Beetroot & Chocolate Cake

  • I had a request from the 93 year old mother of one of my friends to make her a cake that included beetroot in the ingredients – maybe a red velvet cake.
  • Now I had never seen one of these cakes and certainly never made one and I did have doubts about it.
  • I did some research and found lots of recipes for red velvet cakes but nearly all of them used just red food colouring.
  • I then found a recipe for a cake using beetroot and tested it out and surprisingly it came out very, very well. The recipe uses sunflower oil and is an easy to make batter cake.
  • This is not a traditional Polish recipe at all but it does contain a favourite Polish vegetable – namely – beetroot.

    Ingredients

  • 250g cooked beetroots (I used ready cooked vacuum packed beetroots  – 1 pack is more than enough)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 300g caster sugar
  • 250ml sunflower oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 225g plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons cocoa powder

Method

  • Grease and line a  21 x 31 cm baking tin.
  • Preheat the oven to Gas mark 4 – 180ºC
  • Drain the beetroots from the water and place in a sieve for a while to ensure they are dry – you can dry them with some kitchen roll as well.
  • Purée the beetroots – using a food chopper or blender

In a large bowl combine the puréed beetroots, eggs, vanilla essence, oil and sugar.

In a separate bowl mix together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, salt and cocoa.

20170219_113354

Add the dry ingredients to the other bowl and beat well together.

20170219_114510

Pour the batter mixture into the prepared tin.

20170219_115514

Bake for 45 to 50 minutes.

Test if done with a cake tester or wooden skewer.

Leave to cool in the tin.

20170219_125037

The cake is delicious and moist – it has a slightly red tinge to the very dark nearly black colour.

Here I have just served it plain.

Served on Royal Doulton, Counterpoint, 1973 – 1987.

You can dust the top  with icing sugar if desired.

The cake is delicious on its own but many versions have a topping of some description.

I made one using butter, cream cheese ( or yoghurt cheese), icing sugar and lemon.

Ingredients for Topping

  • 50g butter
  • 100g of full fat cream cheese, twaróg or yoghurt cheese
  • Finely grated rind of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon juice
  • 250 – 300g icing sugar

Method

  • The butter needs to be at room temperature.
  • Cream the butter, lemon rind, lemon juice and the cream cheese and 2 tablespoons of the icing sugar until the mixture is smooth and well combined.
  • Slowly add the icing sugar and mix well in until it is smooth and firm enough to use as a topping.

You can make the topping ahead of time and keep it in a container in the fridge – topping the cake later when needed.

Take care not to get too many brown cake crumbs in the icing when spreading it on the cake.

Served on Colclough, Enchantment, tea plates from the 1960s

with Portmeirion, Crazy Daisy, pastry forks.

The cake was voted delicious!

Buraki – Buraczki – Beetroots – Beets

Beetroot is a very popular vegetable in Poland and is served both hot and cold and is the main ingredients of barszcz (The classic Polish beetroot soup).

Now this may just my imagination but the beetroot in Poland just tastes so much better than the ones I have had in England, maybe it is the variety that is grown there or the soil.   I think you have to use home-grown or organic beetroot to get as good a taste.

In the following recipes I have used vacuum packed boiled beetroots – boiling or roasting raw beetroot should give a better flavour but when you only want to make a small amount or you have little time this will work as well especially if you adjust the flavour with lemon juice or a little sugar.

A popular variant is something called botwinka  – this is very young beetroot – sold in bunches (rather like radishes) and consists of the small “bulb” and the  young  green leaves, which are all used.  As I have not seen this for sale in England I will not be including any recipes – but if you are ever in a position to try this (often in the form of a soup) you will taste something very delicious.

Ćwikła is the most typical Polish accompaniment to roasted and smoked meats and sausage. This salad or relish is made from grated cooked beetroot which is mixed with grated horseradish – chrzan.

The first recorded recipe for ćwikła comes from the writings of Mikołaj Rej  (1505 – 1569)  who is known as the “Father of Polish Literature”.  He was the first person to write exclusively in Polish.

He was born 59 years before Shakespeare (1564 – 1616).

Ćwikła

Ingredients

  • 2 or 3 boiled beetroots
  • Horseradish sauce
  • Soured Cream
  • Extra lemon juice – optional
  • Method

IMG_20160209_132906197_HDR

  • Grate the beetroots using a fine or medium grater and put this into a bowl.
  • In the past I always used a fine grater but now I prefer to use my medium grater.

 

 

IMG_20160209_133049454
Medium Grated

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_20160209_133242132
Fine Grated

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Add a large dollop or two of horseradish sauce.
  • Below are two kinds, one with soured cream and one without.
  • I like the one with soured cream more.

IMG_20160209_132054534

A few years ago I thought it would be a good idea to grow my own horseradish – that was a mistake! It starts to take over with the roots spreading underground. However the dark leaves are very attractive and the air does smell of horseradish when you walk up to it.  You just need to be able to contain it.

IMG_20160209_133334050_HDR

IMG_20160209_133328206_HDR

  • Mix the grated beetroot and horseradish sauce together.
  • Add soured cream – if using the sauce with this in already you might not need as much.
  • You can add lemon juice as well.

IMG_20160209_133711319

 

 

 

 

IMG_20160209_133936995

 

 

 

 

Carnation  Serving Dish by Royal Doulton

IMG_20160209_133936995

 

 

 

 

Beetroot & Apple Salad

Ingredients

  • 2 or 3 boiled beetroots
  • 1 eating apple  with a good flavour such as Jazz, Braeburn or Pink Lady.
  • Juice of  half  or a whole lemon
  • Sugar – optional

Method

  • Grate the beetroots using a medium grater.

 

IMG_20160209_133049454

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Peel and core the apple and grate this using a medium grater.
  • Mix the two together.
  • Add lemon juice to taste.
  • You can add some extra sugar to taste.

IMG_20160210_174100401

 

 

 

 

 

NOTE

  • This tastes much better if it is left so all the ingredients mingle together for a few hours.
  • I make this in the morning if I want it for the evening or I make it the night before for lunch time the next day.

Creamed Beetroot

This is a delicious way of serving beetroot warm with a roast dinner.

Ingredients

  • 3 or 4 boiled beetroots
  • Large tablespoon of butter
  • 1 or 2 tablespoons of flour
  • Juice of a lemon & some extra water
  • 3- 4  tablespoons of soured cream
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • A little sugar to taste – optional

Method

IMG_20160209_133049454

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Grate the beetroots using a medium grater and put them into a saucepan with the lemon juice and a little water.
  • Put a lid on the saucepan and gently simmer the beetroot – taking care not to let it dry out or burn.
  • Melt the butter in a small frying pan and add the flour – let it colour slightly.
  • Add 2 tablespoons of soured cream and a little water and combine this well.
  • Add this mixture to the simmering beetroots, once again combining well.
  • Let this simmer for 5 to 10 minutes – keep checking, and stirring and adding  more soured cream, lemon juice or water if it looks like it is going to dry out.
  • Add salt & pepper and a little sugar to taste.

 

Serving dish is Topic designed by  Alan Rogers in 1967 for J & G Meakin.