The other day I was watching a re-run of Secret Eaters (don’t laugh, it’s a guilty pleasure): There I was, stretched out on the sofa, indulging in a cheeky slice of Chocolate Beetroot Cake. Watching people stretching out on the sofa to eat… cake and get told off about it. Oh, the irony.
In this cake’s defence, it’s got vegetables in it? No, of course I’m not going to use this as a defence, because quite frankly, an occasional slice of homemade cake doesn’t need any defence. I’m a huge believer in normalism, in common-senseism and in use-your-headism. And cake is definitely part of my -ism.
A little music to get you into the cake mood?
Ah, yes. Let’s put a record on, shall we? With this cake so chocolatey, there really isn’t any other way than to listen to the soundtrack of Chocolat. Not taking no for an answer.
Now make this cake!
The truly amazing thing about this chocolatey beetroot cake? It’s so incredibly easy to make. The first step is to blend cooked beetroot with oil. If you only have raw beetroot on hand, it’s best to cook them whole in their skin (do scrub them first!) for about an hour, as the skin will slide right off when they’re tender.
The beetroot will not blend down smoothly, it will remain quite coarse, almost like grated. Just make sure you don’t have large chunks left in there! Then, mix in sugar and eggs until… Well, coarsely smooth?
Finally (yes, last step for mixing the cake batter already – told you it’s easy), combine all dry ingredients separately in a mixing bowl, then pour the beetroot mix on top and fold together into a cake batter…
… then pour it straight into a lined and greased cake pan and get it into the oven.
Now even though this cake is kept quite moist (sorry if that word offends you) by the beetroot, it’s crucial you don’t overbake it! Get yourself a food thermometer with a probe and test that cake for exact doneness – around 99°C will do the trick.
Definitely let it cool in the pan for around 10 minutes, then remove the sides of the pan. Let it cool until you can easily handle the cake, then remove it to a cooling rack to cool it completely.
If you’ve never had a go at ganache before, don’t fret. It’s actually incredibly easy! I use double cream, because delicious, but feel free to use regular whipping cream. Simply heat up the cream before boiling point, then add the chocolate and stir until melted and thick.
Let it cool for 10-15 minutes until it has thickened enough so you can spread it over the cake. I do a thinner layer first (it’s going to stir up a few crumbs on the cake’s surface), then do a thicker, decorative layer on top.
One thing I will say though: Don’t ganache the cake in advance – do it shortly before serving, then let it firm up at room temperature for around 15-30 more minutes, then serve. It is just so much more beautiful and better tasting vs refrigerated ganache! Because once the cake is ganached, you’ll need to keep it refrigerated due to the cream.
I like to sprinkle on some chocolate shavings and flakey sea salt (Maldon is a posh favourite, and it’s actually so good – I’m a frugal sea salt spender and keep a box for about a year, ha ha, so the investment is quite small).
However you decorate, this is such a fluffy, soft and beautiful cake. Even my one child who is an absolute cake hater (yes, apparently they do exist) will gladly eat this one. Make it! Then let me know how you like it. In the meantime, I’ll be over here binge-watching Secret Eaters, because apparently I’m shallow like that.
Decadent Chocolate Beetroot Cake
For the cake:
- 225 g cooked beetroot in natural juices (8oz)
- 200 ml neutral oil (1 cup)
- 3 large eggs
- 200 g sugar (1 cup)
- 180 g flour (1 1/2 cups)
- 75 g cocoa powder (3/4 cup)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom (optional, I do love the subtle spice)
For the ganache:
- 150 g double cream (2/3 cup)
- 150 g dark chocolate (5oz)
- Heat oven to 200°C (400°F) and line the bottom and lightly grease the sides of a 20cm (8 inch) springform pan.
- Blend the cooked beetroot with the oil with a stick blender (see notes for alternatives), then whisk in the eggs and sugar by hand.
- Combine flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl. Pour beetroot mix into the bowl with the flour mix and fold in using a rubber spatula until combined.
- Bake in the hot oven for 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove to a cooling rack to cool completely.
- To make the ganache, warm the cream in a saucepan until almost boiling. Take off the heat, place the chocolate in a heat-proof bowl and pour the cream on top. Stir until the chocolate has melted and the ganache is glossy. Let sit for 10 minutes, then spread over the cooled cake. For a nice finish, do a thin layer first, then add a second thick and decorative layer. Let stand at room temperature for 15-30 minutes, then serve immediately (or refrigerate for up to a day, but the cake tastes best eaten right away).
PS this one is perfect for Valentine’s Day (if you’re of the sort who believe into that kind of thing – I’m more of a believer in loving every day and, apparently, mediocre TV, but to each their own). So would my Beetroot Risotto, and also my Tiramisu Chocolate Mousse, and my Valentine’s Iced Biscuits. Did I mention I have Valentine’s-obsessed daughters? No? Well, I’d never admit to such a parental hiccup anyways 😉