I've been wanting to post a guilt-free chocolate cake recipe here for a while and, though I was a little sceptical of trying the beetroot/chocolate combi at first, I was surprised how delicious (and naughty) these tasted. Especially straight from the oven. Now I won't claim that this is a recipe you can throw together in a 2 minutes and whack in the oven. I did end up using a few bowls and making a bit of a mess, but I think it was worth it.
As with my previous baking recipes (see my banana loaf and apple & pear cake), I use agave syrup/nectar instead of sugar, olive oil instead of butter and wholegrain spelt flour instead of wheat flour to make these "guilt-free". So it's a good one for sneakily getting some fibre and iron into unsuspecting children (or chocoholic adults) without the accompanying refined sugar, wheat and butter.
Note on beetroots: I used pre-cooked beetroots (my husband bought them by mistake when I wanted raw ones to juice), but if you have fresh beetroots, you'll need to roast or boil them until they are soft (about an hour), then remove the skins before you puree them. I recommend wearing some protective gloves when handling the beetroot so you don't stain your hands red.
Ingredients (makes 12 muffins):
200g cooked beetroot
150g dark chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa solids), roughly chopped
1 tsp of freshly grated ginger
125g wholegrain spelt flour
2 tsp baking powder
pinch of sea salt, crushed
3/4 of a measuring cup of agave syrup/nectar
3/4 of a measuring cup of olive oil (or sunflower oil)
1. Heat the oven to 180C. Grease a muffin tin.
2. Puree the beetroot in a blender or food mixer (or mash very well), put into a heatproof bowl along with the chopped chocolate and heat in the oven for a couple of minutes until the chocolate has melted. Stir, then add the grated ginger and leave to one side to cool.
3. Mix the flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.
4. Separate the eggs (saving both yolks and whites). Whisk the egg whites until stiff.
5. When the chocolate beetroot mixture has cooled, add the egg yolks, oil and agave nectar to the mixture and and stir well. Then gently stir this mixture into the bowl of flour. Lastly fold in the egg whites and then divide between the muffin holes (around two large heaped tablespoons of batter per hole).
6. Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for around 30 minutes (turning the tray half way through), until a skewer comes out clean but making sure the tops do not burn.
Variations: You could also make this into one cake (just adjust the cooking time to around 45-50 minutes), and/or to up the chocolate factor and add some texture, you could add in some dark chocolate chips at stage 5 along with the chocolate mixture.