Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Chocolate Cake with Beetroot, and Coconut Fudge Icing (Wheat and Dairy Free)

Happy 250th blog post! I can't believe I've written so many blogs.

And for this joyous occasion, I present to you my future sister-in-law's birthday cake! A dairy free chocolate extravaganza with a secret ingredient: beetroot.

(In fact, what she actually asked for was a chocolate cake with beetroot and avocado, but I thought adding one weird ingredient would be enough for my conservative tastebuds, and those of my family.)

I know what you're thinking: beetroot? In a cake?! I thought the same thing when she asked me to make one of these for her birthday. But, d'you know what, it's actually way nicer than it sounds.

I hate beetroot. So much. I cannot stand how it tastes or smells. So the thought of putting it into a cake which I would most likely be eating was, at first, abominable. However, having tried it, it's actually nowhere as bad as one might think. It just makes the chocolate taste darker, earthier, and a little more bitter.

I mixed the beetroot with a little carrot to take the edge off. If you like the taste of beetroot, you could use all beetroot.

The icing turned out really well also! I adapted my dairy-free truffles recipe from a few years ago to make a vegan ganache that I could make into a fudge icing. I also made a dairy-ful version when I made a well-done-for-finishing-college-without-killing-everyone cake for my colleagues for the last day of classes last week (I'll be sharing that recipe in a few days when I've written it up.

If one didn't add any water to adjust the texture of the icing, you could easily make some delicious dairy-free chocolate fudge with it too: it has just the right level of density and richness to make a nice sweet.

For two round 8 inch (20 centimetre) sandwich cakes:
  • 2 ounces (55 grammes) cocoa powder
  • 6 ounces (170 grammes) white spelt flour
  • 2 teaspoons (10 millilitres) baking powder
  • 4 ounces (115 grammes) caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon (5 millilitres) ground mixed spice
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 4 ounces (115 grammes) sunflower oil
  • 2 ounces (55 grammes) brown sugar
  • 4 ounces (115 grammes) finely grated raw carrot
  • 4 ounces (115 grammes) finely grated raw beetroot.You can adjust the ratio of carrot and beetroot to your taste, just make sure you have 8 ounces (225 grammes) of grated raw vegetable in total

For the dairy free chocolate icing,
  • 8 ounces (225 grammes) dairy free dark chocolate, such as cooking chocolate
  • 2 ounces (55 grammes) coconut oil
  • 3 ounces (85 grammes) golden syrup, or honey
  • 8 ounces (225 grammes) icing sugar
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons (30 to 45 millilitres) water, to adjust texture
To decorate:
  • Candy coated chocolate sweets, or any other decoration of your choice


First, make the cakes.

  • Preheat oven 180ºC (350ºF, Gas Mk.4). Grease two 8 inch (20 centimetre) round sandwich tins with a little butter or margarine. 
  • In large bowl, sieve the cocoa powder, spelt flour, baking powder, spice, salt, and caster sugar. Take a spoonful of this mixture and use it to dust the tins, returning the excess to the bowl.
  • In a jug, beat together the brown sugar, sunflower oil, and eggs until fully combined. Mixing the brown sugar with the wet ingredients makes it easier to dissolve out the lumps.
  • Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the wet mixture. Mix with a spatula or wooden spoon until it is half mixed, and then add in the carrot and beetroot. Mix until completely combined and smooth.
  • Divide the mixture between the two tins and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until springy to the touch and a cocktail stick poked into the centre comes out clean.
  • Cool in the tins for about 10 minutes, then run a knife around the edges to loosen. Turn out the cakes and allow them to cool completely.
Second, make the icing.
  • In microwave proof mixing bowl, or a glass bow set over a pan of simmering water, melt together the chocolate, oil, and syrup. If using the microwave, heat in one minute intervals on the "Defrost" setting.
  • Stir well until fully melted and combined, then cool completely until it thickens.
  • Once thickened, beat the icing sugar in gradually using an electric mixer, alternating with a few teaspoons of water at a time, until you have a fudgy spreadably icing.
Finally, assemble the masterpiece.
  • Cut the domes off the cakes, and sandwich cut sides together with about a quarter of the icing. Use half to ice the top and sides, and then use the rest to pipe a border along the top and bottom edges of the cake. I used a star tip, but you can use whatever shape you like.
  • Decorate the top with the sweets, or any decoration of your choice.
Keep in an airtight container for up to two weeks, but it's best eaten within the first five days.

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