|Photo by Ryan Ball (www.ryanballphotography.com), Food Styling and recipe my own.|
In this recipe, beetroot acts in the same way carrot does in a carrot cake; it adds moisture, natural sweetness and earthiness to a wonderfully gooey chocolate cake base. This cake is incredibly easy to make, and you can make it even simpler by buying pre-cooked beetroot, which is available to buy in many shops (just make sure it's plain boiled beetroot you are buying, as opposed to anything in vinegar!).
It's best made the day before you want to serve it, as it benefits from a night in the fridge, to firm up the sponge. If you're feeling adventurous, have a go at the candied beetroot too- it's sure to take your cake to the next level!
For the Cake:
300g beetroot, peel and chopped into 3cm chunks
350g dark chocolate, broken into pieces (I like 70% cocoa variety)
185g butter, cubed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
220g soft brown sugar
100g ground almonds
For the Vanilla Creme Fraiche:
360g creme fraiche
2 tbsp icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
For the Candied Beetroot:
230g caster sugar
2 small beetroots, peeled and sliced as finely as you can
1 tbsp lemon juice
1. Start with the cake. Boil your beetroot in a small pan of water until tender (around 45 mins). When cooked, blitz in a blender to create beetroot pulp.
2. Preheat oven to 160°C / 325°F. Grease a 9 inch cake tin and line with grease proof paper.
3. Put the butter and dark chocolate in a small saucepan, and melt over a low heat, stirring occasionally until smooth.
4. Meanwhile, crack the eggs into a bowl, and add the vanilla extract, soft brown sugar and ground almonds. Whisk together, then add the beetroot pulp and the melted chocolate and butter mixture. Mix well.
5. Pour the mix into your pre-prepared baking tin, and cook in the middle shelf of the oven for about 1 hour. After about 45 mins you can check it, and if the top is going too dark, just cover it with some tinfoil and continue to bake. You will know the cake is ready when the edges look cooked, and the middle still has the slightest wobble to it. Remove from the oven and allow to fully cool, before placing in the fridge for atleast 3 hours or overnight ideally. This will help to firm up the cake, and make it easier to get out of the tin.
6. For the candied beetroot, add the water and sugar to a small sauce pan and slowly heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Once it has dissolved, bring to the boil gently, and add the thinly sliced beetroot. Simmer for around 15 minutes, until the beetroot is softened and slightly translucent. Remove each slice from the pan with a fork, and lay flat on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Leave to cool. If you want to caramelise and crisp them further at this point, you can pop them in the oven at 180°C for 5-10 minutes, just keep an eye on them as they can quickly burn at this stage.
7. When you are ready to serve the cake, make the icing by beating the creme fraiche, vanilla extract and icing sugar together. Have a little taste and add more sugar or vanilla if you like. When you're happy with the flavour, simply spread on top of the cake. Top with your candied beetroot pieces, and drizzle with the reserved syrup. Voila!