Beetroot & Chocolate Cake

Serves 8

  • 250g fresh beetroot, cooked until tender in unsalted water and then peeled
  • 200g 70% dark chocolate, broken into blocks
  • 200g unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 4 tbsp hot espresso
  • 135g cake flour
  • 1 heaped tsp baking powder
  • 3 tbsp cocoa
  • 5 extra-large free range eggs, separated 
  • 190g caster sugar

Crème fraîche icing:

  • 50g butter
  • 2 tbsp sifted icing sugar
  • 250g tub crème fraîche 

1. Beat the butter until it becomes light and fluffy, and add the icing sugar 1 tbsp at a time. 

2. Add the crème fraîche and mix in with a wooden spoon. Be careful not to over-beat. 

Beetroot syrup:

  • 200ml caster sugar
  • 250ml freshly squeezed beetroot juice
  • Poppy seeds to garnish

1. Place the sugar and the beetroot juice in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over a medium heat.

2. Stir until all the sugar has dissolved. Stop stirring and leave the syrup to come to the boil. 

3. Turn off the heat and put aside until the syrup has cooled completely.  

Method:

1. Thoroughly grease a 20cm loose-bottomed bunt tin. Preheat the oven to 180C.

2. In a blender, blitz the beetroot down to a rough puree. 

3. Place the chocolate pieces, butter and espresso in a small bowl resting over, but not touching, a pot of very gently simmering water, and allow to melt.

4. Sift together the flour, baking powder and cocoa. 

5. Once the chocolate has melted, stir the ingredients to combine. Allow to cool for a few minutes, then mix in the egg yolks.

6. Now fold in the beetroot.

7. Whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks, then gradually add the sugar until the mixture is glossy

8. Pour the chocolate mixture over the egg whites and fold the 2 mixtures together with a large metal spoon. 

9. Lastly fold in flour and cocoa. Transfer quickly to the prepared cake tin and place in the preheated oven. Turn the oven temperature down to 160C. Bake for 40 minutes, or until the outer rim feels spongy, and the inside still wobbles slightly.

10. Ice the top of the cake with the crème fraîche icing , sprinkle over the poppy seeds, and evenly drizzle over the beetroot syrup. 

sparkling wine complements this dish.

To shop from a selection of South Africa’s best wines, go to wineofthemonth.co.za

Recipe Diane Heierli • Photography C&D Heierli