Vegetarian food blog featuring delicious and nutritious whole food recipes, creative baking and luscious chocolate.

Beetroot Orange Brownies – We Should Cocoa #38

Plate of Beetroot Orange Brownies

Once you’ve cooked up some beetroot, these soft and gooey beetroot orange brownies are a cinch to make. They taste really good with a noticeable orange flavour and they have a delightful purple hue.

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Beetroot, Carrot and Goats Cheese Muffins

When I met Vanesther of Bangers & Mash at Blog Summit in Bristol a couple of weeks ago, I learnt about her Recipes for Life challenge which she hosts in conjunction with SWALLOW, a charity which helps adults with learning difficulties to lead more independent lives. Do find out what it is all about by visiting her blog. As soon as I heard what the ingredients were (beetroot, carrot and cheese), I knew what I wanted to make. I first made savoury cocoa muffins for the Capricorn Challenge back in October last year and was very impressed by the results; I’m not sure why I haven’t made them since. My only concern was would I have time to do it. With a cake club meeting, a chocolate course and a birthday party to bake for, I really wasn’t sure if I could fit it in. But sense prevailed; as well as making a nice change to my lunchtime sandwich, it would save me having to make said item in the mornings before going to work, something I always find a bit of a chore. I was also given a bit of a helping hand by Ethel the Goat, who is up to her old tricks again and a round of Capricorn cheese or two found its way to my kitchen.

This is how I made:

Beetroot, Carrot & Goats Cheese Muffins

  • Scrubbed 2 medium carrots and 2 smallish beetroot (weighing about 300g) then topped, tailed and grated them in a food processor.
  • Put 300g flour (half wholemeal, half white) in a mixing bowl.
  • Added 2 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp bicarb of soda and 1/4 tsp salt.
  • Added 2 tbsp cocoa powder and 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • Whisked together to ensure all was incorporated and there were no lumps.
  • Stirred in 50g of chopped walnuts.
  • In another bowl beat 2 large organic eggs with 200ml yogurt.
  • Beat in 100ml sunflower oil.
  • Beat in 100ml milk and a good good grinding of black pepper.
  • Divided 100g Capricorn goats cheese into three.
  • Chopped two lots into pieces and stirred into the batter.
  • Chopped the third piece into twelve equal portions.
  • Made a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and added the batter.
  • Stirred as lightly as possible until everything was just incorporated.
  • Added the grated beetroot and carrots and stirred just enough to incorporate into the mixture.
  • Divided between 12 silicone muffin moulds.
  • Topped each with a piece of goats cheese.
  • Baked at 200C for 20 minutes
  • Left for a few minutes in their moulds, then turned out onto a wire rack to cool.

These were just as good as the Beetroot, Walnut Goat’s Cheese Muffins I originally made and the raw grated vegetables cooked through with no problem.

Blog Summit Bristol

I’m not going to write an account of the Blog Summit, a really useful gathering of bloggers from Foodies100 and Tots100 held at the famous MShed down by the river. This is partly because there was not a single piece of chocolate or chocolate cake or even a chocolate biscuit to be had anywhere – can you believe it? Partly because others have written far more informative posts than anything I am likely to do and partly because this was the only 1/4 decent picture I took. I’ve listed below a couple of particularly useful write ups that others have done. It was a useful day and despite the rather long journey, it was worth attending. I met lots of very nice bloggers and heard quite a lot of useful tips about SEO, social media and photography – the follow / no follow issue was covered at some length. Special mention must go to Ali of PLUS 2.4 and Annie of Mammasaurus who rescued me from who knows what heinous fate as I wondered around Temple Meads in daze, stupefied by the splendour of a great metropolis – I am a country lass after all! Apart from the lack of chocolate, the only slight quibble I have, is that Foodies 100 members were sadly underrepresented, with only myself and Vanesther in attendance. 

 
Ten things I learnt at Bristol Blog Summit by Vanesther of Bangers & Mash
Blog Summit Bristol: a summary by Sally Whittle of Tots100
 

Beetroot, Goats Cheese, Chocolate & Walnut Brunch Muffins

Lunch, Savoury Chocolate | 3rd October 2012 | By

 

That goat, otherwise known as Ethel, has filled my head with thoughts of goats cheese and chocolate and I can hardly think of cooking with anything else. The fig and goats cheese tarts still have my mouth watering at the thought of them. At the weekend, rather than making my normal loaf for my work sandwiches, I thought I’d try something a little different to take in for lunch. Some lightly vinegared baby beetroot was in the hamper I received for the #capricornchallenge.

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Golden Beetroot Cake

Now why is it I’m so useless at taking note of recipes? I pride myself on never following a recipe and using it for inspiration or guidance only, but sometimes it’s quite a useful technique! The moment I saw Dom’s golden cake post I was almost gagging to make it. Trust Dom to come up with such an inspirational recipe. I’ve made plenty of beetroot cakes in the past, but never thought of using golden beets and yet we’ve been growing them for years. It was the golden colour that most appealed, but also the word itself – something to do with summer and the warm glow of hopes and aspirations – a culinary El Dorado.

