Beetroot originated in Southern Europe, and originally the leaves were preferred for eating, rather than the roots. Apparently they are good in salads, although I have never tried them myself. Like many people my main exposure to beetroot has been the tinned sort. Where would Kiwi summer dining, and burgers, be without it?
Nutritionally, beetroot contains fibre, potassium, folate and other B group vitamins, and a little iron and vitamin C. Beetroots have a high anti-oxidant value because they contain a group of red pigments known as betalains. Its crimson colouring is not seen in any other vegetables.
Beetroot is mostly available between November to April. I tried to grow some this season, but they didn’t take off. And I forgot to try the leaves. However, the other day I got given some from my father’s garden. Not really knowing what to do with them I decided I wanted to make one of those chocolate and beetroot cakes. I wanted to find a recipe where I didn’t have to cook the beetroot first.
Beetroot chocolate cake
After perusing a few versions online, I decided to modify my standard chocolate cake recipe, and came up with something I am pretty pleased with. It is dairy free, and uses coconut oil so you could say it is almost healthy.
The end result is a moist, chocolately cake with only a hint of the earthiness of beetroot in the aftertaste. The batter has a beautiful crimson hue, but once cooked you wouldn’t know there was a vegetable in it.
Ingredients and method
- 200g raw beetroot (peeled and grated)
- 2 eggs
- 1.5 cup water
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 T white vinegar (I have often used malt)
- half cup light coconut or other light vegetable oil
- 300g flour
- half cup cocoa
- 1 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp baking soda
Pre-heat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius.
Peel and grate the beetroot. This can stain your hands, so you could use those plastic catering gloves if you have them (I didn’t).
In a large bowl mix together the beetroot, eggs, coconut oil, water and vinegar. Ensure that ingredients are well combined.
In another bowl mix together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder and soda. I stir together with a fork until well combined.
Then add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients. Mix until well combined, breaking up any lumps. Pour into a greased 22 cm spring form cake tin. Bake in a pre-heated at 160 degrees Celsius for approximately 1 hour 15 minutes, until a skewer comes out mostly clean.
I syphoned off a small amount of batter and made some mini muffins for lunchboxes. Great way to sneak in another 5+ a day into their diets. Adjust the cooking time for muffins/cupcakes.
If you enjoyed cooking this beetroot chocolate cake then you might also enjoy this recipe for beetroot risotto.