I have been on a bit of a beetroot jag over the last few weeks. I’m not sure why, but their ruby coloured flesh and beautiful red and green stalks have captured my heart. They have an earthy and honest taste that is unique. I must confess that I am a beetroot lover from way back. While pregnant (both times) I craved beetroot and would simply eat it by itself or on a sandwich. I couldn’t get enough. I also have a profound belief that a burger is not a real burger without beetroot on it…there is just something about having beetroot juice running down your hands and arms while trying to eat a good burger that completes the experience. I also must confess that I like tinned beetroot as well as raw beetroot, I have no prejudice toward this vegetable. There has only been one time where I was put off by beetroot and that happened to be back in the seventies when I tasted home-made pickled beetroot – maybe it was the cook?
So anyway, as I said, I have had a bit of an obsession with this vegetable and I wanted to experiment. I had heard that there was a cake made with beetroot and chocolate – this seemed like an urban legend – so I set out to try and discover it. I was extremely surprised at the amount of beetroot cakes out there. So, after reading a few recipes (and their reviews) I attempted my own. I must say that I was pleasantly surprised. My first taste of this Chocolate and Beetroot cake was an “OMG” moment. The mousse-like texture and rich velvety chocolate were divine. I was enraptured! Even my husband and two boys where amazed and couldn’t get enough of it. It was the type of cake that you can’t stop thinking about even the next day.
So here is the recipe!
50gms Brown Sugar
1 tbls Butter
200gm Fresh Beetroot, peeled and finely grated
400gm Dark Chocolate (70% Cocoa Solids)
6 Eggs, separated
100gm Caster Sugar
100ml Pure Cream (not thickened cream)
75gm Almond Meal
100gms Dark Chocolate (70% Cocoa Solids)
75mls Thickened Cream
1 tbls Butter
Raspberries to Serve
Preheat oven to 175 degrees Celsius- (a slow oven is best for this cake so if yours is fan-forced, reduce the heat). Grease a bundt pan (or other ring shaped cake tin)
Heat a frypan and melt butter. Add brown sugar and grated beetroot. Stir over medium heat for 10-15 minutes or until beetroot is cooked and has a soft, caramelised texture. Set aside.
Break chocolate into small pieces and put into a heat-proof bowl. Sit the bowl over a saucapan of simmering water and melt chocolate until smooth and glossy. Set aside.
Using an electric mixer, whisk egg yolks and half of the caster sugar for about 3 minutes until thick, pale and creamy (this could take longer depending on your mixmaster). Gently fold in the choclate mixture and then the caramelised beetroot.
Whisk egg whites in an electric mixer until soft peaks form, continue whisking while adding the remaining caster sugar. Continue to whisk until the sugar has dissolved and the egg whites are smooth and glossy.
Beat cream to soft peaks and then fold through chocolate mixture with egg whites.
Add almond meal and gently combine.
Pour into prepared tin and place tin in a roasting pan. Fill roasting pan with enough boiling water to come halfway up the side of the cake tin.
Bake for 45 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 150 degrees celcius and bake for another 30 minutes (or until cake springs back when pressed). Turn off oven and let cake cool in oven for another 20 minutes. Take out of oven and allow to cool completely before turning out.
Melt chocolate and cream in a heat-proof bowl over a pan of simmering water until smooth and glossy. Remove from heat and stir in butter.
To serve, fill the centre with raspberries and pour ganache over cake.
This cake cooks very slowly – don’t try to rush it. The first time I made this cake I had an emergency phone call and had to rush out while the cake was still in the oven (it had been in the oven for about 43 minutes) so I turned the oven off and left it in there. I was gone for about 4 hours and when I returned, the cake was perfectly cooked.