Mexican + Chocolate + Beets + Sage + I won a contest!

Mexican chocolate beet cake with sage- chocolate ganache

Mexican chocolate beet cake with sage- chocolate ganache

  Before we get started on this wonderful cake, I just have to say, “winner, winner, chicken dinner!!”. I won my first online contest today!! Ok its really no big deal, however it still felt awesome to win something. What did you win Mark? well I’m glad you asked! I entered a contest at Eat Boutique. I’ts really a fun and very foodie friendly place. Lots of yummy stuff and interesting accessories. I’m not just saying this because I won, and no one is paying me. Ok so what I won was a Wynad Black & White pepper pack. This pepper is very special and extra care is taken to create the best flavor possible. For those who don’t know, this pepper is sourced from a single estate in the Wynad district of Kerala, India. Wynad-Pepper_1_1024x1024   Thank you Salt Traders and Eat Boutique!

As part of the contest I had to jump through a few hoops and also list what I might use this delicious pepper for. I chose Black Pepper & Strawberry Macarons. I have really wanted to try this recipe, it sounds so fun. I will be posting the “Black pepper & Strawberry Macaron”, as soon as I get the Wynad pepper and the time.   Ok now the chocolate….. Beets This is one of the more interesting cakes I have made. I love to experiment and try new things. So in this cake I got to try a bunch of new things all at the same time. First off, the beets. Ok, so as my followers know, I recently read the book “tender”, by Nigel Slater, and wrote a review  on it (here). In this great book, Slater features beets and a recipe for a chocolate-beet cake. The beets are added to make the cake super moist and velvety. You don’t taste the beets at all by the way. I really have been wanting to try this. So I did.

Of course I couldn’t’ just follow Slater’s recipe, I had to make my own variation. Taza, for folks who don’t know make a wonderful Mexican, stone ground, chocolate. It’s my current addiction, and the chocolate I used instead of the dark chocolate Slater used.


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Mexican chocolate beet cakeI imagined the earthy  flavors from the chocolate & beets would make for a nice marriage. It really came out quite nice. Now i’m not sure if it was the Mexican chocolate or what, but this cake did not fall! I couldn’t believe it. Usually whenever I make ANY cake, Pop!, it sinks in the middle. Maybe working with bakers is rubbing off on me…..

The part of this cake that I was totally taking a chance on was the ganache. I had been reading recently and did a little research on how sage and chocolate are great together. I had the sage and took a good sniff. It was overwhelming and made me worry. I then sniffed the raw chocolate and for just a moment I could see the two flavors holding hands and singing ring around the rosy. Or maybe I have twin toddlers and I’m starting to go mad. No the flavors totally do work I thought. So….when heating the milk I tossed in some finely cut sage, which next time I will definitely grind with a mortar and pestle to a much finer consistency. I let the flavors permeate a little longer than normal then melted the bitter-sweet chocolate and finished up the ganache. Next time I will also either use milk chocolate or add some port wine to sweeten it up a bit. It was great but I like my sweets sweet.

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This cake was the best I have made to date and highly recommend that chocolate cake eaters try this recipe. Also Taza chocolate is exceptional and recommend their numerous flavors. They are also local here in Massachusetts. I love them!

Here is the cake recipe:
  • 8 ounces fresh beets
  • 7 ounces fine dark chocolate (70%)
  • 1/4 cup hot espresso
  • 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3 tablespoons good quality cocoa powder
  • 5 eggs
  • Scant 1 cup superfine sugar
  • Original topping:   Crème fraîche and poppy seeds, to serve
  • My topping:   2 tbsp sage, finely grated, 16 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine &
    16 ounces (2 cups) heavy cream
  1. Lightly butter an 8-inch springform cake pan and line the base with a round of baking parchment. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Cook the beets, whole and unpeeled, in boiling unsalted water. Depending on their size, they will be tender within 30 to 40 minutes. Young ones may take slightly less. Drain them, let them cool under running water, then peel them, slice off their stem and root, and process in a blender or food processor until a coarse purée.
  3. Melt the chocolate, broken into small pieces, in a small bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Don’t stir.
  4. When the chocolate looks almost melted, pour the hot espresso over it and stir once. Cut the butter into small pieces — the smaller the better — and add to the melted chocolate. Push the butter down under the surface of the chocolate with a spoon (as best you can) and leave to soften.
  5. Sift together the flour, baking powder and cocoa. Separate the eggs, putting the whites in a large mixing bowl. Stir the yolks together.
  6. Now, working quickly but gently, remove the bowl of chocolate from the heat and stir until the butter has melted into the chocolate. Let sit for a few minutes, then stir in the egg yolks. Do this quickly, mixing firmly and evenly so the eggs blend into the mixture. Fold in the beets. Whisk the egg whites until stiff, then fold in the sugar. Firmly but gently, fold the beaten egg whites and sugar into the chocolate mixture. A large metal spoon is what you want here; work in a deep, figure-eight movement but take care not to over-mix. Lastly, fold in the flour and cocoa.
  7. Transfer quickly to the prepared cake pan and put in the oven, decreasing the hea immediately to 325 degrees F. Bake for 40 minutes. The rim of the cake will feel spongy, the inner part should still wobble a little when gently shaken. Test with a cake tester or toothpick too — if it is still gooey in the center, continue baking just until moist crumbs cling to the tester.
  8. Set the cake aside to cool (it will sink a tad in the center), loosening it around the edges with a thin icing spatula after half an hour or so. It is not a good idea to remove the cake from its pan until it is completely cold. Serve in thick slices, with crème fraîche and poppy seeds.
  9. For sage ganache:  Place the chopped chocolate into the bowl of a food processor.
    Heat the heavy cream in a sauce pan with the sage until it begins to simmer; be careful not to allow cream to boil over. Pour the cream over the chocolate and let stand for 2 minutes. Process by pulsing several times until chocolate mixture is smooth. Use as is for glazing. If you wish to make a lighter frosting, allow it to come to room temperature, approximately 2 hours. Once at room temperature, place in the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk on high for 2 to 3 minutes.




2 thoughts on “Mexican + Chocolate + Beets + Sage + I won a contest!

  1. Love this line the best: “I then sniffed the raw chocolate and for just a moment I could see the two flavors holding hands and singing ring around the rosy.”


    Sent from my iPhone

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