Two days ago I found a lone beet languishing in the fridge. I vaguely remembered a beet-chocolate cake I had seen @ Fatfree Vegan Kitchen. Susan’s recipe uses cocoa powder and cinnamon. No butter. No oil. No eggs.
Chocolate cake sounded great, plus I wanted to try out the silicone mini-bundt molds from Target. I created this recipe as I went along and it ended up with melted chocolate, orange and nutmeg.
This month’s Heart of the Matter hosted @ Lucullian Delights calls for Slimmer Recipes. ‘Slimming’ as in ‘helping you lose weight’, the announcement says. Lose weight where? The waistline? The pocket book? It doesn’t specify, so I’m free to exercise my interpretive licence. Jai and I exercise and are trying to pay attention to nutrition. This cake certainly makes our conscience weigh less. So there you have it, a guilt-slimming chocolate cake. This one’s for you, Ilva.
I’m not in the ‘losing weight makes you fit’ camp. Weight loss is not synonymous with fat loss. It’s replacing fat with muscle that makes you fit and that process may actually make you heavier.
I’m at 118 lbs (53.6 kg) right now, with a body fat of 24%. That puts me in the ‘normal’ range for my height. When I am really fit (in the ‘athletic’ range) , I usually register around 19% body fat and weigh in the 125 lbs range. That means I need to replace 5% of fat with muscle and since muscle weighs more than fat, I need to gain a few pounds of weight, mainly through exercise. When I stop lifting weights, I start going below 123 lbs. That’s when I experience muscle loss (and fat gain).
You can tell I’ve been using my Inner Scan Body Composition Monitor. They didn’t pay me to say this, but it’s an awesome piece of equipment that helps you analyse a whole range of fitness parameters (like bone mass, metabolic age and visceral fat) that tells a more complete story than a weighing scale.
And think about this. Cocoa powder is much lower in fat than chocolate since it doesn’t have all that cocoa butter, but you need a lot of energy to chop the chocolate and to stir it as it melts. That cancels out the extra calories.
It does taste rich and moist for sure. And you’d never tell it has a beet the size of a baby’s head in it. Our vegan peanut butter-chocolate frosting would be great on this. We simply used powdered sugar.
** This batter gets very frothy like dhokla batter, rather than smooth and thickly pourable like cake batter. Hence, it’s much easier to make this as a single cake than in muffin or other smaller moulds. If making it as cupcakes or mini-bundt cakes, you will have to spoon these in and the batter will look all lumpy, but it will even itself out in the end.
** I measured only the flour, baking soda and beet puree and eyeballed everything else. Hence most measures in this recipe are approximate.
** I used 2 tsp baking soda and though the cake was really light and airy, I could taste the baking soda. I’ve reduced the quantity in the recipe.
** If you don’t have beets, try making this with apple puree or unsweetened applesauce. Just peel, steam and puree the apples as you would the beets, or use a combo of beets and apples. Carrots may work too. We need about 2 cups of puree/liquid.
BEET-CHOCOLATE CAKE (VEGAN)
(Makes about a dozen medium cupcakes or one single layer round/square cake)
The beet puree:
1 large beet (the size of a tennis ball)
1/4 cup water
Peel the beets, chop it in chunks, add the water and steam it on the stove top or microwave until tender. If using the microwave, use a partially covered glass or ceramic bowl and steam on HIGH for 7 to 8 minutes. Let it cool and puree fine with the liquid left in the bowl. Add orange/apple juice if you need a tad more liquid. We need about 2 cups puree. I got about 1.5 cups. I added
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce and
1/4 cup orange juice
to make up the difference.
Heat oven to 325 F. Line a square cake pan both ways with foil, or grease a round cake pan and line the bottom with parchment. If using muffin moulds, line with paper liners or silicone.
6 oz dark chocolate (I used 72% cacao)
with a serrated knife and melt it on a double boiler or in the microwave. If using the microwave, use 70% power and stir every 30 seconds. Add it to the beet puree with
3/4 to 1 cup sugar
**depending on how sweet you like it. I used 3/4 cup organic raw cane (turbinado) sugar
1 tbsp Grand Marnier, Cognac or flavouring of choice
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp organic orange zest
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg (optional)
2 tsp lemon juice
1.25 cups whole wheat pastry flour
** or all purpose flour
2 tbsps cornstarch
**or potato starch/water chestnut powder/arrowroot powder
1 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1.25 tsps baking soda
Add it slowly to the liquid mixture and stir until just combined. The baking soda should make the mixture frothy. If it doesn’t, add 1/4 tsp more baking soda (no more) and 1/2 tsp lemon/lime juice.
Spoon the batter into the cake/muffin pans and smooth the top with a spatula. If using muffin pans, you may have to spoon the batter a little by little. Fill the moulds to the very top.
Bake at 325 for 20-22 mins in muffin pans or 35 minutes for a cake. The cake should pull away from the sides of the pan and not be gooey, but not too dry in the centre when tested with a toothpick.
3 tbsps sugar powdered with 1 tsp cornstarch.
Grind these together to a fine powder in a spice grinder Or use confectioner’s sugar.
Let it cool, unmould and dust with powdered sugar or top with vegan peanut butter-chocolate frosting. Refrigerating for a couple of hours may make it ‘set’ better and may make unmoulding easier.
Beets from our summer garden
Event Details HERE
Camera: Canon EOS 300D
Lens: 100 mm macro
Shutter speed: 3.2 sec
ISO Speed: 100
DEADLINE: Jan 30, 2009
See you next Monday,