Psst! If you haven’t heard, it’s Mother’s Day (everywhere except the UK) this Sunday. If you’ve forgotten because you’re too busy enjoying Spring (un/fortunately it’s coming into Winter here in NZ) or got just too caught up with the results of the big fight, who can blame you? And if you haven’t gotten round to planning something for your dearest mommy, then I urge you to make this cake. Plus, if you’ve been a giant pain in the behind for most of your teens (I need more than 2 hands to count how long ago I was a pimply teenager!) , then, my dear friend, you MUST make this awesome cake. There isn’t a reason in the world why you shouldn’t be running to your supermarket right now to get beetroots so that you could grate them and add them to the batter you’ve already made.
I cannot emphasize how ridiculously moist and chocolately this cake is. If you use only the chocolate ganache instead of the whipped cream, then this can pass off for an ultimate chocolate fudge cake. The grated beetroot vanishes without a trace once the cake is baked and in return it lends a moist texture to the cake and enhances the chocolateyness (Did I invent a new word?) of the cocoa powder. I’m not sure how the humble root vegetable does this, but it does. If anyone knows about the food science behind this, please enlighten me. I promise, I won’t call you ‘Nerd!’. Promise.
Another reason to make this, if you’re not already convinced,- the chocolate ganache. This completes the cake. If you’re tempted to only make the cake, please don’t! This cake needs its ganache like Bert needs Ernie and Mondays need Coffee. While your cake is baking, make the ganache and I promise, promise you… it will be the icing on your cake. If pressed for time, don’t bother with whipping the cream separately, just use the ganache between the cake layers and pour it on top and chill in the freezer for the ganache to set for about 30 minutes.
Oh! But top your cake with berries and whatever you fancy before you let it set in the freezer. On my cake are strawberries, kiwiberries (aren’t they so ridiculously adorable!?) , dehydrated strawberries and blueberries, crushed pistachios and mint leaves. Can you tell? I was in a decorating/craftsy type of mood.
Chocolate Beetroot Cake with Whipped Cream & Chocolate Ganache
For the cake
- 400g /2 cups caster sugar
- 375ml / 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil (I used rice bran oil)
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 250g / 2 cups plain flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 60g / 1/2 cup cocoa powder (I used Valrhona)
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 2 cups peeled and coarsely grated raw beetroot
For the chocolate ganache
- 250 g dark chocolate, 50% cocoa solids, cut into small shards
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 160 ml / 2/3 cup cream
- pinch of sea salt salt
For the whipped cream
- 2 cups cream, at room temperature
Optional (for decoration)
- Dehydrated fruits
- Handful of crushed pistachios
- Mint leaves
1. Preheat oven to 180°C/ 350°F (convection) 160°C (fan-forced). Grease three 20cm/8inch spring form tins.
2. Peel and grate the raw beetroot. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl, mix the sugar,vegetable oil, eggs and vanilla.
4. In another large bowl, sift the plain flour, baking soda, baking powder, cocoa powder and salt making sure the cocoa powder and flour are evenly distributed.
5. Add the sifted dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Use a spatula to mix gently.
6. Add all the grated beetroot and using the spatula, mix all ingredients together.
7. Pour batter into tins and bake for 20-25 minutes (20cm/ 8 inch tins) until a inserted skewer comes out clean and when the cakes just begin to pull away from the sides of the cake pan.
8. Unmould cake/s from tin/s and completely cool before icing.
9. For the chocolate ganache, melt all the ingredients in a medium saucepan over low heat. Careful not to burn the chocolate. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
10. Using your kitchen mixer and wire whip attachment, whip cream on medium until slightly stiff peaks form. Careful not to over whip or you’ll end up with freshly ‘churned’ butter!
11. Place a cake, top side facing down,onto a cake board/ serving tray.
12. Spread 1/2 of the whipped cream on the bottom part of one cake.
13. Place the second cake onto the first. Again, the top of the cake should be pressed against the whipped cream and the flat underside should be facing you.
14. Spread the remaining whipped cream onto the second cake.
15. Place the last cake on top of the second, just like before.
16. Pour about three-quarters of the ganache slowly on the centre of the top cake tier. The ganache should drip down the sides slowly.
17. If you prefer the non-drip look, pour only half of the ganache first and add more after the first layer has set a little.
18. Top with as many berries, crushed nuts or dehydrated fruits as you like. But don’t get out of control like me!
Look at that beauty! You can have your cake and eat it if you make it for Mummy dearest for Sunday brunch/lunch. Ahhh…. the moment when your fork meets no resistance to a moist cake and slides right down to the bottom, you know you’ve met the love of your life. From that moment on, resistance is futile, my friends. Futile. Just surrender to your deepest, darkest chocolate desires.
This cake is dedicated to all mothers, without whom the world would cease to have all kinds of love and warm comfort food. Most importantly, this is dedicated to my mother- a source of inspiration and strength, more so as I grow older. And to my closest friends’ (Durga, Poorvi, Neeti, Monica and Kumari) mothers, who have taken care of me in my teens while I was at their homes hanging out, staying over or having a hangover. Happy Mother’s Day! xxoo