Carrot cake is a no-brainer, so why not beetroot? Especially when it's fragrant with spice and textured with all sorts of seeds. Rapadura sugar gives the frosting a warm caramel flavour and just a little crunch.
- 270 ml hazelnut oil or sweet almond oil
- 110 gm rapadura sugar (see note)
- 2 tsp vanilla bean paste
- 4 eggs, separated
- 160 gm plain flour
- 55 gm rye flour
- 3 tsp ground cinnamon
- 3/4 tsp ground cloves
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 2/3 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 100 gm mixed seeds, such as pepitas, sunflower seeds and linseed
- 3 tsp caraway seeds
- 200 gm (about 1) coarsely grated beetroot, plus extra (optional) to serve
- 50 ml buttermilk
- 40 gm mixed seeds, such as pepitas, sunflower seeds and linseed
- 1 tsp caraway seeds
- 20 gm icing sugar
- 250 gm icing sugar, sieved
- 120 gm crème fraîche
- 100 gm rapadura sugar
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 1Preheat oven to 180C. Whisk oil, sugar, rind, juice and vanilla in an electric mixer until pale (3-4 minutes), then add egg yolks and whisk until fluffy (2-3 minutes). Sieve flours, ground spices, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda over, then add mixed seeds, caraway seeds and a pinch of salt, and stir to combine. Add beetroot and buttermilk, stir to combine and set aside.
- 2Whisk eggwhites and a pinch of salt in a bowl until firm peaks form, then fold into beetroot mixture. Spoon into a 22cm-diameter cake tin buttered and lined with baking paper, smooth top, and bake until risen and a skewer inserted withdraws clean (45-50 minutes). Cool in tin for 30 minutes, then cool completely on a wire rack.
- 3For crunchy seeds, dry-roast mixed seeds and caraway in a frying pan over medium-high heat until lightly toasted (1 minute), sieve icing sugar over and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly glazed. Remove from heat, add rind, stir and cool on a piece of baking paper.
- 4For rapadura frosting, whisk ingredients in an electric mixer until thick (3-4 minutes), spread over cooled cake and serve scattered with crunchy seeds, topped with grated beetroot. Iced cake will keep in an airtight container for 2 days.
Note Rapadura sugar, an unrefined cane sugar, is available in blocks or granulated from health-food shops and South American grocers.