Yesterday was the perfect example of how a spring day in London should be. The sun was warm, the sky was bright blue and there were happy people everywhere!
Judging by the nude sunbathers in the park near our house, we could tell that everyone was just as excited about the weather as we were and ready to embrace every bit of sunshine!
The local farmers' market on New Kings Road was in full swing and bustling with people. The veggies at the organic stall were all so lush and fresh, now that the weather is just right for all things leafy. We purchased the crispest lettuce and the greenest spring onions and beans. But the highlight was the lovely little bunch of beetroot that we took home. As soon as I spotted them I started thinking about what I would do with them.
I love beetroot. There are so many uses for it. You can roast it, grate it into salad, boil it, turn it into a dip or…mix it with chocolate and make it into a cake.
‘Beetroot…in a cake!?’ I hear you say. Indeed, beetroot in a cake.
Before you dismiss the idea completely, please give me a chance to explain just how good this is.
Unlike most flourless cakes it’s not heavy at all. In fact, I would describe it as quite light. The beetroot lends a lovely natural sweetness to the cake and makes it lusciously moist. It does not dominate the flavour of the cake but rather, adds another exciting element. Just like the carrot in carrot cake, it doesn’t overshadow the other ingredients, but instead provides great texture and unique flavour.
This cake was the perfect rainy Monday night treat. Yes, I said rainy. Indeed, the weather has taken a turn, as we knew it inevitably would, but not even that spring rain could dampen our spirits as we devoured our scrumptious cake.
Chocolate and beetroot cake, Game of Thrones and great company. Sounds like the perfect rainy Monday evening to me!
Olive oil, for greasing
150g dark cooking chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
150g milk cooking chocolate
250g raw beetroot, peeled and grated
4 large eggs, preferably free range
130g caster sugar
125g ground almonds
1 teaspoon baking powder
Preheat your oven to 160˚C fan-forced. Grease a 20cm spring form pan with olive oil and line the base with non-stick baking paper.
Break up the dark chocolate and 50g of the milk chocolate and place it in a heatproof bowl. Place the bowl on top of a pot of simmering water. Melt the chocolate over the pot until it is smooth and silky. Allow this to cool slighty.
Peel and grate the beetroot and add this to the chocolate.
Separate the four eggs. Place the yolks in with the chocolate and beetroot and put the whites in a large, clean mixing bowl.
Stir the sugar, almonds and baking powder in with the chocolate, beetroot and eggs and mix until well combined. This mixture will be quite thick.
Beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks and then slowly and carefully fold them in with the other ingredients using a spatula or wooden spoon. Don’t whisk it or mix it excessively as you want the egg whites to remain airy and light.
Pour this into the prepared tin and bake for 45 minutes. To check if it’s cooked, insert a skewer. If it comes out clean, the cake is ready. If it is still a little sticky, just cook it for a bit longer.
Once cooked, allow it to cool in the tin for 15-20 minutes and then turn it out onto a wire rack or straight onto a serving dish and allow it to cool completely.
Place the remaining 100g of milk chocolate into a heatproof bowl and melt it over a simmering pot of water, as you did with the other chocolate.
Drizzle the melted chocolate over the cooled cake using a teaspoon. As you serve it, you can drizzle a little extra chocolate over each individual piece. Serve with thickened cream or natural yoghurt.
Adapted from a recipe at jamieoliver.com