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  • Seasonal local food recipe No 116: Beetroot seed cake

    Posted on October 7th, 2011 charlotte No comments

    This moist and incredibly more-ish cake comes from Nigel Slater’s Tender Volume 1. The mixture turns a lurid pink colour when you add the beetroot, but tones down by the time it comes out of the oven.

    If you want to save time and beat the eggs up whole rather than separating them first, it seems to make no difference to the quality. The only other tip I have is: Go easy on the icing – a drizzle will do. (But then I always say that!)

    I shared the cake with friends on a glorious summer’s day beside the River Fal at Quay Cottage, Trelissick next to King Harry Ferry. It didn’t last long.

    Serves 8-10

    Preparation / cooking: 65-70 minutes 

    225g self-raising flour
    ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
    1 scant tsp baking powder
    ½ tsp ground cinnamon
    180ml sunflower oil
    225g light muscovado sugar
    3 eggs
    150g raw beetroot
    juice of half a lemon
    75g sultanas or raisins
    75g mixed seeds (sunflower, pumpkin, linseed)

    For the icing:
    8 tbsp icing sugar
    lemon juice or orange blossom water
    poppy seeds


    Set the oven at 180C/gas mark 4. Lightly butter a rectangular loaf tin (20cm x 9cm x 7cm deep, measured across the bottom) then line the bottom with baking parchment.

    Sift together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and cinnamon. Beat the oil and sugar in a food mixer until well creamed then introduce the beaten egg yolks one by one, reserving the whites for later.

    Grate the beetroot coarsely and fold into the mixture, then add the lemon juice, raisins or sultanas and the assorted seeds. Fold the flour and raising agents into the mixture while the machine is turning slowly.

    Beat the egg whites till light and almost stiff. Fold gently but thoroughly into the mixture with a large metal spoon (a wooden one will knock the air out). Pour the mixture into the cake tin and bake for 50-55 minutes, covering the top with a piece of foil after 30 minutes. Test with a skewer to see if done. The cake should be moist inside but not sticky. Leave the cake to settle for a good 20 minutes before turning out of its tin on to a wire cooling rack.

    To make the icing, sieve the icing sugar and stir in enough lemon juice or orange blossom water to achieve a consistency where the icing will run over the top of the cake and dribble slowly down the sides (about three teaspoonfuls), stirring to remove any lumps. Drizzle over the cake and scatter with poppy seeds. Leave to set before eating.