This past week have been incredibly difficult for our little country, but we have risen with grace and solidarity. Sending aroha and strength to the Muslim community and people of Christchurch.
These sweet little cakes have a pleasing balance of tartness from the dried plums and earthy sweetness from roasted beetroot. Cocoa is the obvious addition to compliment these flavours resulting in rich autumnal cakes to serve for afternoon tea or add to lunch boxes.
This recipe can also be made into one big cake, instructions are included below. Or go fancy and decadently dress the cakes with a simple Olive Oil Ganache to keep with the (quite unintentional, on my part) dairy-free theme.
Here’s how: set a small mixing bowl over a pan of gently simmering water. Add 100g dark chocolate (70% minimum cocoa solids) and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Once melted remove the bowl from the heat, cool a little, then drizzle over the cakes.
I love having pre-roasted beetroot on hand to add to salads, slice for sandwiches, or puree into cakes. When I have the oven heated to bake bread, I often add a dish of whole beets as follows:
Top and tail three to four similar-sized beetroot (reserve any greens to cook like spinach or silverbeet – delicious in a spanakopita filo pie), and put into a small-lidded baking dish.
Cover and roast for 50-60 minutes until an inserted knife glides easily into the flesh. Cool the beets, then slip off the skins and store whole or sliced in a lidded container in the fridge for up to a week.
Dried Plum (Prune) & Beetroot Chocolate Cakes
- 1 medium roasted beetroot, about 150g – see directions above
- 8 dried prunes or semi-dried plum halves – recipe below
- ½ cup 125ml neutral oil (such as grapeseed or rice bran)
- ¼ cup maple syrup or sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup white flour, or gluten-free flour mix
- 1/3 cup cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Line a muffin tray with eight muffin cases.
Slip the skin from the roasted beetroot and cut into wedges. Roughly chop the prunes or semi-dried plums and place in a food processor along with the beetroot, oil, maple syrup and eggs. Blend until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed.
Add the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and baking soda to the processor and pulse six times. Scrape down the sides and pulse several more times until the mixture is just combined.
Spoon the batter evenly into the muffin cases and place into the oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes until an inserted skewer comes out clean. (Or make a cake using a 20cm cake tin and bake for 30-35 minutes). Cool the cakes in the tray for five minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.
Once cool, store in an airtight container and enjoy within five days.
It is essential to use firm-fleshed plums when dehydrating such as omega, black doris or my German husband’s favourite, zwetschgen prune plum. The semi-dried plums, as the name suggests, won’t be 100 per cent dry so are best stored in a jar in the fridge and used within one month.
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Drying time: 18-24 hours
Halve the plums, remove the stones and arrange in rows on lined baking trays. Or arrange on dehydrator trays.
Place the trays into the oven and set to fan force on the lowest temperature possible. My oven goes as low as 50°C but others may be around 70°C. Wedge the handle of a spoon into the door to keep it slightly ajar to assist with airflow. Leave to dry for 18-24 hours until the plums have reduced in size by about a third and are plump to touch. Alternatively, use a dehydrator on the fruit setting (about 45°C) for the same time. Store in a jar in the fridge.
*Recipe first published Wednesday 13th March on Stuff.co.nz.