Chocolate Layer Cake
The cake layers can be made ahead, wrapped and frozen for future use. Always thaw cakes completely before icing.
Cocoa powder for dusting
225 g / 8 oz can cooked whole beetroot, drained and juice reserved
115 g / 4 oz / 8 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
500 g / 1¼ lb / 2½ cups (packed) light brown sugar
15 ml / 1 tbsp vanilla essence
75g / 3 oz unsweetened chocolate, melted
275 g / 10 oz / 2½ cups plain flour
10 ml / 2 tbsp baking powder
2.5 ml / ½ tsp salt
120 ml / 4 fl oz / ½ cup buttermilk
Chocolate curls (optional)
For The Chocolate Ganache Frosting
475 ml / 16 fl oz / 2 cups whipping or double cream
500 g / 1¼ lb fine quality plain chocolate, chopped
15 ml / 1tbsp vanilla essence
1. Preheat the oven to 180 C, 350 F, Gas 4. Grease two 23 cm / 9 in cake tins and dust the base and sides with cocoa. Grate the beetroot and add it to the juice. With an electric mixer, beat the butter, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla for 3-5 minutes, until pale and fluffy. Reduce the speed and beat in the chocolate
2. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl. On a low speed, alternately beat in the flour mixture (in quarters) and the buttermilk (in thirds).
3. Add the beetroot mixture and beat for 1 minute. Divide between the tins and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes, unmould and cool completely.
4. To make the frosting, heat the cream in a heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat until it just begins to boil, stirring occasionally.
5. Off the heat, add in the chocolate, stirring constantly until melted and smooth. Stir in the vanilla. Strain into a bowl and refrigerate, stirring every 10 minutes, for about 1 hour, until spreadable.
6. Assemble the cake. Place one layer on a serving plate and spread with one third of ganache. Place the second layer over and spread the remaining ganache over the top and side of the cake. If using, top with the chocolate curls. Allow the ganache to set for 20-30 minutes, then refrigerate before serving.