Ottolenghi's Beet Ginger Cake

This was the first recipe I tried from the new beautiful book SWEET by Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh.

I chose the beet ginger cake, because I love beets, and thought it would be different.

I have to say, while we did like this cake very much, there could have been some problems with the baking, had I not read David Lebovitz's post before making it.

The original recipe wants you to bake the cake at 375F for 55-60 minutes.
David says bake the cake for 30-40 minutes at only 350F. David was right on.

My cake only took 40 minutes, and I probably could've taken it out at the 35 mark.

My cream cheese icing also came out odd from the recipe. It was lumpy.....there was no butter in the recipe, so maybe that's why? I used powdered sugar on top instead, and tossed the icing.

Shouldn't be that difficult to bake a cake!

The original recipe has you grind in a vitamin C tablet to keep the beets red.
I did not do that, and my cake had nice red streaks thru.

Ok, now that we have the potential problems out of the way.....the cake was nice. Spicy and earthy.
Would I make it again?

Probably not. But here's the recipe anyway.

Beet Ginger Cake (adapted from SWEET & David Lebovitz):

1/2 cup (100g) finely chopped candied or crystalized ginger
1 2/3 cups (200g) flour
3/4 cup (150g) sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder, preferably aluminum-free
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large red beets, peeled and grated
finely grated zest of one orange
2/3 cup (75g) toasted walnuts, chopped
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/4 cup (60g) sour cream
1/2 cup (125ml) sunflower or canola oil
3/4 teaspoon Fruit Fresh, or 1 (1500mg) vitamin C tablet, crushed to a fine powder (optional)

Butter an 8-inch (20cm) square or round pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC).

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the grated beets, orange zest, walnuts and candied ginger to the bowl, but do not stir in (not sure why, but I followed the rules).

Whisk together the eggs, sour cream, oil, and Fruit Fresh or vitamin C is a small bowl.
Pour the mixture over the dry ingredients in the large bowl and use a spatula to mix the ingredients together, stirring just until thoroughly combined. The batter will be pink and thick.

Scrape the batter into the prepared cake pan, even the top, and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 40 minutes.

Remove the cake from the oven and let cool for 30 minutes on a wire rack, then remove the cake from the pan, peel off the parchment paper, and let cool completely before either frosting or dusting with powdered sugar.


Bebe said…
Unusual recipe. It sounds as though not mixing those things that would usually come last into the flour mixture may be to keep them from becoming coated with flour and perhaps unable to incorporate with the ingredients to come? It is a very odd recipe from a part of the world that doesn’t do cakes as we know them?

Middle-Eastern version of carrot cake with beets?
Stephanie said…
Thanks for the honest review of the recipe. If you had trouble with the recipe and you bake many recipes then it is probably a good sign that it will give others trouble as well.
Bebe said…
Sort of off topic, but not really, it reminds me of a more expensive and time-consuming fiasco I involved myself in years ago. A pretty good seamstress and tailor, I found a great Vogue pattern and some wonderful wool and went ahead with it. Turned out to be the most unbecoming dress ever. I think I wore it one Easter.

Things happen …. best if they are inexpensive and don’t require too much time. But we move on. I sewed again, undaunted by this failure.

(And yes, Stacey, it was so good of you to warn this was sort of a klinker.)