This was Jane’s birthday cake this year and quite a treat it turned out to be. I was trying to combine J’s favourite things into a delicious lump of sweet goodness. It’s a turned into a flavour explosion! I think it worked out rather well and has been gobbled up in double quick time.
Everytime I make a cake, Jane and I say the same thing; ‘we’ll never eat all of this’. Two days later we have an empty cake tin and smiles on our faces! This is our last blast of cake for a while as Raw Earth Month approaches, we’re going raw again but taking it to another level, more to info will follow. What a way to go out though!
Jane’s birthday was spent wandering around a beautiful local estate with champagne and a picnic under some redwoods, we then had coffee up at the local vineyard, Pant Du, and even managed to wander across to Beaumaris on Anglesey for a slap up feast with free flowing wine. Not bad for a couple of country bumpkins!
This makes a large cake (probably enough for ten slices) in the Beach House that means a day’s worth of cake! This recipe is supposed to be light, but I found it to be quite heavy, like a brownie texture. I’m sure I did something wrong, but I’m not sure what? I made it in a hectic blur of birthday preparation and was wrapping presents and whipping eggs at the same time, multi-tasking has never been a strong point of mine. Let us know if yours turns out all light a fluffy.
I served the cake with whipped cream, I thought about a chocolate ganache, but that seemed like chocolate overkill. The orange cream works out nicely, adding a touch of citrus to what is a slice of real richness.
I am not a huge fan of following elaborate baking recipes, but this was lovely J’s bday, so extra effort and focus was required. The thing about baking like this is that you end up using every bowl and utensil in the kitchen and cover every work surface with globs of ingredients and flour ends up in the strangest of places. I did enjoy making this, I loved the ingredients and got some extra special chocolate and cocoa in, working with good ingredients is always special.
I’ve used ounces here as that what the original recipe was in and I don’t have any prejudice regarding metric units etc. An ounce is an ounce, a cup a cup, a whatever a whatever. Hope it doesn’t cause any hassle.
Use any excuse to make this cake, a distant cousins birthday, the anniversary of your local post office, whatever it takes…BAKE IT!
8 ounces fresh beets, 7 ounces fine dark chocolate (70%) 125g, 2 tbs coffee liquer, 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons butter, 1 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder, 1 1/2 cup good quality cocoa powder, 1/2 cup finely diced crystallised ginger, 5 eggs, 1 cup caster sugar
To Serve – 2 cups whipped cream, 1 tbs orange zest
Lightly butter an 8-inch cake tin (spring form is good). Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line base with baking parchment if you prefer.
Cook the beets, whole and unpeeled, in boiling unsalted water. Depending on their size, they will be tender within 30 to 40 minutes. Young ones may take slightly less. Drain them, let them cool under running water, then peel them, slice off their stem and root, and process in a blender or food processor until a coarse purée.
Melt the chocolate, broken into small pieces, in a small bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Don’t stir. When the chocolate looks almost melted, cut the butter into small pieces and add to the melted chocolate, leave to soften.
Sift together the flour, baking powder and cocoa. Separate the eggs, putting the whites in a large mixing bowl. Stir the yolks together.
Now, working quickly but gently, remove the bowl of chocolate from the heat and stir until the butter has melted into the chocolate. Let sit for a few minutes, then stir in the egg yolks and coffee liqueur. Fold in the beetroot.
Whisk the egg whites until stiff, then fold in the sugar. Firmly but gently, fold the beaten egg whites and sugar into the chocolate mixture. A large metal spoon is what you want here; work in a deep, figure-eight movement but take care not to over-mix. Lastly, fold in the flour and cocoa.
Transfer quickly to the prepared cake pan and put in the oven, decreasing the heat immediately to 325 degrees F. Bake for 40 minutes. The rim of the cake will feel spongy, the inner part should still wobble a little when gently shaken. Test with a toothpick , if it is still gooey in the center, continue baking just until moist crumbs cling to the tester.
Set the cake aside to cool (it will sink a tad in the center), loosening it around the edges with a thin icing spatula after half an hour or so. It is not a good idea to remove the cake from its pan until it is completely cold.
Whip up some cream until getting thick and stiff, mix in orange zest and combine well.
In very thick slices, with lashings of whipped orange cream and poppy seeds (if you have them, we didn’t!). The more whipped cream, the better.
We Love It!
This is a dark, rich cake and has a pleasing full texture. It is dense, but still moist and certainly beats your average chocolate sponge. The beetroot adds a little earthiness and the peices of ginger are a pleasant surprise.
This is a cake with added healthy benefits, yes you’ve got your sugar and all but there is also ginger, beetroot and some wickedly dark chocolate.
Dark chocolate is just a wonderful thing, much, much better than milk or white it also boasts bags of nutritional extras. Good for the heart and brain, full of vitamins, antioxidants and minerals, it even packs a mild stimulant similar to caffeine to give you a little bump in the right direction. Eaten in moderation, dark chocolate is a real super food hero.