Hurray it’s Autumn and Chocolate Week – two of my many favourite things!
As the days get shorter and we move into Autumn nothing makes me feel happier than baking a cake… it gives me than warm cosy feeling. I love to bake and always find I am experimenting with recipes and flavour combinations, some which work brilliantly and others not so successful!
With a seasonal shift to Autumn we tend to crave rich, earthy and nutty flavours and as its Chocolate Week – plus I’m a huge chocolate lover I decided to pair it with beetroot making a variation on a favourite, with a light, moist crumb.
This particular cake was inspired by a Nigel Slater recipe which I love to make and always a winner amongst friends and family alike. So I thought perhaps it’s time for a little tweak and my Chocolate Beetroot Seed Cake was born! We all know chocolate and beetroot are perfect partners and with the addition of seeds this gives a nutty flavour. It tastes no more of beetroot than a carrot cake tastes of carrots, yet it has a similarly warm earthiness to it. I wouldn’t go as far to say this is a healthy cake but no doubt one of the less indulgent bakes and less sugary than most cakes!
The first time I made this I used olive oil, which works perfectly. Make sure not to use extra virgin oil as I feel it can taste quite bitter and override the other flavours. I have used rapeseed on this occasion but I also think brazil nut would work well. Another variation I made last time, was using the grated zest of an orange and juice of half an orange, omitting the lemon juice. The orange also worked very well with the chocolate, beetroot and cinnamon, which added a warm zesty and dare I say it – Christmas note!!
My advise is have lots of fun playing around with various flavours and combinations – if anything it’s the perfect excuse to make lots of cakes! Now that makes me happy! If you fancy a little baking to lighten the soul and fill the heart with happiness – then this cake is a must to bake! Absolutely delicious.
Chocolate & Beetroot Seed Cake (serves 10)
180g self-raising flour
45g cocoa powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 heaped tsp baking powder
½ tsp ground cinnamon
180ml rapeseed oil
225g light muscovado sugar
3 eggs, separated
150g raw beetroot, grated
juice of half a lemon
75g sultanas or raisins
75g mixed seeds (sunflower & pumpkin)
Set the oven at 180C/gas mark 4. Lightly butter a loose bottom tin approximately 20-21cm lining the bottom and sides with baking parchment.
Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and cinnamon. Beat the oil and sugar in a food mixer until well creamed then introduce the beaten egg yolks one by one, reserving the whites for later.
Grate the beetroot coarsely and fold into the mixture, then add the lemon juice, raisins or sultanas and the assorted seeds. Fold the flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon and raising agents into the mixture while the machine is turning slowly.
Beat the egg whites till light and almost stiff. Fold gently but thoroughly into the mixture with a large metal spoon (a wooden one will knock the air out).
Pour the mixture into the cake tin and bake for 50-55 minutes, covering the top with a piece of foil after 30 minutes. Test with a skewer to see if done. The cake should be moist inside but not sticky.
Leave the cake to settle for a good 20 minutes before turning out of its tin on to a wire cooling rack. It stays fresh for a few days and also freezes amazingly – if it lasts!
Serve with you favourite tea or coffee, sit back, relax and enjoy the moment!
Happy Autumn baking and I promise you this combination won’t disappoint in taste – you will definitely be reaching for a second slice! If you follow me you will know how much I love to bake but don’t like things too sweet as it overwhelms the delicious flavours and I feel it just ends up tasting of sugar! So if you are a regular baker or just occasionally like to dapple, I would love to hear your thoughts and what’s your favourite bakes! Enjoy!