|As you can see, I undercooked it.|
This is the second quick bread that I made for February's Daring Baker's Challenge.I'm always happy to reduce flour in favour of vegetables, and I've made the ubiquitous chocolate bean cake in the past just to prove to myself that it doesn't taste of beans (it doesn't really, especially after a few days). I liked the idea of beets paired with chocolate because of the sweet, earthiness of beets. And the colour. The beets turned the batter (and my fingers) a bright, pinky red. You can see the red tone in the loaf.
I'm not going to say that it was impossible to taste the beets in the finished bread, but if you didn't know that beets were the secret ingredient, I doubt you'd be able to name them as that vague extra flavour. This was eaten up very quickly indeed. If you added some of the variations that Luna Café suggests, like ginger and pepper, I imagine the beets would be even harder to detect.
I've mentioned before that I'm not a huge cake fan, and so when I do make cakes I want them to be as moist as possible (like the grapefruit cake). As a result of my dry-cake-fear, I undercooked this loaf and that's why the centre collapsed like that. (Of course, this isn't a cake, it's a quick bread. Honestly. It's not even that sweet!) Trust your skewer test and you should get a nice, domed loaf. Well. . . maybe. The original recipe calls for Scharffenberger cocoa powder, which is a natural cocoa as opposed to an alkalized (or Dutch processed) cocoa. The only cocoa powder that is stocked in the regular grocery stores around my place is Fry's cocoa, which is alkalized. I hear that the opposite is true in much of America, where Nestle's cocoa tends to be the most available. If I go to the fancy European Panty I can get Ghirardelli cocoa which is natural, but it costs twice as much without even considering all of the other delicious things that I am compelled to buy when I go there. The two types of cocoa have a different pH (Dutch processing reduces the acidity, changing the pH from about 6 to 7.5ish) and this can effect how the eggs in your recipes set. If you've ever swapped in natural cocoa for alkalized cocoa in a chocolate cake recipe, and ended up with a goopey mess, the difference in pH might be your culprit. For all I know, my swapping in of a Dutch processed cocoa might have altered the recipe a bit resulting in my collapse. (The recipe also calls for twice the baking powder/soda needed to leaven one cup of flour, which should have tipped me off that it was calling for natural cocoa since baking soda is often used to neutralize cocoa a bit.) Yummy, nonetheless!
Chocolate Beet Loaf Recipe
(source: Luna Café)
What you'll need:
1 cup (128 g) AP flour
1/2 cup (34 g) natural cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup (112 g) vegetable oil (Luna Café suggests that butter improves the flavour, but oil will give you a moister cake)
1/2 cup (100 g) sugar
1/2 cup (110 g) brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups (128 g) finely grated peeled red beets (I think I used about 2 medium beets)
Preheat your oven to 350° F. Butter your loaf pan and then coat it with a light layer of flour. I used cocoa instead of flour, and in retrospect I would suggest lining it with parchment paper, too (especially if you're going to accidentally under-bake it).
Whisk together your flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and set aside.
Using your mixer or your elbow grease, whisk together the oil, sugars, eggs and vanilla until smooth.
Stir in the grated beet until evenly distributed, then fold in the flour mixture just until it is all mixed in.
Pour the batter into your loaf pan and stick it in the oven for 40 minutes until a skewer stuck in the centre comes out clean or with just a few crumbs.
|Okay, unphotogenic. Let's get on to the next loaf!|