First of all, HAPPY NEW YEAR! And yes, this cake contains a whole lot of beetroot. It might seem mad, but it is not!
I tasted a Chocolate Beetroot cake for the first time at the Christmas market in Oxford. There was a lovely bakery serving all sorts of cakes and mulled cider. As it often happens, I could not chose between all the mouthwatering cakes, and after 5 whole minutes I was still hesitating between a lemon-poppyseed cake and a chocolate cake, so I asked the vendor’s advice. He told me to go for the chocolate cake, saying it was actually chocolate and beetroot, and he would give me the biggest slice if I was brave enough to follow his advice. I did and was nicely surprised (though I still remember the stomach ache from wolfing down the huge piece of cake).
The beetroot actually substitutes the butter , giving it a moist, sticky texture and a vibrant colour, without the fat. You can count a slice of this cake as one of your 5 a day and it is not even cheating as the cake contains 4 cooked beetroots. If you eat one slice, you’ve technically eaten half a beetroot! For those among you who hate beetroot, let me reassure you, you can’t taste it once the cake is cooked (you do taste it quite a bit in the batter though).
At the time, I thought I had to try my own version, but forgot about it until the New Year’s. I was looking for a nice cake in my Clandestine Cake Club cookbook (a gift from a colleague and the best cake book in my opinion) and while flicking through the pages, I saw a recipe for Chocolate Beetroot Cake with candied beetroot. I happened to have enough beetroot in the fridge for it, and I saw this as a sign! The recipe I am going to detail below is adapted from the original one that can be found in the book. The main change is that I used cooked beetroot rather than raw, which let to a few other changes. Also I adapted it for Thermomix use.
Ingredients: 250 g dark chocolate (min 70% cocoa solids) – 3 eggs – 200 g caster sugar – 50 g dark brown sugar – 4 tbsp honey – 1 tsp vanilla extract – 80 g plain flour – 50 g ground almonds – 1 tbsp baking powder – 1/2 tsp salt – 250 g cooked beetroot (or 4 medium ones) finely chopped, with juice- 30 ml sunflower oil – 1 tbsp rhum
1. Preheat the oven to 180 C. Grease and line a round, loose-bottomed cake tin.
2. Break up the chocolate and melt it in the bowl of the Thermomix with the sunflower oil at 50C/Speed 2 for 3-4 minutes. Remove the chocolate from the TM bowl and set aside in a bowl to cool. Quickly wash the TM bowl as you will reuse it in the next steps.
3. Mix in the eggs, caster sugar, brown sugar, honey and vanilla extract Speed 4 until it looks light and fluffy.
4. Add the flour, ground almonds and salt and fold in Speed 2/20 seconds.
5. Finally steer in the melted chocolate, chopped beetroot and rhum, Speed 2/20 seconds.
6. Pour the mixture into the tin, spread evenly and bake for 45 minutes. The cake should be firm and a skewer inserted into the centre should come out almost dry.
7. Let the cake cool down before serving, and ice if you wish to. I iced it wish a fudgy chocolate icing.