Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Chocolate beetroot Cake

By nature I am an extremely maternal creature. At the age of seventeen I was a nanny to four children under the age of seven. At sixteen I always preferred to host dinner parties instead of getting drunk in the park with the other kids. I can cook (as I'm sure you have guessed by reading this blog), sew, budget, host the perfect party, and adore having house guests. It's only natural to presume then that I would make a good little house wife. I have been told this a lot. By friends mockingly, by men adoringly, and secretly, deep down I can't wait to have some children and start decorating a home.

Contradicting this however, I am also extremely creative, flighty, and have a lot of trouble settling down. I haven't lived in the same house for more than eight months in the last four years and am continually looking for new ways to grow and evolve. As happy as the whole 'picket fence' ideal is beautiful and one I do still aspire to, there are days, no let's be honest, there are months, when all I want to do is focus on my career, paint, go out dancing, take a lover, drink wine, be someone's muse, talk on the phone all night, and be slightly unconventional.

What I am trying to say, as always, can be better described in food than in words.

A couple of weeks ago I made a chocolate cake to take to a friend's house for dinner. It was a very different recipe with some unusual ingredients, which I didn't tell them about. When we were half way through dessert I asked them what they thought of the cake. "It was delicious" they said, which was true, as it was one of the most moist chocolate cakes I have ever cooked. Only then did I reveal to them that the core ingredient to this cake was beetroot.

You boil beetroots for a couple of hours, mash it up and add it to the cake batter. Not only does it keep the cake amazingly moist, it also gives it this beautiful sweet flavour with a slightly red tinge. It's amazing.

So what I learnt is this...life isn't always what it seems. Sometimes it's unconventional. Sometimes a chocolate cake isn't just a chocolate cake, and this doesn't make it wrong...it just makes it sweeter. So this week I'm learning to accept the beetroot in my cake, or something like that. Either way you have to try this recipe because it's delicious.

Chocolate Beetroot Cake
What you will need:
  • 85g dark chocolate, melted
  • 3 eggs
  • 300g sugar
  • 240ml vegetable oil
  • 300g cooked beetroot
  • one tsp vanilla essence
  • 30g cocoa powder
  • 200g plain flour
  • one and a half tsp baking soda
  • Quarter teaspoon of salt
What to do:

  1. The beetroot takes the longest to cook. Usually about three large beets are enough. Peel and cut them into small pieces and simmer on low heat until all the water evaporates and you are left with just soft beetroot. You can always add more water if the water evaporates away but you don't want to just boil them and drain them or they will be too soggy. It may take a few hours so start this well in advance. Once they have cooled blitz them in a food processor until fine, or use a masher to make them into a paste. Let it cool down completely.
  2. Whisk together the eggs, sugar and oil. Add the beetroot puree and melted chocolate. Mix until just combined.
  3. Sift in the dry ingredients and fold through until just combined. You don't want to overwork the batter...because cakes hate this. There are complicated reasons for this such as the gluten in the flour stretching and making the cake less soft etc etc but really all you need to know is...the cake doesn't like to be mixed too much.
  4. Pour cake mix into a greased and lined cake tin and bake at 180 for 30 to 40 minutes or until cooked, you will be able to tell.
  5. If you want to make an icing, melt together equal parts chocolate and cream and let cool. Then pour it over the cake.
  6. Enjoy.

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