I've always found the concept quite strange of putting carrots in cakes. Why would you put a vegetable you normally have with your Sunday dinner in a cake? But we do, and the thing is, it works! I absolutely love carrot cake - topped with a layer of cream cheese frosting, it's probably up there as one of my favourite afternoon treats. It has a wonderful flavour, it's beautifully moist and it's so sweet. And actually, I guess that answers my question. Carrots are sweet, so it makes perfect sense to put them in a cake. After all, sugar comes from a vegetable - sugar beet - and apparently carrots are pretty high up the scale in terms of their sugar content as well so why not substitute a bit of sugar for a slightly healthier option? In the past, when sugar was reserved only for the rich of society, it was far cheaper to grate a bit of carrot that you could grow in your own back garden than to use the much sought-after sugar. How times have changed...! A bag of sugar only costs 89p at Sainsbury's!
Anyway, I'm getting side-tracked
and probably boring you with my historic ramblings. For a while now I've wanted to have a go at putting some kind of vegetable other than carrot into a cake mix, because I'm intrigued to know whether other vegetables work just as perfectly. Well last week I decided to satisfy my intrigue, as I came across a recipe for these beetroot muffins in a Sainsbury's magazine that ended up in our letterbox. I had a lot of fun making them and spent a good twenty minutes grating a lot of beetroot and getting a lot of red all over my hands and the kitchen! But to be honest...I'm not really sure what to make of them! They're definitely sweet enough to go in a cake that's for sure and the vibrant red of the beetroot makes the cakes look tantalisingly appetising! I couldn't stop going on about how red they were every time I ate one. And I even managed to use a bit of beetroot dye to colour the icing. But I think the colour may have been the best bit about them unfortunately. You could still definitely taste undertones of beetroot which you just don't get with carrot cake and beetroot is such an earthy vegetable that sometimes it did feel as if I was eating something that had come straight from the soil! My mum and dad said they liked them, but they were probably being polite, as I don't think they were that convinced. However, I am not going to let this put me off baking with vegetables and I will be persevering! Maybe with the addition of my best friend chocolate, because that always makes everything taste a hundred times better. Anyway, I urge you to make some for yourself and let me know what you think. Because even if you don't like them, I hope you'll be impressed by their astonishing red and the fact that you've just made a cake with beetroot in!
Oh, and I have to explain the addition of the pink icing and mini eggs on top! I made them just before Easter (as you probably guessed) and felt like I had to decorate them with at least a bit of an Easter theme. But I actually prefer the plain red tops so you can show off that they have beetroot in them!
Cinnamon and Beetroot Muffins (makes 12)
500g Fresh Beetroot, peeled, trimmed and coarsely grated
300g Self-Raising Flour
100g Light Brown Soft Sugar
1tsp Baking Powder
1tsp Ground Cinnamon
180ml Sunflower Oil
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
- Line a muffin tin with 12 muffin cases.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the beetroot, flour, baking powder and cinnamon together.
- In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and stir in the oil.
- Pour this into the dry ingredients and mix together well.
- Spoon the mixture into the paper cases so they are almost full.
- Bake in the oven for 25 minutes until just risen and an inserted skewer comes out clean.
- Allow to cool and enjoy!