Friday, 14 October 2011

Beetroot purple, with chocolate cake

It scans beautifully with  the Paintbox lyrics if you remember that from your school assemblies. If not, youtube it. My favourite harvest song. Although it's a close run thing with the adaptation of We plough the fields and scatter from Godspell.

Now I should explain about the proliferation of baking posts this week. I was recently invited to a party. Kavey's birthday party. But, owing to my supreme levels of stupidity. No, really I'm not kidding. I wrote it down on the calendar as Sunday. So whilst I was happily baking my little heart out in the heat on Saturday, that was when the party was. This recipe was my second of two cakes I had planned to take, the lime drizzle from the other day being the first, and chocolate beetroot with a ganache topping being the second.

I've been thinking about adding beetroot to chocolate cake for a while now, I love it's earthy flavour, and have often wondered when I've heard other people saying that they've used it in chocolate cake, how it works - if it tastes beetrooty, or if cooking it out changes it in anyway. Well now I know. I was a bit naughty with this bake (well it was supposed to be for someone else) and bought the beetroot specially - you know me, I'd have waited until next year for it to come around in the veg box normally. Our little Greek grocers near my house sells huge cooked beetroots from a stainless steel bowl by the till so off Louise and I popped to top up on my shopping.

Because I don't use social media whilst I'm working, I often find myself in the position of favouriting tweets for later to read in hotel rooms, and this is how this bake came about, Jenny Eatwell had tweeted about it earlier in the week and it was the prompt I finally needed to try it.

When I realised what had happened with the party, I hastily turned my bakes into a Random bake of Kindness and gave half of each to Louise to take home with her. I take my thinking of others before myself very seriously I'll have you know. I also was a bit naughty and failed to mention he secret ingredient to Mark who wouldn't normally touch beetroot with a ten foot bargepole. He wolfed it down happily and I can safely say it was a hit.

I've amended Jenny's recipe slightly, as I tend to so here is what I did.



250g cooked beetroot, grated in the food processor 
125g softened butter

75g milk chocolate, broken into pieces (this should have been dark, but it makes Mark unwell so I wanted to see how it would work with milk)
300g soft dark brown sugar
3 large eggs at room temperature
225g self-raising flour (you're supposed to sift this, if anyone could find my seive that would be terrific)

a quarter of a tsp salt
50g cocoa powder (again this should be sifted... see above)


1. Pre-heat the oven to 160degC fan/gas 4. Grease and fully line a non-stick loose-bottomed tin with baking parchment. 
2.  Grate, or blitz in a food processor, the beetroot until coarsely chopped. You are definitely not looking for a puree! Set aside.
3. Place a small saucepan on the heat with some water inside and place a bowl on top, so that the water doesn't touch the bottom of the bowl. Put the chocolate pieces into the bowl and melt by allowing the water to simmer, which in turn will heat the bowl, causing the chocolate to melt. 
4.  Beat the butter, sugar and eggs and until lighter and fluffy (as it's dark soft brown sugar you're using, it won't go completely pale as though you were using caster).
5. Mix in the melted chocolate, then fold in the flour, salt and cocoa powder with a large metal spoon.
6. Finally, stir the beetroot gently into the mix. I wish I had taken a picture at this stage as the pink beetroot looked beautiful against the dark brown mixture
7. Transfer the mixture to the cake tin, flattening out the top. Bake for an hour, or until a skewer comes out with just a tiny bit of cake mix still attached.
8. Leave the cake to cool for 10 minutes in the tin, then remove from the tin and place on a cake rack to cool completely.

I didn't ice it, but any chocolate ganache/ frosting would be a lovely addition, plus you could then decorate it. Again I was a bit worried about the quantity of chocolate and Mark as I wasn't sure if it would make him poorly, but I'd just realised I'd got the date of the party wrong and was having a bit of a huff.

This is definitely on my to make again list, it was great with ice cream, and then in packed lunches for the rest of the week, and the beetroot seems to cook down in some way so that it just adds a lovely fudginess to the cake - there's no trace of vegetabliness (it's a word) whatsoever.

Jenny found lots of recipes that used vegetable oil instead of butter, so it looks like this would be a fairly easy one to make dairy free (not egg free though) if you needed or wanted to. Certainly Green and Blacks dark chocolate always used to be dairy free - I don't know if it still is.


Jenny Eatwell said...

Oh, I'm so glad you tried it out and so happy that it worked out for you (even without the party!). You know, what you did with the party date - you're not alone. That's exactly the kind of thing that would have happened to me. :)

hungryandfrozen said...

Glad to hear it all worked out in the end!

I've tried making beetroot cake before and really liked it - it does seem to disappear into the cake. This one sounds better than the recipe I've used before though, because it's got chocolate in it...

Godspell! <3mw


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