Chocoberry Cake

What is there to do when one is stuck in Friday night traffic for close to three hours? Why, devise a new concept for cake, of course! I was on my way on Friday night, the rain beating down on my windshield, hungry and craving for everything under the sun, when I thought of a dessert my friend Nisa and I used to indulge ourselves with every now and then. The Chocolicious Sundae from Delicious was our favourite, and we recreated it several times for potlucks and barbecues. And boy, I got a sudden hankering for it the other night.

However, I wasn't really in the mood to have a solitary dessert outing (seriously... nobody wants to spend time with me when I'm home in Setia Alam), so I wondered if I could make a cake version of it instead. The elements of the dessert are simple: chocolate, meringue, strawberries and ice cream. Voila, my Saturday baking excursion was planned.

I present to you, the Chocoberry cake! Wow, terrible name. It's a work in progress, please excuse me. I welcome suggestions for a better name *points to comment box*.

Chocolate Beet Cake
  • 1 large beet (or 2 small-medium ones) - 3/4 cup grated for the cake, 2 tbsp grated for the frosting
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 170g butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2/3 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 cup natural yogurt
  1. First of all, some prep work: Wrap the beets (unpeeled, just trimmed of greens and scrubbed clean) in foil paper, wipe down with the vegetable oil and pop in the oven for an hour or so at 200C, or until a knife poked through the beets go through easily. When they're ready, remove and cool for a while, then peel and grate the beets on the fine grate of a box grater and set aside
  2. Preheat the oven to 180°C and line your 8x8 round baking pan with butter and parchment paper
  3. Combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda & powder and salt in a medium bowl and set aside
  4. Cream the butter and sugars until light, then beat in the eggs (one at a time), vanilla and beets
  5. Beat in half of the flour mixture until incorporated, then pour in all the buttermilk, followed by the rest of the flour when the milk has mixed completely
  6. Divide the batter between your pans, and bake for 30-35 minutes or until a skewer poked through at an angle comes out clean. You don't want to overcook this cake, trust me. When it's done, allow the cakes to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then move onto a cooling rack to cool completely

Balsamic reduced strawberries
  • 2 cups chopped fresh strawberries
  • 5 tbsp brown sugar 
  • 3 - 4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Preheat oven to 180°C, toss chopped strawberries in sugar and balsamic in a baking tray and roast for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely

Whipped cream
  • 200ml double cream, chilled
  • 1 tsp vanilla
Chill your mixing bowl and whisk, then pour the cream and whisk until soft peaks form, pour in the vanilla and continue to whisk until stiff peaks form. You need the cream to be thick to hold the weight of the cake layer on top. Stir through half of the roasted strawberries and dollop half of the cream on top of one layer of cake, top with the second layer, then spread remaining cream over the top

Meringue topping
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1 cup caster sugar
Preheat oven to 180°C/fan. Whisk the egg whites until foamy, then gradually add all the sugar and continue to whisk on high speed until mounds form (not too stiff). Spread the meringue mixture onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper, and pop into preheated oven, drop the temperature to 165° and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven when done (tap the meringue with the back of a spoon to check doneness) and allow to cool completely. 
Now you've got all the components of the cake done, just crack the meringue into large pieces and arrange on top of the cake, then finish by drizzling remaining roasted strawberries on top.
Serve to mum's friends and gracefully accept the admiration

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