Five years ago, I came across a strange combination at an organic cafe that caught my eye. It was a Beetroot and Chocolate cake. I was intrigued and had to sink my teeth into a slice. I am so glad I did, as it was one of the most heavenly delights I had ever tried. The combination of sweet earthy beetroots with the familiar taste of chocolate was just heavenly. I returned a week later to find that it was no longer on the menu (unfortunately not enough patrons had crazy or adventurous taste buds like me). I searched online and tried several recipes to try to replicate the creation although they never quite hit the mark.
So, I came up with my very own. And here it is, for your crazy and adventurous taste buds to delight in.
- 300 grams cooked beetroots (see method) You can also use pre-cooked beetroot from the vegetable section of the supermarket
- 85 grams dark chocolate
- 3 medium eggs
- 2 cups sugar (coconut, rapidura or brown sugar give the cake a delicious flavour, but you can use any sugar)
- 1 cup olive oil or melted butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or 1tbsp vanilla essence)
- 1/2 cup cocoa or cacao
- 200 grams almond meal
- 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder (or gluten free baking powder)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Pre heat oven to 180 degrees celsius.
- Grease and line a 20 cm spring form cake pan
- To cook the beetroots, wash thoroughly and place in a pot full of cold water. No need to peel.
- Bring the pot to the boil and cook the beets until soft when poked with a knife – approx 30 minutes though this depends on the size of the beets.
- When cooked, drain the water and run the beets under cold water and gently rub off the skins.
- Alternatively, you could use pre-cooked beetroots (available at supermarkets in the fruit and vegetable section) which saves the step of cooking. Do not use tinned beetroot.
- In a large bowl, blend the beetroots until slightly smooth but still some ‘chunks’ remaining.
- Melt the dark chocolate over a double boiler. Or, place the chopped chocolate in a bowl, cover with cling film and microwave on low for approximately 1 minute until chocolate has just melted. When you remove from the microwave, stir quickly to melt any pieces that are still solid.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar and oil.
- Slowly add the cooked beet puree , the melted chocolate and vanilla, into the egg mixture.
- Stir well to combine, but take care not to overwork the mixture.
- Sift the cocoa and add this, the almond meal, baking powder and salt to the beet batter.
- Fold until everything is combined. Again, don’t over mix the batter.
- Bake for approximately 50 minutes. Please note: Dependent on the water content of the beetroots you have used, you may need to increase the cooking time to up to 1.5 hours. If the cake is not cooked at 50 minutes (skewer does not come out clean) return to oven and keep cooking, checking at 10 minute intervals.
- Cake is ready when a tooth pick or skewer inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. Baking time may vary depending on the pan and oven you are using.
- Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the pan.
- Tip: Reserve the water that you cooked the beetroots in (it will be bright red!) and re-use to cook rice, lentils etc (it will turn rice a lovely fun red colour).
While the cake is baking, work on the frosting. Below is our recipe for a delicious cream cheese frosting, but it also works well with any chocolate ganache recipe.
FOR THE ICING
- 1 cup cream or full fat yoghurt
- 1 cup of softened cream cheese
- ½ cup icing sugar or honey
- Plain chocolate bar for chocolate shaving decorations
- Place the cream in a bowl and whip to soft peaks.
- Add the icing sugar and cream cheese and beat until combined (Add more or less sugar until the desired taste).
- You can also use variations of this icing, by adding 1/2 cup cocoa or half a cooked blended beetroot.
- Using a potato peeler, hold the chocolate bar in one hand and use the peeler to shave off curls of chocolate. Sprinkle these on top of the cake to decorate.