Bless your heart if you are actually reading this post rather than running for cover to another food blog. Yes, I know this combination sounds a tad bit unusual, but I assure you it is Pure Genius.
Lest you think I’m being immodest here, the idea is not mine. The combination was recently featured in Gourmet Traveler, and that’s where I first encountered it.
On page 136 of the June 2010 issue, there’s a recipe for Chocolate and Beetroot Cake--an elegant whipped cream and whipped egg white lightened bittersweet chocolate sponge cake with almond meal subbing for flour. I have yet to actually bake this cake but will definitely give it a go while fresh beets are still in plentiful supply in the Northwest.
You can imagine my surprise and consternation when after a little research on the web, I discovered that a zillion cooks have already expounded on this combination to the world. I give you the most noteworthy of these at the end of this post.
Meanwhile, summer weather has finally hit Seattle and the temperature is rising in the OtherWorldly Kitchen. Plus the garden and a stack of great books are calling. Now is the season for quick and easy.
So I decided to focus my chocolate beet experimentation on a simple, but exceptional tea loaf. And upon perfecting that, I explored several extended flavor partnerships. After several rounds of testing, I arrived at three very distinct chocolate beet tea loaves, each of which is fit for the angels. Check out the above photos for the three flavor pairings.
This tea loaf is just the ticket when you have only a few minutes to throw something wonderful together. The beets are used raw, which saves you the typical roasting or boiling time. You will not taste the beets, but they do add a subtle spiciness that is very appealing, plus they virtually ensure a tender, moist loaf for 2-3 days. Did I mention the deep red-brown color? Gorgeous!
Heavenly Chocolate Beet Tea Loaf with 3 Variations
I like this lovely tea bread so much (as much for its ease as for its excellent flavor, texture, and keeping quality), that I couldn’t resist developing a few variations. At this moment, I am devouring the ginger and white pepper variation with its spicy heat playing against a backdrop of moist, almost fruity (the beets) dark chocolate. What a delicious flavor pairing!
This loaf is modestly sweet, which makes it perfect for midday tea. However, if desired, you can add up to ½ cup additional sugar (which should be split evenly between brown and white sugar) without deleterious effects.
vegetable spray, to coat the pan
flour, to coat the pan
1 cup King Arthur all-purpose flour (4.5 ounces)
½ cup high quality, unsweetened cocoa powder (1.2 ounces) (tested with Scharffenberger cocoa)
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
½ cup unsalted butter, melted (vegetable oil works too, but the flavor of the bread is not nearly so good as with butter)
½ cup sugar
½ cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1½ loosely packed cups very finely grated raw, peeled red beet (4.5 ounces shredded; 1 medium-large beet)
- Set an oven rack in the middle of the oven with plenty of room above it and preheat the oven to 350°.
- Coat an 8½- by 4½-inch (5-6 cup capacity) loaf pan with vegetable spray, and then a light layer of flour, tapping out any excess flour that does not cling.
- In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- In another large mixing bowl, using a large whisk, whisk together the butter or oil, sugars, eggs, and vanilla until creamy and smooth, about 2 minutes.
- Stir the grated beet into the butter mixture.
- Add the flour mixture to the butter-beet mixture and with a large spatula, combine gently but well. No flour should remain visible in the batter.
- Spoon the batter immediately into the prepared pan, and set in the center of a preheated 350° oven.
- Bake for about 38-40 minutes. If the loaf is pulling away from the edges of the pan, immediately pull it from the oven. Hopefully you will catch it before this point. Over baking this bread will make it dry.
Makes one 8½- by 4½-inch loaf.
Heavenly Chocolate, Orange, Chile, & Beet Tea Loaf
Oranges and chocolate are one of my favorite chocolate pairings. Reddish-brown, slightly sweet guajillo chile adds spicy heat to the pairing, without overpowering the loaf. If you have whole chiles, split, seed, and toast one lightly in a hot pan. Remove from the pan, let cool, and then pulverize in a spice grinder or mortar with pestle. That lovely toasted flavor is excellent even in a dessert.
all ingredients from the basic recipe
finely grated zest of 2 large oranges
½ teaspoon ground chile guajillo
- At Step 5 of the basic recipe, stir in the orange zest and chile powder.
