Monday, 10 February 2014

Chocolate Beetroot Cake

I have been working on my photography recently, trying to improve my composition and the overall feel of the title shots. Tricky work and like any food blogger I wanted a certain look for my blog and most importantly do the food justice.  

Last last year I joined my local camera club with the sole intention of getting a better understanding of how my camera worked. It had that nasty habit of doing exactly as it pleased - I wanted to have more control of the finished image. I had these great ideas in my head about how the finished shot should look, but I couldn't translate them into workable photos- very frustrating.  
Well I am by no means an expert but I think I am getting there, even if I still have loads to learn. My two greatest assets are my well thumbed through copy of  Plate to Pixel (love that book!) and the support of the Cavan Camera Club members. They are a very talented lot, with their expertise at my disposal, I really feel that I can crack this hobby of mine. 

One of my goals was to get my post published on foodgawker and/or Tastespotting, it is one of those things that any food blogger aspires to, well as of last week I am a contributing member to Foodgawker -well pleased. 

I digress- let's talk more about this delicious cake. It was a hit the very first time I baked it and since it has become a real favourite. I have tried other chocolate and beetroot cake recipes but for me this is a winner because it is rich and moist and really too easy to eat! The perfect Valentine cake for the whole family.

P.S. A friend of mine mentioned that I am a menace (you know who you are) with all these chocolaty treats, but surely this counts as healthy ;) If not then these equally tasty but healthier (they are in my book!!) Beetroot Chocolate Cakes might help.  

Recipe adapted from Saved by Cake by Marian Keyes

Makes either a 8"or 9" (20cm - 23cm) round cake 

250g Cooked beetroot, drained and finely grated
100g Dark chocolate (I used 74% Cocoa Solids)
125g Butter at room temperature
150g Dark sugar
150g Light brown sugar
3 Eggs
225g Self raising flour
30g Cocoa powder
Pinch of salt

Reserved beetroot juice or red food colouring
100g Icing sugar
1-2 tbsp Water
Chocolate flakes/shavings (optional)

Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas Mark 4, grease and line either a deep 8" (20cm) cake tin or a shallow 9" (23cm) round cake tin with baking paper.

Pour off the beetroot juice and reserve for colouring your icing later. Finely grate the cooked beetroot into a small bowl and set aside.
It really doesn't matter how you grate the beetroot. I don't want my children to know my secret ingredient and so I finely grate, it helps keep my secret safe.

Slowly melt the chocolate (I am an advocate of the microwave but you can melt it over a barely simmering pot of water if you prefer) although it can burn very quickly in the microwave if you're not careful.

Place the butter and the two sugars into a large bowl and beat together with an electric mixer until they are pale and fluffy, add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.

Mix the flour, cocoa powder and salt together, add to the butter mixture. Mix with the electric mixer (slowly at first) until the just combined. 

Fold in the melted chocolate and grated beetroot - the flecks of beetroot are like little jewels in the batter.

Now in my wisdom I used an 8" shallow sided tin, which was a mistake as it overflowed while baking. I should have used my 8" (20cm) deep tin or a shallow 9" (23cm) tin which would have prevented all that bother - not a total disaster though.

Bake in the preheated oven for 35-55 minutes (depending on the size of you tin). Test with a skewer to make sure the cake is cooked through - clean skewer, cooked cake. Cool in the tin on a wire rack.  

Meanwhile mix together the icing sugar and reserved beetroot juice, if the icing is too thick add a spoonful of water or vice versa.

When the cake is completely cooled, remove it from the tin and pour over the pink icing and sprinkle over the chocolate shavings.

Alternatively if you want to try something different, flip the cake over to expose the smooth flat base (works best with the 9" (23cm) cake and the top crust trimmed until it sits level), pour over the icing and sprinkle the chocolate into a stencil like this heart shaped biscuit cutter. 

Top Tip: This is a really simple way to decorate a cake, perfect if you want to make this into a birthday cake, using a numeral stencil/cutter for the age, no trickly piping needed.  

This is a rich moist cake is a real family treat in our house and yes my secret ingredient still remains a mystery.

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