I had been holding on to a couple of bars of Lindt Dark Chili Chocolate, a bag of beets from the farmers market and the following recipe for chocolate beet cake for a week too long. Tonight’s sleep over with my grandchildren- ‘The Littles’ (an affectionate name given by my daughter Katie to her sister Jen’s children that stuck) – inspired me to get my baking act together and make a chocolate cake! Nigel Slater’s ‘Tender- A cook and his vegetable patch is a cook book in my collection that makes me very happy, especially the recipe title that starts with..”an extremely moist chocolate-beet cake”. I pretty much followed the directions as written with a few small tweaks, such as subbing in my favorite goat cheese frosting and serving the poppy seeds that get sprinkled on the top- on the side. I’ve been curious about making a chocolate beet cake so I did a little research on the subject and concluded that chocolate beet cakes might be similar to ones made with shredded zucchini. Considering that but wanting a chocolate cake with a definite beet flavor I decided to try coaxing as much beet flavor out of my beets as I could by first steaming and then peeling, slicing and mashing them with a potato masher before adding them to the luscious chocolate cake batter. Was it hard to dump a very generous cup of fairly coarse mashed beets into a chocolate batter? I won’t fib, yes -it kinda was! But, I was curious to have this flavor experience, so in went the mashed beets. How was the chili chocolate beet flavor? I have to say that this recipe makes a rich chocolatey deeply flavored beet cake(yummy) and spread with the goat cheese frosting- it’s one that I am happy to have in my chocolate cake repertoire.
Adapted from Tender a cook and his vegetable patch by Nigel Slater
- 8 ounces beets (250g)
- 7 ounces Dark Chili Chocolate (200g), I used Lindt Excellence Dark Chili Chocolate, infused with spicy red chili
- 4 tablespoons hot fresh made espresso
- 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (200g)
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour (135g)
- 1 heaping teaspoon baking powder
- 3 tablespoons good quality cocoa powder
- Pinch of sea salt
- 5 eggs
- 1 cup sugar (190g)
- For the Frosting
- 3 tablespoons soft goat cheese
- 2 tablespoons cream cheese
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- Poppy seeds for sprinkling on top
- Lightly butter a 9-inch springform pan and line the bottom with a round piece of parchment paper.
- Preheat the oven to 350F (180C)
- Steam the trimmed beets in a covered steamer over lightly boiling water for about 45 minutes until the tip of a knife slips in easily when pierced, let them cool, peel off the skins and mash until a coarse puree.
- Break the chocolate into small pieces and place in a small bowl set over simmering water, don't stir.
- When the chocolate is almost melted, pour in the hot espresso and stir.
- Cut the butter into small pieces and place in the warm chocolate/espresso mixture, pushing the butter down with a spoon to cover.
- Sift together the flour, baking powder, cocoa powder and salt in a small bowl.
- Separate the eggs, placing the whites in the bowl of a stand mixer, stir the yolks together in a small bowl.
- Remove the chocolate/butter mixture from the heat and stir until smooth, set aside for a few minutes to cool.
- Stir the egg yolks into the chocolate/butter mixture, fold in the beets.
- Whisk the egg whites until stiff, mix in the sugar.
- Carefully fold the egg white/sugar mixture into the chocolate mixture, being careful not to over mix and deflate the egg whites.
- Fold in the flour/cocoa mixture.
- Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and place in the oven, decrease the heat to 325F (160C).
- Bake for about 40 minutes, until the edges of the cake are firm (pulling away from the sides of the pan) and the center is still soft.
- Cool the cake on a rack, remove from the pan when cool.
- To Make the Frosting
- Cream the goat cheese, cream cheese and vanilla extract.
- Add the powdered sugar and beat until smooth.
- Spread the frosting on the cooled cake and sprinkle with poppy seeds.