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I opened the bottle of your vanilla extract last weekend to bake some cookies and the difference in taste is extraordinary." – Judy

Chocolate and Beet Fudge Cake

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 Courtesy of Janet Sawyer, Little Pod, UK

Chocolate and Beet Fudge Cake may sound off-putting but, in fact, the beets provide moisture, sweetness and some heft to the cake. However, the cake doesn’t taste at all like beets. Chocolate wins the honors here, so you’ll want to use good quality chocolate when making this rich cake. It’s truly a delicious recipe that Janet served for the first-anniversary party for Little Pod, our “sister” vanilla company, which was held at the Chelsea Physic Gardens in London.

As the recipe comes from the UK, measurements are in grams with side notes in ounces. This is, quite honestly, the best way to bake as it’s far more accurate than by using cups, as not all flour weighs the same amount. If you don’t already have a kitchen scale, it’s a worthwhile investment. I depend on mine far more than I had expected.

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Chocolate and Beet Fudge Cake

Ingredients

Scale

250g/8 ounces dark chocolate, plus 150g/ 5 ounces for topping

3 free-range eggs

250g/2-1/4 cups dark brown sugar

1 teaspoon Vanilla Bean Paste

1 teaspoon chocolate extract, or add another 25g/1 ounce dark bittersweet chocolate

4 tablespoons clear honey, plus 3 for the topping

60 grams/2 ounces unbleached flour

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

50g/1/3 cup ground almonds

300g/10 ounces raw beetroot (beets), peeled and finely grated

1 teaspoon Rain’s Choice pure Vanilla Extract

30ml/2 tablespoons sunflower oil

1 teaspoon coffee extract (optional)

a 20 cm/8-inch round cake pan, greased

Instructions

Preheat oven to 160ºC (325F), and grease the surface of a round, 20cm/8-inch diameter pan with sunflower oil. Then slowly melt 250g/8 ounce chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water until all dissolved and set aside to cool.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs together with the sugar, vanilla paste, 4 tbsp honey and chocolate extract (or 25g/1 ounce dark chocolate) for three minutes until pale and fluffy. Then, fold in the flours, bicarbonate of soda, salt, cocoa powder and ground almonds.

Pat the grated beetroot thoroughly with kitchen paper in order to remove some of the excess moisture, then fold together the beetroot, cooled chocolate and oil with the help of a spatula until completely combined.

Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and cook in the middle of the oven for 1 hour 30 minutes. Then cover the cake with foil and bake for a further 30 minutes. Remove from oven and leave to cool on a wire rack.

To make the topping, melt the remaining chocolate then remove from the heat to add the coffee (if using) and vanilla extract, and then the honey. Set aside for 15 minutes before topping the cake.

Decorate with flowers if you wish.

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Patricia Rain
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I was given a small bottle of Rain’s Choice in a gift basket and I have been hooked ever since. The flavor makes all of my baking so much better! I will never use grocery store vanilla again!

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