I adore and am fascinated by the Great British Bake-Off. It is a cooking competition, with a prize, eliminations, challenges, and scores, and yet it's done so endearingly. There is no tense, loud noisy music signaling that time is up, instead there are lovely spans of nature: a calm lamb or bunny nibbling grass, a swan paddling about in a pond, a wildflower just being there while kind hearted music plays between their baking moments and indeed their prospective judgements.
When someone is "sent home" everyone hugs, most cry, they speak exceedingly well of each other, and if they don't, the producers have the good sense not to include it. Why have tv showcase the ehh side of humanity, when it could broadcast the best? Mr. Rogers could appear at any moment and feel at home. It causes me to wonder why so many competition shows are quite the opposite in tone and content. It gives me hope for healthy competition. And, alright in my dreams I often imagine, there I am, in the tent, creating my bakes, fully apart of it all. I may have planned a few outfits, I pause at actually purchasing a ticket.
In each section, be it breads, or biscuits (cookies) - there is a signature bake, a bake that tells a story really about each competitor, a creation that you'd taste and think, yes, this bake is so and so. This cake, would be my signature bake for cake week.
I love chocolate, it's a daily staple in some form. I am not a fan of typical cake though. Most cakes are a bit dry, overly sweet, and their frosting tends to compound the sweetness. I love rich, deep yet light cakes. A classic swiss roll is about as desserty as I get, or a good fruit/veg cake, because they tend to be moist, less sweet, and taste as though they have integrity, you can have a slice and feel good afterwards ... whats the point of indulgence if it leaves us feeling weighed down and sick?
Our son, also loves chocolate, all chocolate, dark, milk, and white, at 2.5 it's a subject he has down. I want our desserts to be items I don't have to hide from him, or question him enjoying. Food is too wonderful to do either with.
This cake has less sugar than most cereals, muffins or frankly a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. It's full of goodness without tasting like "bird food;" this is squarely decadent. You can make this grain free, and lactose free; however not dairy free as eggs remain the prime leavener.
Beetroot Date Sweetened Chocolate Cake
10 oz cooked beets, peeled and cooled (about 1.5 large beets, yet a kitchen scale is fantastic here)
10 oz dark chocolate, 72%
1/4 cup coffee/espresso
7 oz coconut oil or butter
1 cup flour - almond flour works well, as does all purpose, there are so many other ingredients its more which one works best for you
1/4 cup coco
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
6 eggs, separated
8-10 dates, pitted, soaked in hot water to soften
1/3 cup coconut sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 350
Place the coconut oil/butter in a pan, over low low heat, with the chocolate. You can use a double boiler, or just have it on the lowest heat, melt the chocolate into the fat.
In a food processor, add in the beets, coffee, egg yolks, dates, vanilla, cinnamon, coconut sugar, baking powder, and coco. Puree until the beets and dates are completely one with everything else. Add in the flour, and pulse just until the flour is combined, yet not tough.
Pour into a bowl, fold in the melted chocolate.
Whip the egg whites on high speed until just before stiff peaks, you want them to still be glossy, soft peaks.
Fold in egg whites.
Line a baking tray sheet pan with parchment paper sprayed with coconut oil, or line a 9 inch springform cake pan with greased parchment.
Pour the mixture into pan of choice. The sheet pan will take about 12-15 min to cook, and you can cut, and layer, as you wish. It is too dense with the beets and dates to roll. The cake pan/spring form pan will give you a more traditional cake, to slice with tea, and will take 45-50 min to bake.
I love this with plain, or with barely sweetened vanilla whipped cream, simply because it is so chocolatey it cuts the richness. It's also good with whipped coconut cream, which is different than coconut milk. You can find cans of coconut cream in most health food stores if dairy is not apart of your diet, simply substitute the same amount of coconut cream as you would heavy cream, chill the cans first for 2 hrs or overnight, then whip and sweeten to your liking. This keeps well for a 3 days at room temp provided its not hot hot, and will freeze and defrost well (prior to cream) if you wanted to make the cake in advance. It goes well with coffee, earl grey, and red wine, although our son loves it as is with a tall glass of water and some berries.
words by Brian Andreas (www.flyingedna.com), cake recently savored by me :-)