Beetroot chocolate cake with raspberry crème fraîche

This chocolate cake has a fabulous moist texture, similar to a Sacher Torte but without any ground almonds. It’s a great choice if you’re looking for a slightly more unusual cake.
Serves 6-8

Ingredients
* 225g 70% cocoa Valrhona dark chocolate
* 125g unsalted butter, softened
* 225g golden caster sugar
* ½ vanilla pod
* 225g cooked beetroot, peeled and coarsely grated
* 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
* 225g self-raising flour, sieved

For the raspberry cream:
* 125g raspberries
* 250g crème fraîche
* squeeze of lemon juice

For the chocolate cream:
* 200g 70% cocoa Valrhona dark chocolate
* 25g unsalted butter
* 100g double cream

To decorate:
* 200g mixed berries (such as raspberries, blackberries and small strawberries)
* zest of 1 orange
 
Method
1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC and line a 26cm cake tin with baking parchment.

2. Break up the chocolate and melt it in a heatproof glass or ceramic bowl over a bain-marie. Do not let the simmering water touch the bottom of the bowl.

3. In a separate bowl, beat the butter and sugar together until fluffy. Split the vanilla pod lengthways and scrape out the seeds with a sharp knife.

4. Slowly beat the melted chocolate, vanilla seeds and then the grated beetroot into the butter and sugar mixture. Finally fold in the eggs and flour.

5. Transfer to the cake tin and bake for 40 minutes in the preheated oven until firm to the touch. Remove from the oven, cool for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire cooling rack.

6. For the raspberry cream, squash the raspberries in a bowl, then fold in the crème fraîche and lemon juice. Set aside.

7. For the chocolate cream, break up the chocolate and melt it with the butter in a heatproof glass or ceramic bowl over a bain-marie.

8. As soon as the water in the pan comes to the boil, remove the pan and bowl from the heat. Leave the chocolate to melt. Try not to touch it until it has all melted, then gently fold in the cream until the mixture is glossy.

9. When the cake is cool, use a spatula to spread the chocolate cream on top and over the sides.
 
10. Decorate with the mixed berries and a sprinkle of orange zest. Serve with the raspberry cream on the side.

Save time: you can make the cake one or two days before dressing it with the chocolate cream. Keep it in an airtight container and it will stay really moist and fresh.

More from Carina Contini’s Kitchen Garden Cookbook: Carina Contini’s Kitchen Garden Cookbook: A Year of Italian Scots Recipes by Carina Contini. Published by Frances Lincoln, £25.

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