Is there such a thing as a healthy cake? I believe so and this one is a good candidate for that slot in your recipe repertoire. I got the idea for this cake from a colleague whose wife makes a chocolate and beetroot cake. Adding the blueberries and swapping the butter for oil takes it a few steps further towards a healthy treat instead of a sinful one. Consider the ingredients; dark chocolate, we all know thats good for you in small amounts due to its antioxidant qualities. Eggs – good source of protein. Blueberries – antioxidants again. Beetroot – vitamins, folates, fibre. Wholemeal flour – good carbohydrates. Even the sugar in this cake is a) a very small amount and b) its molasses sugar so its raw, unprocessed and unlike white sugar, it retains the natural minerals from the unrefined sugar cane. Am I selling it to you? Finally, replacing the solid fat content with oil also adds health brownie points.
If you’re having trouble getting your head round the idea of beetroot in a cake then consider carrot cake. Is it not the same concept? The beetroots in my veg box at this time of year, having had a frost on them, have a delightful sweetness to them as well as that distinctive earthy taste that characterizes this jewel amongst root veg. They lend themselves wonderfully to this most unusual of cakes.
200g good dark chocolate
4oz dried blueberries
10 oz grated beetroot
3 fl oz light oil
7 oz self-raising wholemeal flour
4 tbsp dark molasses sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate soda
4 large eggs
Peel and grate the beetroots. To do this, fill the sink or a big bowl with water and peel the beetroots under the water. This will help limit the spread of that vivid purple juice! To grate them use a plate and a box grater and wear rubber gloves. Next, melt the chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water. When the chocolate is almost completely melted take it off the pan as the residual heat will finish off the job. Any over-heating of the chocolate will have disastrous results, namely, it will go grainy and be of no use. Put the sugar, oil and eggs into a blender and whizz until smooth; the reason for doing it this way is that whisking is unlikely to get rid of the clumps in this type of sugar. Tip the mixture into a large bowl and sift in the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda. There will be some bran left in your sieve – pop that into the bowl, too. Gently combine with a spatula and then add the grated beetroot and blueberries. The mixture should be quite tight and ‘dry’ but if its totally unmoveable, add a few tbsp of milk or water to loosen slightly. Turn the the mixture into an 8 inch, greased and lined cake tin and bake on gas mark 4 for 30 mins but check it after 25. If the cake is risen but slightly gooey in the centre this is fine. Nothing wrong with gooey where chocolate is concerned. The top will crack slightly as this is a loose, open textured cake. When cooled, enjoy in the certain knowledge that you are eating health food!