Baking | Dark Chocolate Beetroot Cake with Peanut Butter Filling … Daring Bakers & Hidden Veggies!

“The beet is the melancholy vegetable, the one most willing to suffer. You can’t squeeze blood out of a turnip…” Tom Robbins

Dark Chocolate Beetroot Cake with Peanut Butter Filling

A Dark Chocolate Beetroot Cake with Peanut Butter Filling seemed the best way to hide my gardens bumper crop of this earthy red vegetable. Veggies in my cakes are not new. I’ve made a Chocolate Beetroot Cake in the past, as also Tartines Zucchini & Orange Marmalade Tea Cake, and a Double Chocolate Zucchini Cake. However, the kids have grown up and are pretty much smarter now. They instantly pick the veggies out. More often than never, the poor beet gets the boot.

Dark Chocolate Beetroot Cake with Peanut Butter Filling

Ruth from Makey-Cakey was our March 2013 Daring Bakers’ challenge host. She encouraged us all to get experimental in the kitchen and sneak some hidden veggies into our baking, with surprising and delicious results!!

Dark Chocolate Beetroot Cake with Peanut Butter Filling Beets in soup didn’t work; the son hated the red even as my heart sang at the colour. Beets in veggie juice was given a thumbs down … “Do you have to Mama?“. Even the roasted beet salad that I love, didn’t work. Beet greens though went down happily in these Lamb & Beet Green Calzones.

Dark Chocolate Beetroot Cake with Peanut Butter Filling  Getting the veggies down isn’t as much a battle any more actually. The daughter LOVES char-grilled broccoli. Pizzas are made with a mushroom sauce, topped with an abundance of balsamic roasted thinly sliced veggies – bell peppers, onions, zucchini  eggplant. Chicken and mozzarella play saviour! No one ever figures out what lies beneath!

Carrot Walnut Cake with Mascarpone Frosting Funnily enough, I made an absolutely delicious carrot cake in the first week of March. I hadn’t seen the challenge then. The veggies in that case were also home grown and not hidden in the cake. That was the best carrot cake we’ve ever eaten!

Dark Chocolate Beetroot Cake with Peanut Butter Filling  6 Dark Chocolate Beetroot Cake with Peanut Butter Filling  Obviously I was in sixes and sevens as I bravely made a beetroot cake. The Dark Chocolate Beetroot Cake wasn’t easy to ‘declare‘ and in many ways the fear was within me. I kept thinking of ways to make something good better!

Dark Chocolate Beetroot Cake with Peanut Butter Filling  The cake baked nicely in just under an hour. I contemplated filling and frosting, tossing peanut butter and chocolate in my head. Peanut butter frosting was new to me, but one suggested in the recipe. Chocolate ganache was safe, simple and always welcome.

Dark Chocolate Beetroot Cake with Peanut Butter Filling  I settled for both. Peanut butter frosting to sandwich the cake, and dark chocolate ganache for the top. It felt safe. I left a single slice for the lad, muttering that I made something in a hurry and he could have it if he wished. Dark Chocolate Beetroot Cake with Peanut Butter Filling  Came back to find both the slices on my cake platter which I had just set up for photographs gone! Crumbs!! He announced, “It was really good Mama. Was that peanut butter inside? Really nice cake!

Dark Chocolate Beetroot Cake with Peanut Butter Filling  Day 2:Is there any cake left Mama. Oh yum! It’s really nice you know. I never thought a peanut butter frosting would taste so nice”! Of course I contemplated {read forever} if I should let the beet cat out of the bag. Nah!! Decided against it. What they don’t know can’t hurt them, but the cake is going to be on the table often!

Dark Chocolate Beetroot Cake with Peanut Butter Filling

Do stop by here and check out some novel ways of hiding veggies in your baking the Daring Baker way! Thank you Ruth for the really novel challenge. Thank you as always Lisa of La Mia Cucina and Ivonne of  Cream Puffs in Venice for hosting this fab kitchen!!

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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

Baking | Lamb & Beet Greens – Calzones, Pies & Popovers …pizza dough three ways for times when you can’t think of anything better!

