Special equipment: two 8-inch cake pans
For the penuche frosting: Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat and add the brown sugar. Bring to a boil, then reduce to medium-low heat and simmer for 2 minutes. Stir until the brown sugar is dissolved. Make sure to not scrape the sides of the pan. Add the half-and-half and bring to a boil for another 2 minutes. Remove from the heat to cool, 10 to 15 minutes.
Gradually add the confectioners' sugar to the butter mixture and beat with an electric mixer on medium until thick, smooth and creamy. Makes 3 to 4 cups.
For the chocolate fudge frosting: Over a double boiler or in the microwave, melt the butter. Add the chocolate chips and stir until smooth. Add the vanilla and instant coffee, if using, and stir until smooth. Makes about 3 cups.
For the chocolate beet cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease two 8-inch cake pans with vegetable oil.
In a bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda and salt. In a separate large bowl, combine the eggs, granulated sugar and 1/2 cup vegetable oil and beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until light pale yellow and fluffy.
Melt the chocolate and remaining 1/4 cup vegetable oil in a double boiler or a heatproof bowl set over (not it) a pot of simmering water.
Add the chocolate mixture to the egg mixture, and then add the beets and vanilla and mix. Slowly add the dry ingredients just until everything is incorporated. Put the batter in the prepared cake pans and bake until a tester comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes in the pans, then turn out onto cooling racks to cool completely.
Frost the cake between the layers with the penuche frosting and the outside of the cake with the chocolate fudge frosting.
This recipe was created by a contestant during a cooking competition. It has not been tested for home use.