Monday, 1 February 2010

Chocolate Beetroot Cake



Beetroot is as mighty as vegetables come. Admittedly I spent half my life thinking it came only in pickled form as my family used to eat it with chicken liver pate and mayonnaise on an open rye sandwich. Occasionally my mother would add the same pickled stuff to salads. Otherwise I had no real conception that it existed as a vegetable until I came to the UK and saw it sold with leaves and all. Imagine my excitement!

It's still a mystery why my parents, otherwise great advocates of root vegetables in both their raw and cooked form, didn't expose me to the humble beetroot. They did an excellent job exposing me to carrot and potatoes, just not beetroot.

Endlessly versatile, beetroot I've since discovered, can be roasted with thyme and garlic, or shredded raw into winter salads. It makes a great risotto, as The Larder Lout will tell you. And beetroot works a treat in cake.

I found a recipe in the Telegraph which I tweaked slightly, reducing the sugar slightly and adding more chocolate. you can see the original here

Use raw beetroot as you would use raw carrot in a classic American carrot cake. I opted for the cooked stuff to save time on this chocolate cake; the beetroot's subtle in flavour and you'll hardly taste it with all the chocolate and cocoa in this recipe but it lends a wonderful moist texture to chocolate cakes.

Do try it, but whatever you do, steer clear of the pickled beetroot for baking and save instead for open sandwiches!

Ingredients:

250g cooked beetroot
100g dark chocolate
125g butter
250g light brown muscovado sugar (I used Billington's)
3 medium eggs
50g cocoa powder
225g self-raising flour (or the same quality of refined spelt flour with 1 tsp baking powder and 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda)
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius, Gas Mark 4. Lightly grease a 22cm cake tin

In a medium bowl weigh the diced butter and dark chocolate chopped in small pieces. Place this over simmering water in a medium saucepan and allow the butter and chocolate to melt completely. Set aside to cool.

Sift the dry ingredients into a medium bowl and stir to distribute the raising agents, cocoa powder and salt.

In a medium-large bowl place the eggs and sugar and beat until pale and mousse-like:



Blitz the beetroot:



Add half the beetroot and half the dry ingredients to the bowl with the egg and sugar and fold through 4-5 times. Add the remainder of the beetroot and dry ingredients and again fold through 4-5 times until the mixture is smooth.

Finally, pour this into the cake tin and bake on the middle oven shelf for 40-50 minutes (depending on how reliable your oven is. Mine isn't!) Insert a skewer to see if the cake is cooked through. The skewer should have no wet mixture when you remove
it. When the cake is done, allow to cool 10 minutes before removing the tin and placing on a wire rack. Allow to cool completely before icing with equal parts melted dark chocolate and butter, with a few tablespoons of icing sugar to sweeten the icing. If you fancy a fruity twist, pierce the cake all over with a skewer and drizzle creme de cassis over before icing.

16 comments:

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

You'll have to challenge your parents as to why they didn't introduce you to beetroot! I mean, surely a failing in a Weegie..? ;)

The cake looks fab, Sig - and thanks for detailing your amendments to the recipe. Most helpful, as always!

Maunika said...

Love the Cake! Looks gooey and gorgeous. Must admit I never thought of using a veg in a cake but this is perfect.

Fiona Beckett said...

Looks beautiful, Sig - I love that glossy icing. And the cassis tip sounds a good one.

shayma said...

S, that is really, really fascinating. i do adore beet a lot, but i am wondering, what does it taste like in cake? what sort of flavour does it impart? it looks beautiful, glossy, dark chocolate brown and burgundy.

Victoria said...

thanks for this post! I constantly have too much beetroot...pretty much the only thing that seems to thrive in my garden...i love it and am always looking for new ways to use it up!!!

scandilicious said...

Thanks for all your comments!

@aforkfulofspaghetti I know, what were my parents thinking? I mean they introduced me to herrings and crayfish but not the humble beetroot?!

@Maunika aww thanks, it's a nifty little trick adding beetroot or veg such as carrot/courgette to a cake

@Fiona cassis is always a winner in my books ;-) might even tempt a non-chocoholic such as yourself to try this cake...

@Shayma same here, I love beetroot in all its forms. It gives a lovely deep burgundy colour to the cake, but you really can't taste it when the cake is baked. I haven't tried it raw in cakes but will give that a whirl and let you know...

@Victoria envy you having too much beetroot! Bet it tastes fantastic straight from the garden. I guess you can add cake to your beetroot repertoire now ;-)

LexEat! said...

Of course! We do it with carrot, so why not beetroot! Makes complete sense and looks delicious!

Sophie said...

I so love the combination of chocolate & beetroot!! It is unique!!

MMMMMM,....your cake looks stunning!

Niamh said...

Lovely recipe! It looks great. Beetroot is a fantastic secret ingredient with chocolate. First came across it in Cork many years ago and was amazed :)

Anonymous said...

does the 100g chocolate and 125g butter mix go on or in the cake????

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Sarah said...

Hi Sig and Shayma - raw beetroot in a cake is fab. You don't really taste it, however the cake you make is rich and earthy, like a less sweet carrot cake. Nigel Slater does a fab version:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2007/apr/15/foodanddrink.recipes

Tho I leave out the raisins and use light olive oil instead of sunflower.

Thanks for this recipe, going to try it out tonight :) *yum*

Joe said...

Tried this the other week worked really well although I left the icing off and added 100g fresh raspberries (halved) and 75g of white chocolate broken up into little bits to the final mixture and it gave it a really nice extra flavor, I'd suggest giving it a go :-)

Recipe Geek said...

This sounds great and am cooking according to instructions ... however I am concerned about the omission of the chocolate and butter in the cake recipe ... it reads as if you use it for icing. If this is correct, I should have a great cake. If not, I will have one unhappy daughter who is quite ill ... the cake idea cheers her up.

Someone else asked the same question earlier ... no reply to it. Is the chocolate and butter for the cake or the icing?

I am building a cooking blog presently and if it turns out will be linking to you.

Recipe Geek said...

This sounds great and am cooking according to instructions ... however I am concerned about the omission of the chocolate and butter in the cake recipe ... it reads as if you use it for icing. If this is correct, I should have a great cake. If not, I will have one unhappy daughter who is quite ill ... the cake idea cheers her up.

Someone else asked the same question earlier ... no reply to it. Is the chocolate and butter for the cake or the icing?

I am building a cooking blog presently and if it turns out will be linking to you.

Melanie Jean said...

Exactly the recipe I was looking for with spelt flour. Awesome post thanks! Mel xx