Since the kids loved my carrot cake so much I decided to try a different vegetable in cake, beetroot! Beetroot goes nicely with chocolate and they had no idea they were eating veg. I also added some banana, ground flax seeds, cashews in the icing, and lots of berries on top, to make this extra nutritious. The cake was a huge success with the kids and me too!
I think this would make a lovely birthday cake, for kids or grown ups. I made it gluten-free but I think it could probably work with regular wheat flour too, it might need a little less liquid if you make it with a different type of flour, so add the soy milk slowly until you get the right consistency.
For the cake
3 flax eggs (3 tbsp. ground flax seeds + 9 tbsp. warm water)
2-3 medium size raw beetroots
325g self-raising gluten-free flour mix (I use Dove’s Farm Freee)
50g cocoa powder
225g caster sugar
3 tsp baking powder (gluten-free if required)
1 tsp beetroot powder (totally optional but I had some so added it for extra colour, flavour and nutrients)
225ml neutral tasting vegetable oil (I use sunflower oil)
100ml soy milk (or other plant milk)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
For the icing
1 cup of cashews
2 tbsp. maple syrup (or agave syrup)
A squeeze of lemon juice
1/2 cup of water
1 punnet each of raspberries and blueberries (or whatever topping you like, e.g. strawberries, sliced grapes, cocoa powder, dark chocolate shavings)
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Grease or line a cake tin (I used a 22cm round tin).
Mix the ground flax seed and warm water and set aside for 10 minutes to thicken up.
Mash the bananas until fairly smooth.
Peel the beetroots and grate them into a bowl (you might want to wear gloves for this if you don’t want pink hands!).
Mix the flour, cocoa, sugar, and baking powder (and beetroot powder if using) in a large mixing bowl with a spoon.
In a separate bowl or jug mix the oil and vanilla extract. Measure the soy milk out in another container.
Add the beetroot, banana, oil and vanilla to the dry ingredients and mix with a spoon working quite quickly until just combined. Don’t worry if there are some lumps, that will be fine and it’s best not to overmix it. I add the soy milk last so I can make sure I don’t make the mixture too liquidy. Like I said above, if using a different type of flour than I used, it might absorb a bit less liquid, so it’s safest to add the milk a bit at a time as much as you feel is needed.
Pour the mixture into the baking tin and bake for about 50 minutes on the bottom shelf of the oven. I lightly covered the cake to stop it from browning too much on top before it’s fully cooked through. (Alternatively you could put the mixture into two separate cake tins and bake for less time, to make a 2 layer cake with icing in the middle.)
While the cake is baking, make the icing. Add the cashews, maple syrup, lemon juice and water to a food processor and blend until smooth. If your food processor is not that powerful, you could soak the cashews first, either for an hour in cold water, or if you’re short on time, for ten minutes in warm water. I didn’t mind the icing having a little texture, but if you have a high speed blender you can get a smoother texture. Either way it will taste good.
When the cake is ready and cooled, spread the icing on top and sprinkle the berries over the top, and enjoy! I stored this cake in the fridge to keep the icing fresher. As with many gluten free cakes, it only is at its best for a couple of days, so I would suggest freezing it in slices (before adding the icing and berries) if you want to keep it for longer, and defrosting before eating it, or else just eat it all in a day or two, which I intend to do!