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Chocolate beetroot cake with candied beetroot leaves

This delicious chocolatey masterpiece plays with flavours of beetroot, coffee and dark chocolate for a decadent treat. You won’t have to worry about there not being enough for everyone with this chocolate beetroot cake with candied beetroot leaves!

SERVES 12 // COOKING TIME 4 hours 30 min

For the cake
250 g fresh beetroot
200 g 70% dark chocolate, broken into blocks
200 g unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
4 tbsp hot espresso
5 eggs, separated
170 g flour
1 tsp baking powder
3 tbsp cocoa
190 g caster sugar
For the crème Fraiche icing
50 g butter
2 tbsp icing sugar, sifted
250 g tub crème Fraiche
For the beetroot syrup
250 ml freshly squeezed beetroot juice
200 ml caster sugar
For the candied beetroot leaves
¼ cup caster sugar
3 tbsp water
12–15 small beetroot leaves

For the cake
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease a 20 cm loose-bottomed Bundt tin.
2. Cook the fresh beetroot in unsalted water until tender. Peel.
3. In a blender, blitz the beetroot down to a rough purée.
4. Place the chocolate pieces, butter and espresso in a small bowl resting over, but not touching, a pot of simmering water. Leave it to melt, stirring constantly. Once the chocolate has melted, put it aside to cool down to room temperature.
5. Once cooled, mix in the egg yolks and puréed beetroot.
6. Sift together the flour, baking powder and cocoa. Add the flour mixture to the beetroot mixture, and mix until well combined.
7. Whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks, and then gradually add the sugar until the mixture is glossy.
8. Pour the chocolate mixture over the egg whites and fold together with a large metal spoon.
9. Transfer quickly to the prepared cake tin and place in the oven. Turn down the temperature to 160°C and bake for about 40 minutes, or until the outer rim feels spongy, but the inside still wobbles slightly.
For the crème Fraiche icing
1. Beat the butter until it becomes light and fluffy. Add the icing sugar, 1 tbsp at a time, while beating.
2. Mix in the crème Fraiche with a wooden spoon – be careful not to over-beat.
For the beetroot syrup
1. Place the beetroot juice and sugar in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the sugar has dissolved.
2. Once the sugar has dissolved, stop stirring and leave the syrup to come to a boil. Turn off the heat and set aside until the syrup has cooled completely.
For the candied beetroot leaves
1. Turn down the oven temperature to 100°C. Line a baking tray with some baking paper.
2. Place the caster sugar and water in a pot over medium heat and let the sugar dissolve.
3. Pat the leaves dry. Working one at a time, dip each beetroot leaf into the sugar syrup and then lay the leaves down on the baking paper.
4. Place in the oven and let the leaves dry out for 2–3 hours.
5. Ice the top of the cake with the crème Fraiche icing and drizzle the beetroot syrup evenly over the cake.

Recipe & styling: Diane Heierli
Photography: Christoph Heierli

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