The luscious red colour and fruity flavour of this strawberry velvet cake comes from a hit of strawberry jam and vibrant pureed beet.
Love should be celebrated every day of the year, but since one big non-stop party isn't a practical thing, it is nice to have a day of the year set aside to make us pause in our busy lives and actually think a little bit about what love means. There's romantic love of course, but also the love of family, friends, pets, and mankind in general. Just as important is remembering to love ourselves - actually that comes first. We need to love ourselves before we can love anyone else fully.
So here today, I give you a simple and delicious cake - bake it for someone you love, or bake it just for yourself.
It's based on an old-fashioned jam cake, but I added pureed cooked beet to deepen that lovely pink colour, a hit of citrus to freshen the flavour, and just a whisper of spice to warm it all up. It's whispering love to you.
Happy Valentine's Day.
* * * * *
Strawberries look kind of like a heart, don't they?
Kitchen Frau Notes: It takes about 30 to 45 minutes to cook the beet until tender, so do that ahead of time if you can.
I cooked up a beet specially to make this cake, but next time I cook beets for dinner, I'll cook an extra one, shred it or dice it, and put it into a baggie. I'll squeeze out the excess air before I seal it, then label it and freeze it. When I want to make this cake again, I'll just pull out that baggie, defrost it and use the ready-cooked beet to make the cake.
For the gluten free version: I haven't made this cake with any other gluten-free flour except my Favourite Gluten Free Flour Mix, and it turns out great every time. If you're using a different gluten free flour mix, you may have different results.
I find that sometimes this cake is not as red as other times I make it, and I've changed different variables to see what affects it - I think it must be the variety of beet, with some having more intense colouring than others.
Strawberry Velvet Cake
- 1 medium beet (6 oz/170gms) - about 2½ inches in diameter
- ¼ cup (60ml) oil
- 1 cup (240ml) strawberry jam
- ½ cup (100gms) natural evaporated cane sugar
- 2 large eggs
- grated zest of one orange (preferably organic)
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons (45ml) water
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1½ cups (210gms) flour (or this favourite gluten free flour mix)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup whipping cream
- 1 tablespoon confectioner's sugar
- fresh strawberries
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line the bottom of a 9-inch (24cm) springform pan with a circle of parchment paper. Grease the paper and the inside of the pan with cooking oil spray.
Cook the beet until tender when pierced with a fork. Peel it and cut it into chunks. Puree it with the oil in a food processor or blender - I use my mini-processor - until smooth.
Scrape the beet puree into a bowl. Add the jam, sugar, eggs, orange zest and juice, and vanilla. Whisk until well blended.
Add the dry ingredients, then whisk well to combine. Pour into the prepared baking pan.
Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
Cool 5 minutes, then remove the sides of the cake pan. Allow to cool on rack until completely cooled.
Whip the cream with the icing sugar. Spread on top of the cake and decorate with strawberries. Alternately, dust the top of the cake with icing sugar pushed through a sieve (you could lay a lace doily or cut-out paper heart on top to stencil a shape, then sieve the icing sugar over it) and serve with the whipped cream and strawberries on the side.
Makes one 9-inch (24cm) cake.
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