The recipe for chocolate beetroot cake in one form or another has done the rounds of many a kitchen table over the years, except mine that is. I first read about this cake in the 1990s, when it appeared in Jill Dupleix's book, New Food: from the new basics to the new classics. Versions have also appeared in books by Nigel Slater and articles by Jamie Oliver, Nigella Lawson and Martha Stewart, among others.
Curiously enough, until recently neither Jill Dupleix's New Food nor chocolate beetroot cake managed to find the way into my home – even though I enjoy Ms Dupleix's recipes, and have always been a fan of deliciously interesting vegetable-based cakes.
Truth is that chocolate beetroot cake is a cracker, particularly when it's prepared with love. I've been wanting to bake one for aeons, but beetroot is on my Peter's list of 'foods to avoid'. Given this, I was more-than-pleasantly surprised when he said 'yes' to a slice of chocolate beetroot cake at the Harvesters' Lunch at Kangaroo Valley Olives. When he went back for seconds, I knew that chocolate beetroot cake was destined to find its way onto my repertoire.
Rita Weiley, mum of Jacqueline Weiley, who runs Foodscape Tours, baked the chocolate beetroot cake for the Harvesters' Lunch. Actually, she baked two cakes for the event and just as well, because they were hugely popular on the day.
I'm happy to report that Rita has generously shared her recipe with me. The source recipe was adapted from Edgell and originally it called for canned beetroot. A fresh produce advocate, much like her daughter, Jacqueline, Rita chose to use fresh beetroot, and also opted to decorate the cake with her own recipe for chocolate sour cream icing. One thing for certain, it's a keeper. I bake my version with Aldi brand gluten free flour and macadamia oil. Peter gobbles it down, so it must be good, methinks. Thank you Rita for the recipe. xo
The cake and the baker...
CHOCOLATE BEETROOT CAKE WITH CHOCOLATE SOUR CREAM FROSTING
For the cake:
420g fresh beetroot, cooked till tender
100g dark chocolate, callets or pieces
2/3 cup macadamia oil (or vegetable oil)
3 free-range eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
13/4 cups plain (AP) flour, sifted - note, I used an Aldi brand Gluten Free flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/3 cup cocoa powder, sifted
3/4 cup raw caster sugar
To cook the beets, you can either bake or boil them until they are tender (wear gloves to peel them once they're cooked!). Puree the cooked, cooled beetroot in a food processor and set it aside.
Preheat your oven to 170 degrees C. Grease a 22-cm round springform cake tin and line the base and sides with baking parchment.
Melt the chocolate in a Pyrex bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water. Take care not to let the bowl touch the water. Remove the bowl from the heat. With a balloon whisk, stir in the macadamia oil, eggs, vanilla extract and the beetroot. Fold in the sifted dry ingredients, followed by the sugar. Stir to combine the ingredients.
Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin and bake for around 40-45 minutes until the cake is firm to touch and a skewer or cake tester inserted comes out clean. Set aside and allow the cake to cool.
For the frosting:
150g dark chocolate, callets or pieces
25g unsalted butter
1/4 cup light sour cream
2/3 cup icing sugar, sifted
Combine the chocolate and butter in a Pyrex bowl and melt over a saucepan of gently simmering water. Take care not to let the bowl touch the water. With a wooden spoon, stir in the sour cream and icing sugar, and remove the bowl from the heat. Stir until smooth, then chill the icing in the refrigerator until ready to use. Note: When you are just about ready to ice the cake, remove the frosting from the fridge and bring it to room temperature, stirring until it is a spreadable consistency. Using a palette knife, spread the icing over the top of the cake. Store the cake in an airtight container. Serves 12.
Tell me dear readers, have you ever tasted chocolate beetroot cake? What other vegetables have you used in baking cakes?
Hello. I'm Liz, a writer, cook and traveller based in Canberra, Australia.
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NB: I use Australian standard measuring cups and spoons in my recipes.