This year has been full. Spectacularly full.
Not necessarily full of events or dates…yes, there’s been some travel and work projects, a few weddings, endless appointments and deadlines, ups and downs. But it’s felt full in a different sense…
This year has been full of thought and appreciation. Full of hours spent nurturing passions, reading and pondering, reflecting. Full of moments when I’ve been tested and had to trust my gut, passing on things that didn’t feel right even if they did promise financial gains. I’d rather live more frugally and avoid spending hours working in areas that don’t feed me. I am thankful that Ben and I can choose to be fully selfish and pursue our personal and professional happiness. We have our parents to thank for being phenomenally supportive – letting us live with them for periods this year, lending us their car, providing unwavering encouragement…the list goes on. Because of them we’ve been able to create this life.
And that is what this year has been about. Crafting the most nourishing life possible. We’ve done really well, I think. We are happy. I am happy. 2014 looks to be incredibly challenging and incredibly rewarding. And I am full. Spectacularly full.
So, lovelies, on this day, the last of 2013, I’d like to share with you my recent cake creation. Yes, enough self-indulgence, let’s talk about cake. Wait…
I think if I had to choose my most favourite cake I’d say…well, I’d say, “don’t make me choose one”. Then I’d barter with you to allow two choices. I’d barter with cake, of course. My new farming friend Clancy always says that the art of bartering should come back in fashion. I agree. We need more cake exchanges in our lives.
So, let’s start again. I think if I had to choose two of my most favourite cakes I’d say…well, I’d say, “that depends on my mood”…
The first would be a light citrusy delight, maybe with some spice. Like this orange almond beauty. Or perhaps this almond olive oil cake. Ok, no, it’s this cardamom snacking cake. Yes, I see I’ve mentioned three different cakes here…what’s your point?
The second option is most certainly a flourless chocolate cake. You know the kind I’m talking about – dense, fudgey and full, devilishly full. It’s the cake of my dreams. Just go ahead and serve me up a slice for breakfast, with a more than an appropriate dollop of crème fraiche to support the rich, voluptuous chocolate body. Cake for breakfast, or rather, flourless chocolate cake for breakfast, is possibly the best treat wake-up call. And PS, my favourite flourless chocolate cake recipe by Sophie Dahl indeed uses espresso powder and therefore is entirely justified in it’s breakfast existence.
Yes, I’m so dearly in favour of cake for breakfast. However if I were to serve Sophie Dahl’s version on the regular it would lose some of its sparkle. That cake tastes like a treat, and a treat it is. My beetroot quinoa chocolate cake arrived out of a desire to create a slightly more nutritious wake-up call, one that I could perhaps justify serving with greedy regularity. Amy’s two recipes for beetroot, chocolate, quinoa delights had inspired me to play with these ingredients and so that is where I started. And I ended up with a lovely and light cake, though still fully fudgey with a beautiful chocolate body. Cake for breakfast indeed. I even took some to the farm where I bartered cake for farm knowledge. That’s a good deal, I think.
Happy new year, friends. I hope 2014 is full for you. Full of chasing passions, full of beetroot quinoa cake, full of living this life.
Beetroot Quinoa Chocolate Cake
200g quality Dark Cooking Chocolate (at least 70% cocoa)
1 cup grated fresh Beetroot
1 cup Cooked Quinoa
1 & 1/4 teaspoons Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/3 cup melted Unsalted Butter (~85g solid weight)
4 large Eggs, separated (or 3 duck eggs)
1/2 cup Milk
1 tablespoon Honey or pure Maple Syrup
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Grease and line a 20cm springform cake tin.
2. Break up the chocolate and blend in a food processor until very fine. Add the grated beetroot, cooked quinoa, baking powder, salt, melted butter, egg yolks, milk, honey or maple and vanilla and puree until smooth.
3. Whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold the egg whites through the chocolate batter (starting with 1/3 of the egg whites then the rest). Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin and smooth the surface.
4. Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. My oven usually cooks this cake in 35 minutes.
5. Serve with creme fraiche, mascarpone or greek yoghurt. Slices of this cake (wrapped in plastic wrap) freeze excellently.