Nutri Natters

Rita’s blog for lovers of real food

Gluten-free chocolate and beetroot cake with a luxurious ganache topping

29th October 2017

Everyone seems to have the baking bug and retailers report  that  cake-making equipment and ingredients are flying off the shelves. If you prefer your cakes free from gluten, there’s no need to miss out on all the fun. Gluten-free flour and baking powder are to be found in most supermarkets and health food shops, so put on your flowery pinny and take part in the national obsession!

Serve with fresh berries 

 Vegetables have been used for centuries to add texture and sweetness to cakes and puddings (think of carrot cake).  This combination of chocolate and beetroot makes a delicious, moist cake to rival any on the cake stand of a posh hotel. Gluten-free cakes can be more crumbly than cakes made with wheat flour but the addition of the melted chocolate helps to hold this cake together. The chocolate ganache coating – a simple combination of dark chocolate and cream – adds a touch of luxury. I made one for a birthday celebration this weekend  and it went down a treat.

 a rich, moist chocolate cake for a special occasion

Chocolate and Beetroot Cake (serves 8-12)
250gr of cooked beetroot, peeled (you can use vacuum-packed beetroot, no vinegar added)
3 medium/large eggs, eggs and yolks separated
75 gr cocoa powder
100gr dark chocolate
2 teaspoons gluten-free baking powder
200gr caster sugar or xylitol or 50gr xylitol and 75 ml of Sweet Freedom 
180 gr gluten-free flour (e.g rice flour or a pre-packed flour mix, such as Dove’s Farm)
200ml of olive or rapeseed oil
2 drops of vanilla essence
A little icing sugar for dusting the cake, if not using the ganache topping

Chocolate Ganache
150gr dark chocolate
90gr double cream

Set the oven to 180° C/gas 4. Lightly grease a 7-8 inch round cake tin with butter or oil. Use a ready made cake tin liner, or cut out a circle of greaseproof paper to line the tin and brush on more oil or butter.

  • Melt the chocolate in a heat-proof  bowl over a pan of simmering water
  • In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, cocoa and baking powder 
  • Using a food processor, mix the beetroot to a puree
  • Whisk the egg yolks and xylitol (or sugar) until the mixture doubles in size and is pale in colour- this takes about 5 minutes with an electric whisk. If using a combination of xylitol and Sweet Freedom, stir in the Sweet Freedom now
  • Add the egg yolk mixture to the beetroot with the vanilla essence and oil; mix well again then stir in the melted chocolate until all ingredients are well-combined.. Mix in the flour/coca/baking powder a few tablespoons at a time. The mixture should be smooth and velvety
  • Finally, using a clean whisk and bowl, whisk the egg whites until they form stiff peaks (this takes 2-3 minutes with an electric whisk)
  • Carefully fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture using a metal spoon. The finished mixture should be brown and glossy with no egg white showing.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin. Make a shallow indentation in the centre of the mixture with the back of a tablespoon to allow for the cake to rise in the middle.  Bake for about 40-50 minutes. To test if the cake is cooked, a metal skewer inserted into the centre of the cake should come out clean. If there is any hint of the cake still being wet in the middle, cook for another 5-10 minutes until you are satisfied that the skewer comes out clean

Leave the cake to cool in the tin for about 15 minutes then transfer it to a wire rack to cool completely.

If you aren’t using the ganache coating, dust the cooled cake lightly with icing sugar and serve with raspberries or other berries.

To make the ganache: Break the chocolate into pieces and place in a bowl. Gently heat the double cream in a pan until hot but not boiling and pour over the chocolate. Stir until the chocolate and cream are well combined and glossy. Leave the mixture to cool and thicken slightly for about 5 minutes. Pour some of the ganache over the cake and smooth with a palette knife. Add more of the ganache and cover the sides of the cake too. The topping doesn’t have to be particularly smooth. You could scatter some walnuts or pecans over the top at this stage, or grate on more chocolate when the ganache is cold.