Happy Friday the 13th (and almost Valentine's Day) Real Foodies!
Well, what more could one's heart desire than some pretty little heart-shaped chocolate cakes with a gooey melting centre on Valentine's Day (or any day for that matter)?
As much as I love my Olly, love my friends and family, love the people I work with, and love life (yes I am a confirmed lover of love), I find Valentine's Day a bit, well... not really to be about love. It seems to be an artificial reminder to people who perhaps don't cherish their loved ones the other 364 days of the year to run around and buy them things as well as a dreaded annual marker for singletons to feel bad about their current relationship status- both of which seem silly to me. Please do me a favour and don't reserve love spreading for one day of the year or to just one person; every day should be about spreading as much as love as possible!
So whether you're single, in love or just a human-alive-on-Planet-Earth, why not spend this Valentine's Day spreading the Love with a capital "L" and think about how you could brighten someone else's day with a small gesture. Maybe with a little chocolate cake?
These little fondant cakes are a Bain-Marie twist on a French classic coeur fondant au chocolat, with the earthy (and nutritious) addition of beetroot. This is NOT one of my "let's add vegetables to everything" moments: beetroot and chocolate are genuinely a traditional marriage in cakes, due to beets' natural sweetness and their high moisture content, giving rise to a gorgeously earthy and moist chocolate cake with a melting heart. Mmmmmm...
Oh and it's gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free and refined sugar-free and man oh man, you would never know! Even for those of you who don't like beetroot, I guarantee you will love this recipe! You really can't taste the beetroot (I promise as I used to be one of those beetroot haters), so it's a great way to sneak in vegetables for the kids or those fussy adults (you don't have to tell them that there's vegetables in the cakes).
It's no news to anyone how powerful beetroots are for your health. Beetroots are known for their high antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and detoxification properties, as well as for boosting stamina and making muscles work harder. In fact, research has shown that beetroot can help reduce blood pressure and thus its associated heart risks.
And chocolate, despite its reputation as an unhealthy food, (due to its heavy processing and refining in most readily-available chocolate treats), is actually an ancient superfood bursting with antioxidants and essential nutrients. Chocolate, or raw cacao, in its unroasted and minimally processed form contains generous amounts of magnesium, iron and zinc and is full of happy chemicals like serotonin and tryptophan. HAPPY DAYS!
So what are you waiting for? Let's get baking and spreading the loooooooove this Valentine's Day! Make these lovely little chocolate cakes (in round ramekins if you don't have any heart-shaped ones) and treat the one you love, yourself, your mummy, a homeless person or any unsuspecting person... to a divine little treat that is good for the heart on so many levels...
With much love and melted chocolate,
Beetroot & Chocolate Fondant Cake
Makes approx 10 ramekins or heart shaped cakes
250g (around 2 cups) raw organic beetroot, grated (or beetroot pulp leftover from juicing)
100g ground almonds (1 cup) (or almond pulp leftover from nut milking)
150g organic gram flour (1 cup)
100ml (2/3 cup) organic olive oil
125ml (1/2 cup) pure maple syrup (ideally Grade B)
100g dark chocolate (50-70% or higher), broken into pieces
3 free-range organic eggs
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
5 tbsp organic raw cacao powder
a pinch of sea salt
For the melting centres:
100g dark chocolate, (save for step 6 this becomes the melting centre)
1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.
2. Melt the 100g of chocolate in a bain-marie or in a small saucepan on the lowest heat.
3. Add maple syrup and olive oil and stir until the chocolate is completely melted. Allow to cool before adding to the rest of ingredients.
4. Remove from heat. Grate the beets and place in a food processor. Cracks eggs into food processor.
5. Place all dry ingredients into a food processor. Add the cooled melted chocolate mixture and blend thoroughly for a few minutes.
6. Grease small ramekins, cupcake moulds (or heart-shaped ramekins if you have some) with coconut oil or butter. Pour enough cake batter so it fills the ramekin 1/3 of the way, then lay a piece or 2 of dark chocolate and cover with the same amount of cake so it is filled 2/3 of the way (giving enough space for the little cake to rise).
7. Bake for 25 minutes or until the top is dark and slightly cracked.
8. Sprinkle some raw cacao powder through a sieve on top of cakes (optional). Enjoy hot with some greek yoghurt, creme fraiche or coconut whipped cream!