This month I bought Gourmet Traveller magazine and immediately wanted to make every single thing in it. So far I've managed three dishes: oven-baked Italian pork sausages with polenta, baked beans with pork spareribs and this chocolate and beetroot cake. All three dishes are well worth a mention, but this cake was AMAZING.
Chocolate and beetroot: sounds weird, right? But trust me, you won't look back. This is a flourless chocolate cake that is lifted to an impossible level of lightness when you separate and whisk the eggs. You fold in whipped cream, a little almond meal, melted chocolate and the magic that is a medium-sized fresh beetroot, finely grated. What you end up with is a very light and moist dark, dark, mossy cake that has the chocolate intensity of a brownie with a wonderfully earthy dimension, courtesy of the beetroot. It is elegant, decadent and totally surprising. And you'll (most probably) love it.
Chocolate and beetroot cake
From Gourmet Traveller 2010
I actually made this in a half quantity in a small square cake tin - it worked wonderfully, but I've included the full recipe as printed. This is a good trick if you can't get through an entire cake and want to avoid freezing. My other trick is to make the full recipe in two smaller tins and use one as a gift. Friends for life.
400g dark chocolate (somewhere around 60% cocoa)
6 eggs, separated
150g caster sugar
200g beetroot, very finely grated
100ml pouring cream, whisked to soft peaks
75g almond meal
butter, to grease tin
cocoa (preferably Dutch-process) to dust
1. Heat oven to 180C. Grease and line a 20cm square cake tin with baking paper. Your mixture will be quite runny, so make sure it is watertight!
2. Melt chocolate in a metal (or other heatproof) bowl over a pan of simmering water until smooth. Careful not burn!
3. Whisk egg yolks and 2/3 of sugar with an electric mixer until pale yellow and creamy. Add the melted chocolate and grated beetroot. Stir to combine.
4. Whisk eggwhites to soft peaks, then add remaining sugar and whisk until glossy and smooth. Fold whipped cream then eggwhite then almonds into chocolate mixture carefully.
5. Put cake tin into a larger roasting pan and pour in boiling water to come halfway up the side of the cake tin. Carefully slide the whole shebang into the oven and bake for 45 minutes on 180C, then reduce the heat to 170C and bake for another 30 minutes, or until cake springs back when lightly pressed. Turn off oven and leave the cake there for 20 minutes, then take out and cool in the pan for another 15 minutes before turning out. Take care when turning, as cake is super-moist and quite delicate. Dust with cocoa powder and serve alone, or with cream or ice-cream.