For being someone who doesn’t really ever crave cake, I sure have been baking lots of cakes lately. I just realized this is my third cake recipe in a row. Unprecedented, but I do have to admit none of these latest cake recipes are very traditional. All of them being very, very moist, especially this recipe in hand, which is more like a pudding that a cake.
Inspired by a late night (very late night) Twitter chat with Shauna, Helen and Y, I set out to try baking more gluten free recipes. It might surprise you to know that I am almost on a gluten free diet. Most people cannot believe it since I seem to always be baking. The truth is that I don’t eat that many baked goods. I do taste everything I make, but I rarely sit down and have an entire piece of cake or cookies.
A couple of years ago, following some health issues, a good friend suggested I try living gluten and dairy free. I have never been able to give up my dairy completely, but I did give up gluten completely for an entire year, which yielded great results. I have not been as strict lately, but that late night Twitter chat was a great reminder of how great I felt then and that I need to experiment some more.
So I know the combination of chocolate and beets might sound a bit odd to you, but it really works. I first read about it in Johnny Iuzzini’s “Dessert Fourplay” where he features several recipes with beets. It adds sweetness and an earthy touch that is hard to describe, but it really works.
I found the most amazing red and golden beets this week. I roasted and pureed them and then played around with my to go to chocolate fondant cake recipe. It took me several tests to get it right, but I think I got it. Even C. who despises beets liked it. That in itself is a huge accomplishment.
Gluten Free Chocolate and Roasted Beet Pudding Cakes
Makes 6-4 oz ramekins
50 grams sugar
55 grams butter
170 grams bittersweet chocolate (I used 64%), chopped
55 grams roasted beet puree
20 grams rice flour
In the bowl of an electric mixer, whip the eggs, egg yolks and sugar until pale and very thick (ribbon stage).
In the meantime, place the butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl and melt them together over a double boiler. Add the melted butter and chocolate mixture into the whipped eggs and mix. Add the roasted beet puree and mix. Finally add the rice flour and salt and fold.
Pour the runny batter into the greased ramekins and place them on a baking sheet. Bake at 400F for about 8-10 minutes until the edges are set but the center is still soft and pudding-like. Let them cool for about 10 minutes before trying to unmold them.
Serve them with candied beets, currants and cream.
Roasted Beet Puree
Cut the leaves off the beets leaving about 1 inch stem on. Wrap them in aluminum foil and bake them at 400F for about 1 hour or until fork tender. Let them cool completely in the aluminum foil and them peel them.
Cut the roasted beets and puree them in a food processor. Strain the puree through a fine sieve. It makes more than what you will need for the cakes but you can freeze the rest.
Peel some beets and slice them very thin using a mandolin. Make a simple syrup with equal parts water and sugar and cook the sliced beets in the syrup until soft and translucent. Make sure the syrup doesn’t boil. Let them cool in the syrup. Slightly drain them and coat them with sugar.
If using red and yellow beets, poach them in different pots so the red doesn’t bleed into the yellow.
And for those wondering about the gorgeous butterfly plate, that is a handmade piece from Gleena. So many talented friends!