Saturday, August 12, 2006

A Raving Beast?

Sat 12 Aug 2006

Out there in food blog land a lot of people seem to dealing with beetroot. I, on the other hand, have been looking at them in the market and wishing I had something to do with them.

Now - I am Australian so beetroot is pretty much part of my psyche. It's not a burger if it doesn't have (pickled) beetroot and a fried egg on it, and as a child I loved the stuff so much that it ended up being strictly rationed (apparently it was high in salt, though I suspect mum was just trying to prevent the carpet turning red involuntarily).

I've never cooked with beetroot before and I came to this National Trust recipe through Daydream Delicious, who came to it via La Otra Dimension. If you can have a carrot cake, no reason why you can't have a beetroot cake, I guess.

I bought my bunch of beetroot from the market this morning, so I now have 1 large beet and 2 smaller ones to go. Plus the leaves. Larousse Gastronomique says you can eat them too, and I see no point in wasting any of the 60p I spent!

I was terrified that I would turn pretty much everything bright pink - so much so that I wore a black pinny. I thought that everything that came in contact with the beetroot juice would develop an indelible maroon tinge - so everything was plunged into water immediately I was done with it. It turns out that beetroot isn't quite that scary.

With the wonder that is a Magimix this recipe is simple to make. Take just over 100g of beetroot, trim and peel. Finely grate the beetroot (using the grating blade). Melt 75g butter with 75g of dark chocolate over some water. While waiting for it to melt, to the beetroot add 200g self raising flour, 25g cocoa powder, 1tsp of baking powder, 100g caster sugar (or, when you realise that you don't have quite as much as you thought, make up the remainder with demerara sugar) and a pinch of salt. Whizzy up until combined. Then add the chocolate and butter mixture and 2 eggs.

Your oven will have been preheated to 180C, and you'll have greased a loaf tin (2lb/1kg). The mixture was incredibly thick and mousse like, so spoon it into the tin and make an effort at flattening off the top. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean (mine actually took more like 45 minutes - so keep an eye on it).

Walk in the park. Nothing ended up pink - not even me! The mixture prior to cooking tastes great - not as sweet as a normal cake, but incredibly rich and mousse like. I found the raw beetroot unbelievably aromatic. The smell once I'd grated it was amazing - I'm not entirely sure I can describe it, but it has a dry, dusty, earthy, but at the same time, floral smell, that made me think of summer - hot, dry soil in the garden.

Taste wise - the cake is delicious. Unfortunately, I think I rather overcooked the cake by about 5 minutes. Although it wasn't as moist as I was expecting it was still more than edible, though it probably won't keep particularly well (not that that's ever a problem). I didn't bother with icing (even though I'd planned to make a cocoa and butter topping) - it's a very handsome cake and it rose very well. I'll definitely be making this one again!

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Blogger Bonnie said...

Ah this looks gorgeous! I'm glad it worked out well for you!
I think I'm definately going to be using a loaf tin next time round, to get a fluffier, more moist cake.

11:59 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

sounds like a really good idea, i am going to surprise the wife this weekend with it

12:17 am  

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