Kindly ignore the big crack in my cake, thank you.
Cookbook Challenge: Week 13, Love
Recipe: Moist chocolate beetroot cake
From: Nigel Slater’s Tender
Oh, it’s Valentine’s Day! And Chinese New Year! Rather aptly, this week’s theme for the Cookbook Challenge is “love” and this week I’m breaking out a Nigel Slater recipe because I love his book, Tender. and I love his writing.
This week I made a moist, chocolate beetroot cake, which also fits in with the theme because beetroots are red, and red is the colour of luuuuuuuuuuurve. Additionally, everyone loves chocolate, and any people who are non-chocolate lovers are not worth knowing (only kidding, you non-chocolate lovers! I still love you!).
The first step to making this cake is to cook some beetroots until soft. Once that is done, it’s no more difficult to put together than any other moist chocolate cake (unless you’re particularly clumsy and are at risk of staining your kitchen red!). There are some strange steps in the recipe that I didn’t quite understand – 200g of chocolate is melted in a bowl over a pot of simmering water, but the recipe specifies not to stir it. Later, once the chocolate is almost melted (but not stirred!), hot espresso is poured over, and butter is added. This is left to soften, and then it is stirred later. Why is this? Why can’t the chocolate and butter be melted together and stirred? If there’s a good reason for it, I’d like to know!
The other part that confused me is the egg whites. In the recipe, the egg whites are whipped until stiff, and then sugar is folded into the whites. This is then added into the chocolate mixture, and finally the flour is folded in. Most cake recipes have you fold in the egg whites last, so you don’t lose the air that you so carefully whipped in. In the end, I deviated from the recipe and folded my egg whites through last. But if there is a good reason for the former method, I would like to know what it is!
I don’t think my folding through the egg whites last affected my cake negatively. I also baked it for a bit longer than the recipe specified and it still seemed to come out fine, if you ignore the big ass crack. Nigel says about this cake: “This is a seductive cake, deeply moist and tempting.”
It is moist, indeed. Really, really moist. But anyone who tells you that you can’t taste the beetroot in it is a big fat liar. I didn’t think that the beetroot was “subtle or elusive”, I thought that it screamed beetroot. The cake is a very dark purple brown, unlike plain chocolate cake, and the beetroot added an earthy, tanginess to it that I was unsure about. Nevertheless, even though I didn’t think I particularly liked it, I found that I went back for another spoonful… and another… and another.
Hmmpt. Perhaps that’s why it was described as seductive. Happy Valentine’s Day everyone.
Update: I ate a piece of cake the day after I baked it, and the beetroot wasn’t as pronounced. It’s moist like a mud cake, but didn’t seem as heavy. So I’ve decided that this cake is REALLY REALLY REALLY good! In fact, I think it’s one of the best chocolate cakes I’ve ever made.
Update: see the round up at My Food Trail.
If you’d like to make this cake – check out the recipe here. PS: the cake photo on the website is NOT of the chocolate beetroot cake. It’s a beetroot seed cake in the book.