23 November 2010 § 3 Comments
I’m a bit wary of beets (or beetroot for those Brits reading over there) – I love the earthy flavor but I don’t like the way their dye gets everywhere, over clothes, hands and stains other food, beets make me feel a bit Lady Macbeth…”Out, damned spot!” They also need a significant cooking time, and that means preplanning.
I bought these beauties at the Montclair Farmers’ Market. I was looking for inspiration in Tender Volume 1 (my vegetable bible) as I worship at the temple of Nigel (Slater) and was intrigued by his recipe for Chocolate and Beetroot Cake…what a revelation. This is a deviation to the original recipe which called for espresso and purple beets. However I was not going to risk getting The Ladies™ caffeinated before bedtime. Four-year olds revved up on coffee will only end in tears. I used golden beets which were fine but I think purple ones would have made the cake even richer.
This cake was a big hit with both the grown-ups and the kids, I actually had to hide the cake (with the hidden vegetables in it) from The Ladies™ and their friends to stop it all being devoured. Served with crème fraîche, this was one delicious cake. A few warnings though – it is a bit of work – with several steps involved, and a fair bit of washing-up, definitely not a one bowl cake, and it is also highly addictive.
Beets 1/2 lb – yellow or purple
1 bar of dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids) – I used Ghiradelli
7 oz organic butter
5 oz plain flour
1 heaped teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons good quality cocoa powder
5 oz brown sugar
Crème fraîche, to serve
Lightly butter a 8″ loose-bottomed cake tin. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Boil the beets, whole and unpeeled in unsalted water until knife-point tender. Depending on their size this will be about 30-40 minutes. Drain and let cool under running water, peel them and mush them with food processor to a rough purée.
Break chocolate bar in small pieces and melt in a bowl over a pan of simmering water. Don’t stir. When it looks almost melted add the chopped butter (the smaller the pieces the better) to the melted chocolate.
Sift together the flour, baking powder and cocoa. Separate the eggs, putting the whites in a large mixing bowl. Stir the yolks together.
Working quickly but gently, remove the bowl of chocolate from the heat and stir until the butter has melted into the chocolate. Let cool for a few minutes then add the egg yolks. Do this quickly so the eggs blend in evenly. Fold in the beets. Whisk the eggs until stiff, then fold in the sugar. Fold the beaten egg whites and sugar into the chocolate mixture. Lastly fold in the flour and cake. Do no over-mix.
Transfer quickly to the cake tin and put in the over, turning down the heat immediately to 320°F. Bake for 40 minutes. The rim of the cake will feel spongy, the inner part should wobble a little when gently shaken.
Leave to cool (the center will sink a bit), loosening it around the edges with a palette knife after an hour or so. Wait (if you can) until the cake is completely cold before removing from its tin.