Anyway, I lifted a couple of large golden beets from our plot and the first chance I got I put them on to cook. First mistake! If I’d looked at the recipe beforehand rather than relying on a very vague memory, I would have realised they were meant to be grated raw – hey ho, never mind. The second mistake I was much more bothered by. Dom’s recipe called for light muscovado sugar. Trawling through my cupboards, I realised I’d run out of it, so before I thought about the implications, I’d bunged in a load of dark muscovado sugar; no hope for a beautiful golden cake now. Why I didn’t use caster sugar instead I’ve no idea. I made a few intentional alterations: I omitted the vanilla extract as I wanted the lemon and beetroot flavours to shine through – golden beets are very sweet and have a  lovely flavour, I also used a little less sugar.

Anyway, this is what I ended up doing:

  • Mashed up 250g cooked golden beetroot.
  • Added 100ml sunflower oil and 175g muscovado sugar and whisked for a while to break up the lumps of sugar.
  • Whisked in 3 duck eggs.
  • Sieved in 100g flour (half wholemeal and half white), 50g ground almonds, 1 tsp baking powder and 1/2 tsp bicarb of soda.
  • Stirred in the grated zest of an organic lemon (I always try and use organic lemons as I know they are unwaxed).
  • Poured into a 23cm cake mould and baked at 180C for 40 minutes.
  • Turned onto a wire rack to cool.
  • Melted 50g of milk chocolate and 50g white chocolate (just because I had a half bar of each).
  • Mixed 125g mascarpone with 125g fromage frais and a tbsp of lemon juice.
  • Combined the cheese and chocolate mixtures and spread on the cooled cake.
  • Decorated with white chocolate stars.

The house smelt really sweet and fragrant as this was cooking, with lemon and syrupy notes very much to the fore. We couldn’t wait for the icing to set properly, so greedily cut into it at the first opportunity. The golden colour was not entirely obscured and it still looked quite appealing. The cake rose well, although CT thought it had the consistency and some of the flavour of treacle pudding. Really it was like a lemony ginger cake without the ginger: quite light, moist and rather moreish.

But, oh such a tragedy, we couldn’t eat it quite fast enough. The weather being very warm and very humid, the cake went mouldy after only three days and we had to throw nearly half of it in the compost bin. Our worms don’t know how lucky they are.

Beetroot & Almond Chocolate Squares


I’m still harvesting plenty of beetroot so wanted to try another cake recipe using beetroot – something suitable for a picnic! This is what I came up with:

  • Melted 100g unsalted butter with 100g 85% dark chocolate and 100g muscovado sugar in a small pan.
  • Mashed 200g cooked beetroot.
  • Sifted 100g plain flour (wholemeal spelt) into a mixing bowl with a pinch of salt.
  • Mixed in 100g ground almonds.
  • Made a well in the centre and poured in chocolate mixture.
  • Mixed this together with 4 duck eggs and beetroot.
  • Spooned this into 9″ square cake thingie and baked for 20 mins at 180°C (gas 4).
  • When cool cut into 16 squares.
Writing this now I rather wished I’d added some grated orange rind – not because they weren’t pretty damn good anyway, but I think this would have enhanced the flavour even further – beetroot and orange are good complementary flavours. Luckily, the cakes got a general thumbs up being moist, dense, flavoursome and not too sweet.

Beetroot Chocolate Cake


I’ve been given a most fantastic present by a lovely and newly wedded friend. The fact that it was her wedding and I was given the present was a little odd, but I wasn’t going to say no. A glass cake stand with dome which I have long been wanting – fantastic! Of course I had to make something right away to show it off, but what? The answer came via an e-mail from a friend wanting the recipe to a chocolate beetroot cake I’d made a couple of years ago. What a good idea. Why didn’t I think of that? One of the crops we’ve managed to grow really well this year is beetroot with the resulting “what else can I make with beetroot?” kind of mutterings. I used the Green and Black’s recipe that I used last time, but with less sugar.

This is how I did it:
  • Cooked a large beetroot, then peeled and mashed it.
  • Melted 4.5 oz butter with 100g bar 85% dark chocolate and 6oz dark brown sugar.
  • Sieved 10oz flour (5oz wholemeal spelt, 4oz gluten free flour (as had run out of white spelt) and 1oz quinoa flour)), 1 tbsp cocoa and 2 level tsp baking powder into a bowl and made a well in the centre.
  • Poured chocolate mixture into the flour and mixed in together with 3 large eggs (1 duck & 2 chicken as I’d run out of duck eggs).
  • Mixed in beetroot and spooned into a 23cm cake thingy.
  • Baked at 180°C (gas 4) for 30 mins.
  • When cooled placed on new cake stand then sifted with 1 tsp of icing sugar.
Moist with a smooth texture, it’s definitely a good use for surplus beetroot. My chief taster is not at all partial to this vegetable. Luckily this cake is very chocolatey and apart from the rather deep red earthy colour, the beetroot is quite hard to detect. It got the thumbs up!

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