If Red Velvet Cake had a healthy cousin, this would be her. She’s red, she’s sweet, she’s chocolatey just like her cousin but instead of being super sweet and full of food colouring she’s earthy, delicately sweet and full of dark, good for you, chocolate. Don’t get me wrong, Red Velvet Cake has a space in my heart, I love it, but sometimes you need a treat that not only tastes delicious and satisfies your sweet craving, but is actually, dare I say it, good for you. Yes, say hello to cousin Chocolate and Beetroot Cake. She’s refined sugar free, she’s gluten free, she’s dairy free and she’s delicious and oh so pretty sprinkled with pistachios and tangy raspberries (not quite sure why I’ve decided she’s a she, but I’m running with it).
My son loves, scratch that, my son is addicted to chocolate. Just like his Dad (it’s genetic Daddy claims) he can’t get enough of the good stuff. My son’s been that way ever since he was born I’m sure, although he only got his first taste at eight months (I know, so young), much to my despair. I had some chocolates in a drawer in the coffee table, nothing fancy, just little Reese cups and little George had just learnt to open it. He was being very very quite – not a good sign with children, it’s always too good to be true so it’s a good sign they are up to some form of mischief. Sure enough I look in his mouth and he’s got one in there, metal wrapping and all. I whip it away and the child acts like a drug addict who has just had his fix stolen from him! There were tears. There was yelling. I think it might have been his first toddler tantrum – wonderful milestone. Anyway, he has been hooked ever since. Now lets talk about vegetables…
My husband is not addicted to vegetables. My son is not addicted to them. Again my husband insists this is genetic even quoting some research that claims that a certain gene will make vegetables taste bitter to those with it. Jury’s out. So not only is my Chocolate and Beetroot Cake delicious it also is a perfect way to sneak a few veggies into my family’s diet. It’s not the reason I put beetroot in it and it’s not the reason I would make it, but it certainly is an added bonus!
If you’re feeling a little sceptical about the beetroot, don’t worry or fear. Think of it like a carrot cake or a chocolate and zucchini cake. Beetroot is so sweet it just adds a lovely sweetness, moistness and earthy flavour to the cake that compliments the dark chocolate. If you’ve never tried it before or even if you’re not a fan of beetroot I think you will be pleasantly surprised.
P.S. You may have a little left over chocolate glaze but this is actually the perfect homemade ‘Chocolate Ice Magic’. Just pour over cold ice cream and watch it harden. Kids love it and it doesn’t have all the sugar and other nasties that the store bought stuff has.
Chocolate and Beetroot Cake
- 300 g/10.5oz 1 cup beetroot, cooked, peeled and pureed (see note)
- 125 g/4.4oz dark chocolate I use 70 percent
- 1/4 cup oil I use olive oil but rice bran, coconut or grapeseed also work well
- 4 free-range eggs separated
- 1/3 cup golden caster sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 Tbsp cocoa powder
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 cup ground almonds
- 150 g/5.3oz chocolate finely chopped
- 1/2 cup coconut oil
- sea salt
- 1 Tbsp pistachios chopped
- 1 Tbsp freeze-dried raspberries crushed
Preheat oven to 180C/350F. Grease and line the bottom of a 20cm/8in springform pan or grease a 6-hole Texas muffin pan.
Break chocolate up into small pieces and add to a heatproof bowl. Place bowl over a saucepan with water in it, ensuring the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Heat over a medium-low heat until the chocolate melts. Remove from heat and mix though the olive oil. Set aside.
Separate the eggs. Using an electric mixer, whisk the egg whites to soft peaks.
In a large bowl mix together the egg yolks, beetroot, sugar, vanilla, cocoa powder, baking powder, chocolate and oil. Once mixed fold through the almonds.
Add approximately 1/3 of the egg whites to the mixture and mix vigorously with a wooden spoon to completely combine. This is necessary to loosen or ‘lighten’ the mixture so that the rest of the egg whites will easily fold through. Next add the rest of the egg whites and gently fold through until just combined.
Transfer to baking pan/s and bake for 35-40 min for the larger cake or 25 min for six smaller cakes or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the cake.
Remove from oven then allow to cool for 10 min in tin before turning out and allowing to cool completely on a wire rack.
While the cake is cooling, make the glaze.
Either in a small saucepan over low heat or in a heat-proof bowl in the microwave combine chocolate and coconut oil and heat until both are melted and combined.
Add a pinch of salt then allow to cool either at room temperature or in the fridge if it’s a hot day until the glaze thickens slightly but is still able to be poured over the cake.
Pour glaze over cakes (I flip them upside down if I'm using muffin pans) then sprinkle over pistachios and raspberries. Serve with a big dollop of thick Greek yoghurt, mascarpone or vanilla ice cream. Keeps for up to 3 days in an airtight container at room temperature.
To cook the beetroot preheat oven to 180C/350F. Wash and top and tail the beetroot. Place on a piece of aluminium foil and fold half the aluminium foil over the beetroot and seal to create a pouch. Place in the oven and bake for 1 hour. Remove, allow to cool enough to handle then using a butter knife, scrape off the skin. You may want to wear plastic gloves for this if you don't want your hands to turn pink. Place beetroot in a blender or processor and puree.