Serves 12
3 medium beets, about 10 oz (300 g) total, trimmed and peeled
3 tbsp (45 ml) lemon juice
¾ cup (175 ml) grapeseed or vegetable oil
3 large eggs
½ cup (125 ml) buttermilk
½ cup (125 ml) bourbon
1½ tsp (7.5 ml) vanilla extract, divided
2⅓ cups (575 ml) all-purpose flour
1½ cups (375 ml) granulated sugar
3 tbsp (45 ml) Dutch processed cocoa powder
½ tsp (2.5 ml) salt
2 tsp (10 ml) baking powder
½ tsp (2.5 ml) baking soda
8 oz (250 g) cream cheese, at room temperature
2 tbsp (30 ml) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup (250 ml) icing sugar
2 tbsp (30 ml) milk
Sparkling Cranberries, for garnish, recipe follows
rosemary and thyme sprigs, for garnish
½ cup (125 ml) granulated sugar, plus extra for coating
½ cup (125 ml) water
1½ cups (375 ml) fresh cranberries


  1. Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C). Oil and flour a 10-cup (2.4-L) bundt pan and set aside.
  2. Pierce beets all over with fork before wrapping each in parchment paper and microwaving on high until tender, about 8 to 10 minutes. Place beets in a blender with lemon juice and oil and purée until smooth. Add eggs, buttermilk, bourbon and ½ tsp (2.5 ml) vanilla extract and blend again until well incorporated.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Add beet mixture and whisk together until combined. Pour into prepared bundt pan and bake until a wooden skewer inserted in centre comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely at room temperature.
  4. In bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or with a handheld mixer on medium speed, beat cream cheese and butter together until very smooth. Add icing sugar, milk and remaining 1 tsp (5 ml) vanilla extract. Combine on low until smooth and creamy. Spoon icing into a piping bag or large, heavy duty, resealable plastic bag and snip off 1 corner. Pipe icing onto cake and garnish with Sparkling Cranberries and decorate with herbs.
  5. TO MAKE SPARKLING CRANBERRIES: In a small saucepan over mediumhigh heat, stir together sugar and water until simmering and sugar has dissolved. Let rapidly simmer for 1 minute. Remove saucepan from heat and allow mixture to cool until warm to touch. Stir in cranberries and thoroughly coat in sugar syrup. Let cranberries sit in syrup for 30 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer cranberries to a wire rack and allow to dry at room temperature until tacky, about 2 hours and up to overnight.
  6. Place extra sugar in a bowl, add cranberries, tossing to completely coat in sugar, using extra sugar if needed. Place sugared cranberries on parchmentlined baking sheet and let dry at room temperature for 30 minutes. Best used within a couple of hours of being made. Makes 1½ cups (375 ml)
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