Nigel Slater's Extremely Moist Chocolate Beet Cake

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Red velvet with red food coloring? No more, I say.

Red wine ... Yes

Beets ... Yes

This recipe was downright amazing, the beets lends a very moist interior to this decadent tea time treat. Baking it in a heavy bundt pan made for a crusty exterior. A winning combination.

Moreover, with a double dose of iron from the beet and dark chocolate, women all over can rejoice and enjoy guilt free. Yaay!

We've had the beets for a few days before thinking about this cake. Convinced it was going to be a winner, we went to the supermarket and bought more beets to double the recipe. Upon arriving home, we discovered we did not have enough butter nor eggs (yes.. I went with a list!) and had to go out again and get them.

Shoppers on campus was a 15 minute walk, it was disappointingly minute.. no other option at that point but to walk over to Wesbrook Village to get them from Save-On. And what a lovely trek it was... After a brisk 1 hour walk I was convinced that we burned enough calories that to negate that 1 block of butter I can now consume.

Thanks to B.J. who did everything until her arms went sore folding the batter... then I stepped in. After using 8 big metal bowls and numerous plastic prep bowls, this had better be worth the scrub in the wash.

Adapted from Nigel Slater's recipe as seen in Genius Recipes. This recipe makes 2 bundt pans. Enough to share.

480 grams - about 4 large or 5 medium fresh beets
2 tsp salt
350 grams unbleached all purpose flour
6 tbsp cocoa powder (Dutch processed or not)
2 tbsp baking powder
10 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
400 grams fine dark chocolate (70%), broken in pieces
3/4 cup - 180 mls hot espresso
400 grams butter, cut into chunks
300 grams superfine sugar
Icing sugar, to dust
Creme fraiche or vanilla ice cream, to serve

1. Cook the unpeeled beets in boiling slightly salted water till tender, about 30-45 minutes.
2. Lightly butter 2 bundt pans.

3. In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and cocoa, whisk to combine.
4. Separate the eggs, putting the whites in a large mixing bowl.
5. Beat the yolks together with a fork in a small bowl.
6. When beets are tender, drain them, and cool under running water.
7. Peel them, slice off the stem and root, and purée in a food processor until smooth.

8. Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Do not stir.
9. As soon as the chocolate looks melted, pour the hot espresso over it and stir just barely to combine.
10. Add the butter pieces to the chocolate and again, stir barely to combine, leaving the butter to melt into the chocolate.
11. Remove this bowl from the heat, stir again, and let cool for a few minutes.

12. Start whisking the egg whites until stiff.
13. To the slightly cooled chocolate mixture, add the egg yolks, beating firmly so the eggs do not 'cook'.
14. Add the puréed beet to the chocolate as well.

15. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
16. Beat in the sugar to the stiff egg whites, about 2-3 minutes.
17. Fold the egg white into the chocolate, taking care not to over mix.
18. Fold in the flour in the same way.

19. Divide the mixture between the 2 bundt pans and place in the oven in the middle rack.
20. Immediately lower the heat to 325F.
21. Bake for 40-50 minutes, switching places after risen, about 35 minutes.
22. When it passes the skewer test, remove from the oven and let almost cool in the pan before inverting into a waiting cake platter.

This cake never made it past the almost cool phase. As quickly as it was plated and dusted with icing sugar, it was devoured by all with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Chocolate and zucchini? Maybe... Should give that one a try. But for sure, this one is a keeper.

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