Heavily Chocolate, Rosemary, Black Pepper, & Beet Tea Loaf
I told you all about my first encounter with chocolate and fresh rosemary in the post titled, Burnt Sugar & Rosemary Chocolate Tarts. I had wandered into Sahagun Chocolates in Portland, Oregon one cold February afternoon and was immediately drawn to a chocolate and fresh rosemary truffle. That first bite was a revelation! I’ve never looked back.
all ingredients from the basic recipe
2 teaspoons finely minced fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- At Step 5 of the basic recipe, stir in the rosemary and black pepper.
Heavily Chocolate, Fresh Ginger, White Pepper, & Beet Tea Loaf
When you taste this loaf hot, right out of the oven, the white pepper flavor dominates. Thus, you may feel that the balance of flavors is not pitch perfect. Taste again after the loaf has cooled, however, and the flavors should be in harmonious balance.
This loaf is meant to be spicy-hot, but you can of course cut the white pepper measurement in half, or eliminate it altogether, if you don’t want the heat.
Note Be sure to freshly grind the white pepper. Ground white pepper that has been hanging around for awhile often has a musty, unpleasant taste.
all ingredients from the basic recipe
2 tablespoons peeled, finely grated fresh ginger (1 ounce prepared)
1 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper (or less if you don’t want the heat)
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
- At Step 5 of the basic recipe, stir in the ginger, white pepper, and cardamom.
More Chocolate Recipes from LunaCafe:
- A Gift of Drinking Chocolate
- Bittersweet Chocolate & Cabernet Butter Cake
- Bittersweet Chocolate & Montmorency Cherry Morning Love Muffins
- Bittersweet Chocolate & Toasted Walnut Cookies Perfecta Mundo
- Bittersweet Chocolate Orange French Toast for Lovers
- Burnt Sugar & Rosemary Chocolate Tarts
- Caramelized Ancho Chile & Cinnamon Almonds
- Chocolate & Warm Winter Spice Butter Crisps
- Chocolate Almond Pound Cake
- Chocolate Shortcake with White Chocolate Crema, Strawberry Lime Sauce & Strawberry Lime Salsa
- Fried Banana Split with Mexican Chocolate Sauce & Strawberry Lime Salsa
- Heavenly Chocolate Crepes
- LunaCafe OtherWorldly Silky Fudgy Brownies
- LunaCafe’s Ultimate Chocolate Pudding
- Luscious White Chocolate and Raspberry Rose Petal Cheesecake
- Mexican Hearts of Fire Cookies
- Mexicano Chocolate Ebelskivers (Aebleskivers)
- Naughty & Nice: Chocolate Toasted Coconut Bars
- Oh You Great Big Beautiful Blondie
- Pumpkin Spice & White Chocolate Cheesecake
- Pumpkin Spice Hot White Chocolate
- Quintessential Bittersweet Chocolate Sauce
- Spirited Mocha Crepes with Peanut Butter Caramel, Peanut-Cocoa Nib Brittle & White Chocolate Crema
- White Chocolate, Cardamom & Coconut Beignet
More Chocolate & Beet Inspiration
Cannelle et Vanille
Gluten Free Chocolate and Roasted Beet Pudding Cakes
Beet Chocolate Cupcakes
La Tartine Gourmande
D is for Dark Chocolate and Beet Brownies
Chocolate-Beet Cakes with Candied Beets and Rose Petals
Pinch My Salt
Double Dark Chocolate Beet Muffins
Straight from the Farm
Velvety Beet and Cocoa Cake
Chocolate Almond Beet Torte
When Harry Met Salad
Chocolate Beet Cake