For our last Clandestine Cake Club meeting in the Loire the theme was “guess the mystery ingredient”. Putting weird vegetables and odd spices in a cake is common place these days. Parsnips, carrots, courgettes and other unlikely things were unheard of when I started baking properly (as a grown up) in the 70’s. Nowadays there are plenty of recipes around to include something out of the ordinary.
I decided to make a cake I’ve had a hankering to bake for quite some time. It first appeared in Dom’s Bellau Kitchen blog here and he recently made it again and decorated it even more fabulously here.*
I stuck to Dom’s recipe apart from the fact that I increased the amount of apple and reduced the amount of beetroot. The theory being that I would label my cake as a chocolate beetroot cake, as I thought the beetroot might be an easy guess, leaving the apple as the “mystery ingredient”.
I was wrong! Both the beetroot and the apple were impossible to detect in the cake and nobody guessed it. It was however beautifully moist and incredibly chocolatey. I would guess that you could disguise anything with that amount of chocolate in a cake – it would be a very good contender for a murder mystery!
I didn’t quite achieve the depth of pink in the icing of Dom’s cakes, even after adding a splash of pink colouring, but it looked very pretty all the same. Definitely a cake I shall be making again.
My one tip to add to the recipe is that if you put a dinner plate under the cooling rack when you drizzle the melted chocolate over the cake, any that runs off can be spooned up and drizzled again.
There were, as always, some splendid cakes on the table at the Loire Valley CCC meeting and you can read all about that here.
I am being really cheeky this month and sending Dom’s own cake to his monthly “simply eggcellent” challenge, which this month is “cakes”! You can see the details here. Well, he asked for it really, didn’t he, n’est-ce-pas?!
*One of the original links has disappeared so, in case they both disappear, here is the recipe:
For the cake
250g plain chocolate, broken into chunks
3 large eggs
200g light muscovado (or light soft brown) sugar
100ml sunflower oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
100g self raising flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
50g ground almonds
200g raw beetroot finely grated and squeezed to remove most of the juice (reserve the juice)
200g dessert apples, finely grated
For the icing
100g icing sugar
100g cream cheese
50g plain chocolate, melted
Preheat the oven to 170C /150 fan. Prepare a large ring or Bundt tin using the method here.
Melt the plain chocolate either in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, or in a microwave.
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar and oil until smooth. Stir in the vanilla then fold in the dry ingredients.
Add the beetroot, apple and melted chocolate and fold in.
Transfer the mixture to the tin and bake for 40-60 minutes. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out carefully onto a wire rack.
Make sure the cake is completely cool before icing.
To make the icing, beat together the cream cheese and icing sugar, adding enough of the reserved beetroot juice to get a nice pink colour (or use some pink food colouring).
Pour the pink icing over the cake and when it's set drizzle with melted chocolate.
Cuts into 18-20 slices.