Chocolate Beetroot Cake

Adapted from recipe by Nigel Slater

from Tender Vol. I

Serves 8

250g (9 oz) beetroot (approx. 2x medium sized beetroot)

200g (7 oz) butter

250g (9 oz) dark chocolate (I used Whittaker's Dark Ghana), broken into small pieces

4 tablespoons espresso

135g (5 oz) plain flour

1 heaped teaspoon baking powder

3 tablespoons cocoa

5x free-range eggs

190g (7 oz) coconut sugar

Cook whole beetroot in boiling, unsalted water until tender to the point of a knife - approximately 45 minutes depending on the size of your beetroot.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 180 degrees C (350 degrees F).  Lightly grease a 20cm (8 inch) springform or loose-bottomed cake tin, and line the base with baking paper.  Set aside.

Drain beetroot and cool under cold running water until you can handle them.  Peel the beetroot (skins will slip off easily with your fingers), remove stems and roots, roughly chop, and blitz in the food processor until you have a coarse puree.

Cut butter into chunks and add to a large bowl set over simmering water until melted.  Remove from heat, add chocolate and espresso, and stir until chocolate is melted and everything is smooth and glossy.

Separate the eggs. Put the whites in a large bowl and set aside.

Lightly whisk the egg yolks, and add them to the chocolate mixture, along with the coconut sugar and pureed beetroot.  Stir to combine.

Beat the egg whites until stiff and gently fold into the chocolate mixture.

Lastly, sift together the flour, baking powder and cocoa, and gently fold into the wet ingredients until fully combined. 

Pour into the prepared cake tin and put into the preheated oven.  Immediately turn heat down to 160 degrees C (320 degrees F).  Bake for 40 minutes, by which time the edge of the cake will be feeling spongy but the centre will still have a wobble when gently shaken.

Remove from the oven.  Set the tin on a rack and leave to cool.  Loosen around the edges with a palette knife after 30 minutes, but allow to cool completely before removing from the tin.