If you haven’t yet discovered the wonderful cake combination that is beetroot and chocolate, this is the perfect introductory recipe. Try it with a dollop of crème fraîche.
200g/7oz butter, plus extra for greasing
250g/9oz cooked and peeled beetroot
200g/7oz dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
4 tbsp hot espresso
135g/5oz plain flour
1 heaped tsp baking powder
3 tbsp cocoa powder
5 free-range eggs, separated
190g/6½oz golden caster sugar
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Grease a 20cm/8in cake tin with a little butter and line the bottom of the tin with a disc of baking parchment.
Blend the beetroot in a food processor to a rough purée.
Melt the chocolate in a bowl suspended over a pan of hot water (do not allow the bottom of the bowl to touch the water), then pour in the hot coffee.
Stir in the butter in small pieces and leave to soften. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.
Meanwhile, sift the flour, baking powder and cocoa together in a bowl and set aside.
Separate the eggs. Whisk the yolks in a bowl until frothy. Stir the eggs into the chocolate and butter mixture, then fold in the beetroot.
Whisk the egg whites until still peaks form when the whisk is removed. Fold in the sugar.
Fold the sugar and egg whites into the chocolate mixture, then fold in the flour and cocoa mixture.
Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake for 40 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.
Allow to cool in the tin, then serve with crème fraîche or double cream.
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Nigel proves that the food we buy week in week out can always be exciting.