Chocolate and Beetroot Cake

Chocolate and Beetroot Cake

180ml sunflower oil, plus more for greasing
190g self-raising flour
60g cocoa powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
250g caster sugar
250g beetroot, cooked
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

For the Icing:
250g icing sugar
reserved beetroot juice
pink food colouring, optional
25g white chocolate, broken into pieces
25g dark chocolate, broken into pieces

1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/fan 170ºC/Gas 4.
2. Lightly oil a 23cm diameter, 7.5cm deep, round cake tin and line the base with baking parchment.
3. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa and bicarbonate of soda and stir in the sugar.
4. In a food processor, purée the beetroot, then scrape it into a sieve set over a bowl and push out the juices with the back of a spoon. Reserve the juices for the icing.
5. Tip the beetroot pulp back into the food processor, with the motor running, add the eggs and vanilla, then slowly pour in the oil. Mix until blended.
6. In a mixing bowl make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients, pour in the beetroot mixture and, with a large spoon, gently fold together.
7. Pour into the tin and bake for 45-50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
8. Remove the cake from the oven, leave it for 5-10 minutes in the tin, then turn it out on to a wire rack until completely cold.
9. For the Icing: Sift the icing sugar into a bowl. Stir in a few drops of the reserved beetroot juice or pink food colouring depending on how bright you want the colour. The icing should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. If not, add water, drop by drop, until you achieve the correct consistency.
10. Turn the cake over, so the base becomes a flat top. Pour the icing over the cake and allow to dry for at least 1 hour.
11. Place a small heatproof bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water, making sure the base of the bowl does not touch the water. Add the white chocolate to the bowl and heat until it melts. Cool slightly, then spoon into a piping bag.
12. Repeat with the dark chocolate. Snip the very ends of both bags.
13. Dilute a little more pink food colour in a dribble of water, making sure it remains darker than the icing covering the cake.
14. Drizzle and flick both colours of chocolate all over your cake canvas, then shake over the pink colour using a pastry brush or toothbrush. Be as free-form as you like, until you have produced your very own edible masterpiece.

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