So let's talk about beetroot.
I have never liked the stuff. Never cooked it before. To me, it tastes so earthy it's just not a flavour that I enjoy. But -- I have always been kind of curious about baking it into a cake.
We had friends over for lunch at the weekend and I thought it would be fun to bake a cake for the grown-ups and children and see if the kiddies could spot a vegetable disguised as a sweet treat. Ha! They didn't :)
So the cake is a flourless chocolate cake made with hazelnuts making it a great gluten-free bake and my starting point for this was a recipe from the Australian Women's Weekly's Love To Bake. They adorn it with vanilla yoghurt and candied beetroot (the candied variety seemed one step too far in my beetroot journey!) As it's a solid cake (it doesn't rise to great heights), I decided to bathe mine in chocolate ganache, add some height with chocolate garnishes and give it a light shower of freeze-dried strawberries. The cake itself is very simple to make but requires a little prep and is best made the day before you're planning to serve it.
So the day before, the beetroot needs to be cooked for around 45 minutes until it's tender and then liquidised to a beautiful purple puree (see, I can compliment the beetroot for its look!) Then the chocolate and butter are melted together whilst you whisk the eggs, sugar, vanilla, ground hazelnuts and cocoa together in a separate bowl. Add them together with the beetroot puree and pour them into your baking tin. This needs to be covered with foil to be baked for around an hour. Once it's ready, it's then refrigerated overnight - or for at least three hours if you're making it the day it's to be served. I refrigerated mine in its baking tin covered with clingfilm.
Also, the night before, I made the chocolate garnishes so they would have time to set out of the fridge. I swirled circles on greaseproof papers and left them to dry.
When you're ready to prepare your cake for serving, remove it from the fridge, take it from its tin and release the greaseproof paper. I found my cake had shrunk away from the sides a little. This is all fine and it's going to be a relatively flat cake. I made my chocolate ganache as a 1:1 ratio of chocolate to cream which is a thick ganache - if you want it runnier with smaller drips, then you can use 1:2 chocolate to cream. When the ganache is ready, pour it over the surface of the cake allowing it to drip down the sides. Place your chocolate garnishes upright on the cake, holding them in place until they set a little and stand firm. Then sprinkle your freeze-dried strawberries across the top.
The beetroot gives a lovely moistness. The hazelnuts are a tasty addition in place of the flour, where I've usually used almonds in my gluten-free cakes. You definitely can't taste the beetroot in it but that's probably because it contains quite a lot of dark chocolate (which is never a bad thing in my book!)
I wouldn't say that I'm a beetroot convert. But whereas I can't eat it in a salad, I can definitely eat it disguised in a cake. That's progress. And the boys loved it too.
I think we'll be making this one again :)
Flourless Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Ganache and Freeze-Dried Strawberries
Flourless Chocolate Cake
adapted from the Australian Women's Weekly Love To Bake
- 250G BEETROOT
- 290G DARK CHOCOLATE
- 150G BUTTER
- 5 EGGS
- 3/4 TSP VANILLA
- 180G LIGHT BROWN SUGAR
- 85G GROUND HAZELNUTS (I bought whole hazelnuts and ground them in a blender)
- 3/4 TSP COCOA POWDER
- Cook the beetroot in a small pan for 45 minutes or until tender
- Grease and line a 7 inch cake tin
- When the beetroot in tender, drain and puree in a blender until smooth
- Melt the dark chocolate and butter in a saucepan over a medium heat until melted and smooth
- Whisk the eggs, vanilla, brown sugar, hazelnuts and cocoa powder in a separate bowl
- Add the chocolate mixture and beetroot and whisk to combine
- Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and cover with baking foil
- Bake the cake for around 1 hour until cooked around the edge with a slight wobble in the middle (I tested mine with a skewer that came out clean)
- When you remove it from the oven, lift up the edge of the foil to let the steam escape
- Allow to cool and then cover with clingfilm and refrigerate overnight
Chocolate Garnishes & Freeze-Dried Starwberries
- 100G DARK CHOCOLATE
- 1 TUBE OF FREEZE-DRIED STRAWBERRIES
- Melt the chocolate in the microwave until almost melted
- Remove from the microwave and stir the chocolate until completely melted and smooth
- You can either use a squeezy bottle or a teaspoon but you want to drizzle patterns on a sheet of greaseproof paper
- Allow the cool at room temperature (not in the fridge)
- My freeze-dried strawberries were little pieces and I want to create some powder too so I blitzed them in a blender to get a mix of powder and slightly larger pieces
- Place aside
- 100G DARK CHOCOLATE
- 100G DOUBLE CREAM
- Chop up the chocolate into smaller pieces and place it in a heatproof bowl
- Heat the cream in a saucepan until a few bubbles start to appear
- Pour the warmed cream over the chocolate and leave for a couple of minutes
- Mix together slowly until smooth
- Remove your cake from the fridge and place in the plate you will serve it on
- Pour the ganache over the top of your cake
- Carefully position your chocolate garnishes upright and hold them for 30 seconds until they stand firm
- Scatter the freeze-dried strawberries over the top
- Serve with cream :)