Since I made the courgette and lime cake I’ve wanted to make another ‘vegetable’ cake. I’ve made carrot cake a few times and will no doubt make it again in a couple of weeks! This time though, I decided to try chocolate and beetroot cake.
There are a few recipes for this but I went with Jamie Oliver’s version which had neither flour or butter in and a lot less sugar than some of the others. I am sure the amount of chocolate more than makes up for this though! Anyway, less chat, more baking!
- Olive oil
- Plain flour , for dusting
- 300g good-quality dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
- 250g raw beetroot
- 4 large free-range eggs
- 150g golden caster sugar
- 120g ground almonds
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 tablespoon good-quality cocoa powder
First, preheat the oven to 180C/Gas 4 then use the oil to grease a 20cm cake tin – I used a square tin but its completely up to you. Cut out some greaseproof paper for the bottom of the tin and put in place, then dust the sides of the tin with the plain flour. Alternatively I’m sure you could line the whole tin with greaseproof paper.
Take 200g of the chocolate, break into small pieces and put in a heatproof bowl. Bring a small pan with water up to a simmer and place the heatproof bowl onto the pan, ensuring that it doesn’t touch the water. Slowly melt the chocolate, stirring occasionally and once it’s done, take the bowl off the pan and leave to one side whilst you prepare some of the other ingredients.
Now this is where I went slightly off recipe as I bought cooked beetroot, rather than raw. If you use raw beetroot – makes sense as carrots are put into carrot cake raw, as was the courgette into the courgette and lime cake – peel and quarter it before grating using the food processor – this saves so much time I don’t know what I did before we got one! Put the grated beetroot into a mixing bowl.
Separate the eggs, putting the whites into one mixing bowl and the yolks into the bowl with the beetroot in. Add to this the sugar, almonds, baking powder, cocoa powder and melted chocolate and mix together well – I used my food mixer but you can do by hand. Bear in mind that the mixture is quite thick and not that easy to mix together at this point.
Using an electric hand whisk, whisk the egg whites until they are in stiff peaks then fold a quarter of these into the beetroot mixture to loosen. When this is done, fold in the rest of the egg whites but be careful not to beat out the air. I always panic when folding in egg whites as these are used in this recipe to help the cake rise so I dread mixing all the air out!
Once everything is combined, pour the mixture into your cake tin, spread it out evenly then bake for 50 minutes. To check its done you can use a skewer or my method is to stick a knife in the middle (however this will leave a bigger mark!) and if it comes out clean, its cooked. Allow the cake to cool slightly, then carefully turn it out on to a wire rack to cool completely. I was a bit concerned with mine as it didn’t seem to have risen too much – told you I panicked when folding in the egg whites!
When it was cooled, I melted the remaining chocolate in the same way as before and spread it over the top. Jamie suggests melting the remaining chocolate and serving with some natural yoghurt and a little drizzle of the melted chocolate. I was pleasantly surprised that despite the little rising, the cake was actually quite light and I couldn’t really taste the beetroot (perhaps if I had used raw it may have been different) – it was a lovely rich moist chocolate flavour. I’d definitely give this another go but might try a different recipe with flour and see how that turns out – I’ll let you know!