Salt Roasted Beets

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. 
  2. Pour the salt at least 1/2 inch up the sides of a 9- by 13-inch baking dish. Spread the thyme sprigs on top of the salt. 
  3. Scrub the red and gold beets with cold water. While the beets are still wet, roll in the salt to completely coat. Evenly space out the beets on the salt bed and cover with remaining salt.
  4. Cover the baking dish in aluminum foil and roast until a paring knife easily pierces the beet with little resistance, about 1 hour. 
  5. Discard the aluminum foil and let cool in the baking dish. When the beets are cool enough to handle, peel the skins by rubbing the beets with your hands. Slice the beets into ¼ inch rounds.

For the Beet Cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Cream butter, oil, and sugar in a stand mixer. Do not work in too much air.  
  3. Add eggs and beat for a few seconds 
  4. Mix all the remaining dry ingredients together. Add to the mixer in 2 parts, scraping down the bowl in-between each addition. 
  5. Slowly add the juice. Divide the batter between 2 small sheet trays that have been greased. 
  6. Bake at 325 for 8 minutes. Let cool.
  7. Cut into rounds that are the same size as the bowl you’re using for serving.

For the Whipped Goat Cheese

  1. In a stand, beat together all the ingredients until light and fluffy. Season to taste.

Assemble & Serve

In a trifle bowl place one-eighth of the goat cheese mixture and spread to the edges of the bowl. Place a layer of the yellow beets on top then add goat cheese. Place the first cake round on top of the goat cheese. And then add more goat cheese. Place a layer of the red beets and so on until the last layer is goat cheese. Sprinkle with the pistachios.