This is a recipe that baker Marianne (@mariannebakes) developed for our joint blogger’s event in Bristol recently. The cake is moist, indulgent and chocolatey, without containing huge amounts of sugar or fat! In fact, it’s totally free from refined sugars, gluten and dairy, and tastes absolutely incredible.
In addition, it’s easy to make and doesn’t require huge numbers of specialist ingredients – most of the ingredients can be bought in supermarkets or replaced with those that can.
- 225g Beetroot, red or golden – look for good quality veg
- 65g dark chocolate (dairy-free if required, approx 55% cocoa solids), cut into rough chunks
- 20g honey
- 1 tb cocoa powder
- 150g (3 medium) eggs
- 150g Biona Organic Rapadura Sugar**
- large pinch sea salt
- ½ vanilla pod, seeds scraped
- 90g ground almonds
- 35g buckwheat flour
- ¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
- large pinch ground psyllium husk (available in health food shops)*
- 250g dark chocolate (dairy-free), roughly chopped
- 60g honey
- 110g water
- small pinch sea salt
- 1 tb coconut oil
*The psyllium husk helps to bind the ingredients together and makes gluten-free bakes less fragile. If you can’t get hold of any, just omit it, as it is not totally necessary.
**Rapadura sugar (dehydrated cane juice) is a totally unrefined form of cane sugar, with a distinctive caramel flavour. If you can’t get hold of any, try coconut sugar or light muscovado sugar
- Wash the beetroot (don’t peel them!), top and tail them and cut into 2cm chunks. Place in a microwaveable bowl and add about 2 tb water. Cover with cling film and heat on full power for about 5 minutes or until just tender. Do not cook more than totally necessary, in order to preserve more nutrients.
- Tip the beetroot pieces and the water into a small liquidizer or blender, and puree until fine. Add the chocolate and let sit for a few minutes to let it melt through. Add the honey and cocoa powder and blend again until all well mixed.
- Crack the eggs and check the weight is approximately 150g (you can use any size eggs as long as you weigh the cracked quantity). Add the Rapadura sugar, pinch of salt and scraped vanilla seeds and whisk on medium-high speed using an electric hand-held mixer or stand mixer for 5 minutes, or until paler and doubled in volume.
- Sift together the ground almonds, buckwheat flour, bicarbonate of soda and ground psyllium. Make sure there are no lumps of bicarb.
- When the eggs are well whisked, use a silicone spatula to fold through the beetroot puree mixture until it is well-blended. Use a lifting motion to keep the mixing light and retain some of the air. Sprinkle the dry ingredients on top and fold again until no lumps remain.
- Let the mixture sit for 5-10 minutes while you preheat the oven to 140°C (fan setting) or 160°C (conventional). This allows the psyllium and buckwheat to properly absorb the liquid in the cake batter.
- Grease the moulds with a little flavourless oil (eg sunflower oil) or coconut oil and place them onto a metal baking tray. Scrape the rested batter gently into a piping bag or jug, snip the tip of the bag with a pair of clean scissors and fill the moulds to just below the top.
- Bake immediately in the preheated oven for around 25-30 minutes, or until the tops spring back when gently pressed, but the sponge still feels soft to the touch.
9. Keep the cakes in the silicone moulds and allow to cool on a wire rack for about 20 minutes, before chilling in the fridge or freezer until quite cold. De-mould the cakes when completely cold, as they are less breakable then. Store in the fridge until you are ready to dip in the ganache and decorate. They will keep for a good 3 days in the fridge, in a covered container.
- Heat the honey in a small saucepan over a medium heat until it boils and caramelises. This should only take a few minutes, so don’t leave it unattended – the colour will darken and the honey will smell caramelised when it is ready.
- Add the water and salt, and place the saucepan back on a low heat to dissolve the caramelised honey. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly while you melt the chocolate.
- Place the chocolate in a heat-proof bowl and melt gently over a saucepan of simmering water or in the microwave on a low heat setting for a minute at a time. Stir occasionally during melting.
- Add a third of the chocolate to the hot water and stir gently with a balloon whisk to blend. Add the next third and stir again, then add the last bit of chocolate and blend until just incorporated. Finally, add the coconut oil and blend using a stick blender until completely smooth (about 20 seconds). If you don’t have a stick blender, just use the whisk again. Tap the bowl to release air bubbles to the top.
- Remove the cakes from the fridge and dip top-down into the ganache. Lift out, shake off the excess and let them set on top of a wire rack. Top with edible dried petals, such as rose petals or cornflowers. Use a knife to lift the cakes from underneath when you want to move them – this prevents fingermarks from marring your beautiful glaze!
Baking Tip: Any excess ganache can be stored covered in the fridge for up to a week and makes delicious dairy-free truffles. Just roll into balls and dust with cocoa powder.