Chocolate beetroot cake

Take the cake: One way to get your beets without having to taste them, says Susi Séguret, is to hide them in cake. Photo by Susi Séguret

The chocolate beetroot cake recipe, culled from last year's SSCA cookbook, is provided courtesy of Jennifer Thomas, owner of the Montford Walk-In Bakery. A fresh take on incorporating vegetables in patisserie, it gives the effect of a red-velvet cake, without the food coloring and with only a smattering of the sugar, as beets are naturally sweet. Thankfully, the final flavor is one of chocolate and not of beets, and a delicious moisture pervades, as in a carrot cake or a zucchini bread, which also makes creative use of vegetables at the dessert table.

Ingredients:
3 1/2 ounces sweet ground chocolate (Ghirardelli cocoa and chocolate mixture)
8 ounces self-rising flour
pinch of salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
7 ounces light brown sugar (not packed)
3 1/2 ounces dark chocolate (60 percent cocoa solids) chopped into small pieces
4 1/2 ounces butter (unsalted)
9 ounces beets, precooked and pureed in a food processor
3 large eggs, whisked
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Garnishes:
Confectioner's sugar to dust
1 cup creme fraiche or whipped cream
Grated raw beet (optional)

Preparation:
Preheat oven to 350°. Butter and flour an 8-inch cake tin or 10-12 small ramekins and set aside. In a medium mixing bowl, sift flour, cinnamon and salt. Stir in the brown sugar.

In a double boiler, simmering gently, melt the chocolate pieces and butter and set aside to cool for a few minutes. In a small bowl, mix together the beet puree, whisked eggs and vanilla. In the medium mixing bowl, with the dry ingredients, add the melted chocolate/butter mixture and the beet/egg/vanilla mixture together and stir thoroughly. Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin or two-thirds of the way up each ramekin.

Bake the cake for about 40 minutes (or the ramekins about 20 minutes). A toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean. Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes and then turn out on a wire rack to cool. Serve at room temperature with a dusting of confectioner's sugar and a dollop of crème fraiche or whipped cream and optional grating of raw beet for color.

— Provided by Susi Séguret, Seasonal School of Culinary Arts: Cooking A Rainbow. Classes and books available at http://schoolofculinaryarts.org/8301.html

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