it’s been a while since my last post. not that I haven’t baked in a while, but just that I haven’t got myself to post, so much so I failed to create my blog anniversary post too. how bad is that now. bad enough to shame me. so I decided it was time I had made some progress. and it couldn’t happen without a reason as compelling enough as what baking this chocolate beet cake warranted. I wondered what the humble beetroot could impart to an otherwise ordinary chocolate cake. the festive color for one, will have you rethink the way red velvet cakes are made. and the moistness for another, will have you wanting to substitute banana mash or apple sauce with beet purée despite its color.
this recipe from Nigel Slater makes that perfect chocolate beet cake. decadent and chocolatey from the dark chocolate and cocoa, achingly moist from the beet with a color that’s oh so seductive. I call it a labour of love from the many bowls and utensils I had to work my way through, considering that I’d taken to one-bowl-no-creaming recipes for quite sometime now. there is technique to madness after all. not to mention the time that went into its preparation before revealing of its luscious batter, color and consistency. I’d also have to say this makes a rather towering cake in an 8″ springform and comes closest to those mile high pound cake recipes you find on Pinterest!
none of my beet-weary mates I’d offered this cake to could guess its secret ingredient. and when they were told of it, they still refused to believe! so if you’re skeptical that the beet might just overpower the chocolate, there is no reason for worry, trust me, this would be no acquired taste. make it to believe it!
- 240g beets, unpeeled, rinsed and scrubbed free of dirt
- 200 g bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped, 50% or 70% cacao solids
- 1/4 cup (60ml) hot espresso (or water)
- 200g butter, at room temperature, cubed
- 1 cup (135g) flour
- 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (the darkest you can find, natural or Dutch-process)
- 1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 5 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
- pinch of salt
- 1 cup (200g) superfine sugar
1. butter an 8 or 8 1/2 inch (20 cm) springform pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.
2. boil the beets in salted water with the lid askew until they’re very tender when you stick a knife in them about 45 minutes. drain then rinse the beets with cold water. when cool enough to handle, slip off the peels, cut the beets into chunks, and grind them in a food processor until you get a coarse, yet cohesive, puree. (if you don’t have a food processor, use a cheese grater.)
3. preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC).
4. in a large bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water, melt the chocolate, stirring as little as possible. once it’s nearly all melted, turn off the heat (but leave the bowl over the warm water), pour in the hot espresso and stir it once. then add the butter. press the butter pieces into the chocolate and allow them to soften without stirring.
5. sift together the flour, cocoa powder, and baking powder in a separate bowl.
6. remove the bowl of chocolate from the heat and stir until the butter is melted. let sit for a few minutes to cool, then stir the egg yolks together and briskly stir them into the melted chocolate mixture. fold in the beets.
7. in a stand mixer, or by hand, whip the egg whites until stiff. gradually fold the sugar into the whipped egg whites with a spatula, then fold them into the melted chocolate mixture, being careful not to overmix.
8. fold in the flour and cocoa powder.
9. scrape the batter into the prepared cake pan and reduce the heat of the oven to 325ºF (160ºC), and bake the cake for 40 minutes, or until the sides are just set but the center is still is just a bit wobbly. do not overbake.
let cake cool completely, then remove it from the pan.
read about David Lebovitz’ experience of baking this cake;