Mind you, a polenta cake may have been more sensible and my kitchen may not look like a crime scene if I had stuck to that plan, but ohhhh well.
Beetroot added to cake sounds disgusting but is actually probably one of my favourite methods because when done well it yields a wonderfully sticky, moist and fudgey texture to a chocolate cake. This cake is no different however the lack of sugar means that it tastes rather... uhm, earthy. Whilst there is some definite sweetness to the taste it's not overwhelming and if your taste buds are tuned to sweetness like most peoples are when presented with a slice of cake then you'll probably dislike this quite a lot. I am in two minds whether I like it or not. I mean, I don't dislike it, but I wouldn't go crazy over making it again in this form. I'd happily make another beetroot cake!
The ganache and strawberries really save this cake even though the ganache definitely defeats the object of not using refined sugar. Whilst we're tentatively on the subject of what you can legitimately use in a sugar free cake, I think we need to have a brief discussion about how a) what you bake on the show should probably be edible and b) how a cake is a sweet item, and not a savoury one, so not including any sugar at all would not yield a cake at the end. Yes, honey, maple syrup and agave syrup are all still sugars but then so are fruits (fructose) and natural sweeteners such as Xylitol and stevia. I saw the challenge as more of a 'Don't make a cake using your traditional grain sugars' rather than 'Don't use any sweet ingredients at all'.
Once again, I've slightly adapted a recipe I've found online, this time it's from The Wholesome Cook.
3 cups self raising flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarb of soda
6 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tsp Chinese five spice powder
1 cup of raw grated beetroot
2/3 cup of olive oil
2/3 cup of honey
1 1/3 cup of cold water
2 tbsp vanilla extract
250g dark chocolate
275ml double cream
Oven temp: 150 degrees fan. Line a spring release tin with greaseproof paper.
Combine all the dry ingredients with the beetroot and mix well.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients and combine with the dry. Fold in gentley with a wooden spoon.
Transfer to the pre-pared tin and bake for 30 - 35 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.
To make the ganache put the double cream in a glass bowl over a bain marie until warm (don't boil it). Add the chocolate and remove from the heat, stir until all melted. Chill in the fridge for two hours or until set enough to spread on the cake.