It was a simple request from my sweet daughter, and since she is pregnant and prone to cravings, I caved. Cakes, slices and baked goods aren’t my favourite thing to eat, but my family, who like to nibble on a sweet after dinner or for afternoon tea on the weekend, like variety and brownies are popular. These brownies are quite decadent with a fudge topping and I believe are special enough to serve to company.
To make the beetroot puree, don a pair of gloves, peel 4 small/medium beetroot and cut into small pieces. Cook with ample water until tender, put beetroot into a bowl and cool in the freezer for a wee while. Place the beetroot with a few tablespoons of beetroot water into the blender and blitz until it’s a smooth puree. If using the gluten free flour mix of almond meal/brown rice flour, the total baking time is a longer 35 minutes. To achieve a sweeter earthy beetroot flavour, buy young organic beetroot. If you like a very moist brownie cake, add an extra heaped tablespoon of beetroot puree. I added sweetness to the fudge topping to lessen the bitter cacao chocolate taste, yet made it not too sweet, so feel free to adjust the taste to your liking. The thickness of the fudge depends on how much sweetener you add when making the topping. If you’re not a fan of earthy tasting beetroot flavours, a raspberry puree would work equally well.
· Eric L. Ding, PhD, of Harvard Medical School says the apparent health benefits of cacao come from polyphenolic flavonoids in cocoa that have the potential to prevent heart disease. Flavonoids are antioxidants that are commonly found in fruits and vegetables.
VEGAN CHOCOLATE BEETROOT BROWNIES
Use a 22 cm (8 inch) square cake tin
Makes 16 squares
V, SF, DF, GF
To make a brownie cake:
1 cup spelt flour / gluten-free flour mix – ½ cup almond meal, ½ cup brown rice flour
½ cup cacao powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of salt
1 heaped cup beetroot puree (about an extra tablespoon)
1 cup rice malt syrup, to taste
½-2/3 cup almond milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
To make a fudge topping:
¾ cup cacao powder or vegan dark chocolate
¼ cup almond butter
1 cup rice malt syrup, to taste
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
cacao powder for dusting
Preheat the oven to 180’C (350’F/Gas Mark 4). Line the baking tray with baking paper, and cut a square into each corner to get a clean edge on the brownie cake. In a large bowl, add flour, cacao powder, baking powder, salt and stir to combine. Into another bowl, add beetroot puree, rice malt syrup, almond milk, vanilla extract and mix well to combine. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir to combine. You could also use a whisk to combine the mixture. Gently stir in the apple cider vinegar. Pour batter carefully into the prepared cake tin, and bake for about 25 minutes, until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool cake on a wire rack. To prepare the topping when the cake is cool, place all the ingredients into a double boiler and mix until smooth. Cool the fudge topping a little and spread it over the cake with a spoon. Dust with cacao powder, cut into squares and store in an airtight container. Serve with fruit or vegan ice cream for a sweet.