Sunday, March 13, 2011

Happy Bloody Birthday: Beets in Dessert

C turns 32 years of age today. I get to tease him about being the senior citizen in residence until late this summer, when I catch up. I wanted to make something original yet delicious to celebrate C's special day, so I prepared a chef-inspired chocolate cake (Mike Isabella) and sorbet (Todd Gray) combo. I came up with the recipe for the "deep"  chocolate cake (as in root-inspired, hehehehe, I love a pun) by researching some classic applesauce cake recipes (for reference in incorporating pureed beets) and flourless chocolate cake recipes (shooting for really deep and luxurious chocolate flavor). To make the "blood" orange sorbet, I incorporated some elements of orange sherbet (sherbet being one of my favorite childhood desserts) and some elements of more classic pureed fruit sorbets.

Everything turned out really well (I write in the passive voice here because both are almost polished off). For proof, check out my pretty picture from my new SLR camera (this was taken after one week of my photography class, so I'm hoping my culinary shots will only improve from here; either way, I'm happy with the shot I was able to create). The cake was deep in chocolate flavor, but with an undertone of earthiness and a exceptionally moist texture from the beets. The sorbet was a nice balance between sweet and tart, and really refreshing, particularly when paired with the rich cake.

Deep Chocolate Cake
2 cups flour
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 tbsp. cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup very cold milk
2 eggs
1 tbsp. vanilla 
1 1/2 cups pureed beets (approx. 4 medium beets, roasted, peeled, and pureed in blender)
6 oz. high cacao count (60% preferred) bittersweet chocolate

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a springfoam pan with olive oil. 
  2. Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Set aside. 
  3. In a stainless steel bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, using an electric mixer set on medium speed. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Blend in the vanilla extract. Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the pureed beets.   
  4. In a double boiler (I usually just place a glass mixing bowl over a sauce pan), melt the chocolate. Fold in the chocolate a little at a time to the batter, mixing on low speed. 
  5. The batter will get sticky and thick because the chocolate is hot, and it will begin the cooking process. Temper by gradually adding the milk.
  6. Pour the batter into the pan (it will appear a little grainy, but will smooth out in the baking process). Bake at 350 degrees 45 minutes or until a knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a wire rack.
    "Blood" Orange Sorbet
    3/4 cup sugar
    3-4 oranges, peeled and divided into sections
    3/4 cup pureed and chilled beets (approx. 2 beets, roasted, peeled, and pureed in blender)
    1/2 tsp. kosher salt
    1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
    1 tsp. vanilla 
    1 1/2 cups very cold whole milk
    1. Keep all ingredients cold until just before beginning. 
    2. Place orange sections in food processor and pulse until pureed evenly. Add beets and mix well. 
    3. Then combine all of the remaining ingredients except the milk and process until the sugar is dissolved, approximately 1 minute. Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl and whisk in the milk.
    4.  Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker and process until it is the consistency of soft serve ice cream. It can be served immediately or transferred to a sealed container, and frozen for 3 hours until firm.


    Manimal said...

    A delicious birthday treat!

    Angela said...

    This sounds delicious, and that photo is beautiful.