23 November 2011

Chocolate Beet Cake

My first experience with chocolate beet cake was at a potluck earlier this year when Chris and I went to our CSA farm for a day of cider pressing. It was pretty exquisite, but it was much more a chocolate cake that incidentally had beets in it than a chocolate beet cake. The recipe that I found for making it at home, however, is more the latter. This is a beet cake that has some lovely chocolatey-ness to it, and I love it.

An additional note now that I've made this recipe again: I found that the cake is very different depending on how you make the puree. Boiling gives a much less pronounced beet flavor. This was probably obvious if I had thought on it, but I hadn't until it smacked me in the face. That said, I found boiling to be even easier than roasting and definitely shorter, so it's a bit of a toss up as to which I prefer.

So, without further ado, here's the recipe.

Chocolate Beet Cake
makes a two-layer 9-inch cake
adapted from Tiger in a Jar

1/2 cup oil (or butter)
1 cup packed light brown sugar
3 large eggs

4 (1 ounce) squares semisweet chocolate
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1 pound (~2 cups) beet puree*
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ounce liquor of choice (I used whiskey)

10 ounces (2 to 2-1/2 cups) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

confectioner's sugar or frosting (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 375°F and grease two 9-inch cake pans

2. In a large mixing bowl, mix together (or cream if using butter) oil and brown sugar; then add eggs and mix well

3. In a medium mixing bowl (or double boiler) melt chocolate and 1/4 cup butter and stir until smooth

4. Cool the chocolate slightly before adding beets, vanilla and liquor

5. Add the beet mix to the butter/sugar/egg mix and blend thoroughly (this apparently may appear separated, but I didn't have such an issue)

6. Sift together flour, soda, and salt before adding to the wet ingredients and stirring until smooth

7. Pour one-half the batter into each cake pan and bake for 20-30 minutes

8. Cool in pan for at least 10 minutes before removing to wire rack to cool completely

9. Dust with confectioner's sugar or frost and serve

*If you've not made beet puree before, it's very simple. You can either just boil the beets until they're soft, skin them and put them in the blender with a bit of water, or you can skin them, roast them with a bit of water then pour all that in the blend and puree it. It does take about an hour to roast them versus about 30 minutes to boil, but still easy-peasy. And cooked beets (either way) or beet puree freezes just fine.

12 November 2011

Guy Fawkes Day Cake

I haven't the slightest idea why Brits traditionally have a ginger cake for Guy Fawkes Day, but when Chris and I were looking at gingerbread recipes, we came across this one and saw that it wasn't too sweet and it had molasses in it (double score!). We even made it almost on time (Guy Fawkes Day was a week ago). Now, we did indeed made it according to the recipe in the book, substituting only lemon vodka (homemade) for the zest and upping the amount of ginger, but we weren't told to absolutely not use just blackstrap molasses. Which you shouldn't, as we found out. We also decided we really did miss the egg. So here's the slightly revised recipe.

Guy Fawkes Day Cake (Parkins Cake)
adapted from Joy of Cooking
1-8" round cake

1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter, melted
2/3 cup molasses (NOT blackstrap); alternatively, 1/3 cup molasses (can be blackstrap) + 1/3 cup honey
1 egg
1 teaspoon lemon vodka or lemon zest

5 ounces (1 cup) flour
2-5/8 ounces (~2/3 cup) rolled oats
1 tablespoon sugar
1 to 2 teaspoons ground ginger (according to personal preference)
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

2/3 cup milk

1. Preheat oven to 350°F and grease an 8-inch cake pan

2. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, mix the melted butter and the molasses (and honey, if you're doing half and half), then beat in the egg and lemon zest

3. In a separate, large mixing bowl, mix together the dry ingredients

4. To the dry ingredients, add 1/2 the butter mixture and stir until the mixture is uniformly moist, then add half the milk, stir, the other half of the butter mixture, stir again, and finally the last half of the milk and stir until thoroughly mixed

5. Pour into the greased cake pan, and bake 20-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean