Dark chocolate and beetroot cake

I’ve just pulled out the last of our beetroot crop from the garden and with smaller bulbs I decided to make a chocolate and beetroot cake; the original (& the best) red velvet cake when beetroot was used instead of red food colouring. My daughters have been quite adamant that they do not and will not eat beetroot, but I think once it is covered in chocolate, they won’t be able to resist! This recipe is adapted from Jamie Oliver’s, Epic Chocolate and Beetroot cake.

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This cake is dense and rich and the beetroot is definitely not overpowering. It’s a decadent, chocolatey, earthy and dare I say sensual cake. It would be perfect for Valentine’s Day. It’s also gluten and dairy free.

Ingredients

  • 200 g good-quality dark chocolate
  • 160 g cooked beetroot (fresh or tinned)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 150 g golden caster sugar
  • 150 g ground almonds or almond meal
  • 1 tsp baking powder (make sure it’s made from rice flour otherwise your cake won’t be gluten free)
  • 1 tblsp good-quality cocoa powder

To decorate

  • 100 g good-quality dark chocolate
  • 1 tblsp olive oil
  • Icing sugar for dusting

If you are using fresh raw beetroot you will first need to peel and dice it before cooking. I like to peel and cut my beetroot in a water filled sink, as it stains everything including your hands, though you could always just wear gloves I guess. In a small saucepan boil the beetroot in water for thirty minutes or until the beetroot is cooked through. Let it cool slightly before pureeing or grating it in a food processor. I decided to purée my beetroot, so that my daughters couldn’t notice its texture. If you’ve got ready cooked beetroot from a tin or jar, just blitz it in a food processor.

Preheat the oven to 180c/350f. Line a 20 cm/8 in cake tin with baking paper. Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites.

In a large bowl, mix together the almond meal, sugar, baking powder and cocoa powder. Melt the dark chocolate. I melted mine in a microwave (30 sec bursts until fully melted), or you can use a double boiler. Mix the beetroot purée with the melted chocolate and then add the egg yolks. Stir it through with the rest of the dry ingredients.

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Using a stand mixer or hand held mixer whisk the egg whites until they form firm peaks. Add a couple of spoonfuls into the beetroot mix and fold it in thoroughly. Continue to add the egg whites and fold it through until it is all gone. It’s better if you fold in the egg whites rather than stirring it through as you don’t want to beat out the air from your egg whites.

Bake for 45 or 50 minutes. Let it cool completely before decorating.

Melt the dark chocolate and stir through the olive oil. Adding olive oil is a handy tip when decorating with melted chocolate. It ensures that the chocolate doesn’t harden too much and cuts nicely when you serve the cake. Drizzle it generously over the cake and finish it off with a dusting of icing sugar.

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And the girls verdict? Yummy in my tummy mummy!

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