Beet this for a colourful cake




Blackcurrants and beetroot form an unlikely but successful alliance in a colourful sponge cake, writes EUNICE POWER

I LOVE LATE summer fruit and vegetables, especially blackcurrants and beetroot. Unfortunately for me, my love of blackcurrants is shared with blackbirds, which, after robbing most of my crop, brazenly add insult to injury by leaving their calling cards on the contents of my washing line.

I often use these two together in beetroot and blackcurrant jelly. The strong astringent flavour of the blackcurrants is earthed by the nutty flavour of beetroot. I decided to experiment a little more and made a beetroot cake with a blackcurrant filling and the result was stunning in flavour and dramatic in colour. I used this recipe when making a wedding cake. The bride loves beetroot, so I made three tiers of this divine cake and added pureed cooked beetroot to the butter cream icing. It certainly was different.

Beetroot cake with blackcurrant cream

250g beetroot, raw, peeled and grated

250ml sunflower oil

225g caster sugar

3 eggs

225g self-raising flour

A pinch of salt

For the filling

125g butter, at room temperature

250g icing sugar

200g cream cheese (I used Philadelphia Light)

100g blackcurrants

Pre-heat an oven to 170 degrees/gas 3. Grease two 18-centimetre sandwich tins and line the bases with greaseproof paper.

Whisk the oil and sugar together to combine, then add the eggs, one at a time. Sieve the flour and salt over the mixture, then fold in gently using a large metal spoon. Tip in the beetroot and fold into the mixture.

Divide the mix between two cake tins and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until cooked, you can check this by inserting a skewer into the centre – or a piece of raw spaghetti will do the trick also – if it comes out clean then your cake is baked.

Take the cakes out of the oven and allow to cool in the tins for 10 minutes or so before turning out on to a wire rack.

To make the icing, beat the butter and icing sugar together until light and fluffy, this will take five minutes or so using an electric mixer. Add the cream cheese and blackcurrants and continue beating until the mixture comes together. Pop the blackcurrant cream into the fridge for an hour or so while the cake is cooling down. If it becomes too stiff, beat for a minute or two to loosen up.

When the cake is cold, spread one-third of the icing over one cake and sandwich together with the other cake, then spread the remaining icing on top. Decorate with some pretty marigold petals.


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