Sunday, 10 March 2013

Addicted to beetroot, and beetroot, orange and chocolate muffins

Three or maybe four years ago I tried the amazing combination of chocolate and beetroot for the first time. I have long been a fan of beetroot in most of its incarnations; it is only the cruelest of pickling that I don’t like. Think beetroot carpaccio, think tender wee beetroots roasted and served with butter, think beetroot hummous. The same year, 2009 (or was it 2010?), I saw a recipe for beetroot cake in the comments thread of some article on the Guardian website. I was intrigued and had to try it, turning the recipe into muffins instead. Those muffins were brought to work, perhaps in an attempt to get some feedback or more likely to avoid eating them all myself. My colleague J was so taken with them that she considered asking me to make her a beetroot chocolate wedding cake.

Just before Christmas I heard of a newly started, small artisan chocolatier in Edinburgh called Edward&Irwyn. It was small, and to the outside world it was not much more than a blog. On the last evening I spent with my boyfriend before we both left for our respective family Christmases, he gave me some of the E&I chocolates. One of the two flavours was beetroot, orange and milk chocolate. It was, quite simply, divine.

With J’s return to work after maternity leave (not an easy return due to nursery bugs galore, I must add), and the delicious E&I chocolate in mind, I decided to try to bake something like the muffins I had made before, but denser and moister. If you’ve read other posts of mine recently you might also recall an obsession with a certain recipe by Dan Lepard, so using oil rather than butter was an easy choice. I didn’t have to experiment more than once to find the right mixture. 

Beetroot, orange, chocolate. Photo: Helene Frossling

Chocolate beetroot orange muffins

3 eggs
80 g caster sugar
80 g golden syrup
120 ml vegetable oil
250 g cooked beetroot
zest from one-two oranges
120 g plain flour
60 g cocoa powder (not sweetened!)
1 tsp baking powder

Start by switching on the oven to 180 C, and getting out a 12-hole muffin-tray, and line with cupcake cases. I find metal muffins trays far easier than silicone ones, but we all have different preferences.

Finely grate the cooked beetroot and zest the oranges. In a small bowl mix the plain flour, cocoa powder and baking powder.

In a larger bowl and using a hand-helg electric whisk, mix eggs, sugar and golden syrup until light and a bit fluffy. Mix in the vegetable oil. At this point switch from the electric mixer to a spatula; the rest you want to do with a bit more finesse. Gently fold in the beetroot and orange zest. Once mixed well, fold in the flour mix. Divide between the cupcake cases. The mix will only rise a little bit when baking.

Bake the cupcakes for 20-25 minutes. Let them cool before eating, and eat within a couple of days if you want them at their freshest. I have no idea how long they stay ok, but I think most people wouldn’t find out as the muffins would be long eaten before they go stale. If you want to frost them to make them more like cupcakes I recommend the Hummingbird Bakery Cream Cheese Frosting. If you donb't have their books, Ocado has the recipe. 

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