Chocolate beetroot cake

It must be something about the time of year because chocolate beetroot cakes popped up all over my social media networks when I made this, for example what is possibly the best-iced chocolate beetroot cake in the world from Jibber Jabber UK.

Still, here is my offering. It's not the healthiest way to sneak vegetables into a child but it's a pretty tasty way and one that most picky eaters won't be able to refuse (unless of course their pickiness extends to chocolate).

Chocolate beetroot cake sneaky veg photo

250g plain chocolate, broken up into small pieces
3 large free-range eggs
200g light brown sugar
100ml sunflower oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
100g self raising flour
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
½ tsp baking powder
50g ground almonds
250g raw beetroot, peeled and grated (a food processor will save you from having red hands for days)

For the filling
100g unsalted butter, softened
200g icing sugar, sifted, plus extra for dusting on top
1 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tbsp cold milk
2 tbsp cherry jam

Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan160°C/gas 4. Grease and line two 22cm round, sandwich tins with a little butter.

Melt the plain chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of gently simmering water. Take care not to let escaping steam get into the chocolate. Once the chocolate has melted completely, set aside to cool. It's ok to prod it occasionally but avoid stirring it.

Put the eggs, sugar and sunflower oil in a large mixing bowl and whisk together, preferably with an electric hand whisk (mine has broken, causing me no end of wrist-ache) for about three minutes until smooth and creamy. Stir in the vanilla extract.

Sift over the flour, bicarbonate of soda and baking powder and gently fold into the mixture using a metal spoon. Fold in the ground almonds.

Next fold in the grated beetroot and the cooled chocolate until thoroughly mixed.

Pour half of the mixture into each of your prepared tins and bake for around 25 minutes until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Cool in the tin for a few minutes and then remove from the tins and leave to cool on a rack.

To make the chocolate buttercream beat the butter, icing sugar and cocoa together, then drizzle in the milk and beat some more. Only add more milk if you think it's too dry. Spread one cake with this buttercream and the other with the cherry jam and sandwich together. Lightly dust with icing sugar and you're ready to go!

This recipe is my own adaptation of one from Delicious magazine and one from the Bill's cookbook, which I couldn't find online to link to.