“I talked to a calzone for fifteen minutes last night before I realized it was just an introverted pizza. I wish all my acquaintances were so tasty.
Jarod Kintz

Calzones with lamb & beet greensCalzones, Pizza Pies & Popovers with lamb & beet greens. Pizza dough many ways because minced lamb was all that I had in the freezer. I toyed with the idea of meatballs…but NAH, too much effort! So I made pizza dough, with some whole wheat thrown in for good measure! One batch went a long way. Deliciously too. With mince lamb and beet greens, we had calzones one day, pizza pies the next, and popovers for snacks. Never a hungry moment! Pizza Pies with lamb & beet greensWhat is it with teens? Forever hungry! “What’s for fooooooood”  echoes through the house every weekend. Why do weekends seem so long? Why are so many meals involved? Why are ‘they’ so hungry? So many questions … one answer. Something pizza!

Pizza Pies & Popovers with lamb & beet greensCalzones, Pizza Pies & Popovers with lamb & beet greensIt gives me a sense of security and comfort to have a slow rising dough in the fridge. If all else fails, there is always margarita! Make ahead is good stuff! Made ahead pizza dough, even better!Beets and carrotsI’ve grown some beets and carrots in my little patch this year. When the first beet surfaced I was thrilled. MY FIRST BEET EVER! The gardener {lazy inefficient man that he is, quite good for nothing but non stop banter} was even happier. “Photo?” he queried. The camera obliged! Beets and carrots We had the little beets for salad and I didn’t know what to do with the greens. There were loads of them. Sent them for Man Fridays rabbits to munch {Coco didn’t take to them unfortunately though she loves peas and brocolli}. Then spoke to Sangeeta who suggested using the greens in salad etc since they were edible. Kanji... a fermented nutritional drink Kanji... a fermented nutritional drink A few beets and carrots also went into a fermented drink, kaanji, which is highly nutritional and a result of bacterial fermentation. The deep colour comes from ‘black carrots’ or ‘kaali gajar’ which is the star of the drink. Black carrots are available for a brief period in winter in North India. Calzones with lamb & beet greens The kaanji recipe can be found on Sangeeta’s blog. It turned out to good to be true; full of nostalgic memories of the years gone by. Fermented products are an acquired taste, and interestingly, most cultures have something to contribute.

Fermentation in food processing typically is the conversion of carbohydrates to alcohols and carbon dioxide or organic acids using yeasts, bacteria, or a combination thereof, under anaerobic conditions. Fermentation in simple terms is the chemical conversion of sugars into ethanol. The science of fermentation is also known as zymology or zymurgy.

Kanji... a fermented nutrional drinkFermentation usually implies that the action of microorganisms is desirable, and the process is used to produce alcoholic beverages such as wine, beer, and cider. Fermentation also is employed in the leavening of bread (CO2 produced by yeast activity); in preservation techniques to produce lactic acid in sour foods such as sauerkraut, dry sausages, kimchi, and yogurt; and in pickling of foods with vinegar.

Examples of fermentation across cultures include kimchi, soy sauce, miso, pickled cucumbers, quark, crème fraîche, sourdough bread, kombucha, idli, dosa, dhokla, sake, vodka, whisky, wine, fish sauce, chorizo …. the list is endless! Kanji... a fermeneted nutrional drink Sangeeta is very “fresh produce and ingredient informed“especially when it comes to local produce. She suggested that I could harvest the beet greens and use them as I like, leaving the beets below the ground. New leaves will keep appearing. Since beets are perennials, they will stay good for two years! This is what I love about food blogging. It’s a large hearted community which has the willingness to share and grow.Calzones with lamb & beet greens Then the possibilities exploded! I searched the net to find a whole load of folk do eat the beet greens, and happily so. The next bunch of leaves headed for pizza. Fingers crossed that the kids wouldn’t think I was ‘killing them with spinach‘ again. That has happened in the past which is why I shifted to purslane. It fared really well in Lamb & Purslane Pides{Turkish pizzas}!Pizza Pies with lamb & beet greens Threw in chopped onion, garlic and some sweet smelling marjoram from Sangeeta’s garden = BLISS. Life was certainly looking up suddenly. In went the chopped greens and they imparted a beautiful deep red to the onions. NICE! They wilted pretty soon. Once the lamb came into play, you couldn’t tell what ‘green’ was ‘going on in there‘.Calzones with lamb & beet greens Pizza Pies with lamb & beet greens The tiredness went, and the spices flew in. Before I knew it I was cooking up certain yumminess. Sweet paprika, smoked, adds huge flavour dimensions to minced lamb. Juberfam & Mittal do a really really nice one available locally. I LOVE it! Bell peppers went in next, basically whatever there was on hand. They were a hit!! Next time would possibly see finely chopped mushrooms too.

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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India