Do you know that beautiful earthy smell after rain? The sweet, musky scent of a damp forest floor? There is an aromatic molecule responsible for this rich, deep aroma – it is called ‘geosmin’, and you can also find it in beetroot. What better way to celebrate this deep earthiness than in a flourless chocolate cake.
This is one nutrient-dense cake chock full of antioxidants, protein and light on sugar!
In my take on it, I substitute coconut sugar which is lower on the glycemic index than cane sugar. It has a lovely caramel flavour that really complements the earthiness of the beetroot and the chocolate. I have tried to keep a slightly savoury edge to the cake. You might want to substitute with brown sugar if you have a sweet tooth.
- 250g raw beetroot, grated finely
- 125g ground hazelnuts (meal)
- 200g dark chocolate (at least 70%), broken into pieces
- 1/4 cup raw cacao or quality organic cocoa powder
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 4 eggs, separated
- 50g unsalted, cultured butter or coconut oil
- 100g coconut sugar
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
- Line a 20cm springform tin with baking paper or grease and “flour” the tin with a little extra nut meal.
- Melt chocolate pieces and butter in a heat-proof bowl over a saucepan containing gently simmering water, ensuring that the water is not touching the bottom of the bowl.
- When the chocolate has melted, set aside the bowl and let cool for about 10 minutes while you organise the other ingredients.
- Combine the beetroot and egg yolks, and then add the melted chocolate. When these are combined then, stir in the hazelnut meal, cocoa/cacao, baking powder and coconut sugar.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form.
- Add around one-quarter of the egg whites to the cake batter and stir until the mixture is lightened and combined. Gently fold through the remaining egg whites until a uniform consistency is achieved.
- Using the spatula, spread the cake batter evenly in the cake tin and bake in the oven for 45 - 55 minutes. The cake will be ready when risen and cooked through when tested with a skewer.
- Transfer from the oven to a baking rack and allow the cake to cool for 5 - 10 minutes before releasing the tin.
- When cool, use a small sieve to dust the cake with a little cocoa or cacao powder.
- You can shake it up a bit - substitute almonds for the hazelnuts and play around with other sugars. In the past, I have also added a touch of spice, such as vanilla and cinnamon.
Enjoy your Beetroot, Chocolate and Hazelnut Cake!