beet & grapefruit celebration cake
Updated: Aug 4, 2021
As a service to my readers, food & feast posts will always feature the recipe first, with history, folklore, and cooking tips toward the bottom of the page. For background on this recipe and helpful hints for navigating technique, scroll down! Otherwise, dive right in with the recipe below.
beet & grapefruit celebration cake
Prep time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
FOR THE CAKE
8oz red beetroots, scrubbed with top and root removed
7oz dark chocolate, chopped
¼ cup strong coffee, hot
2 tablespoons Campari or similar (optional)
¾ cup unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons Dutch process cocoa powder
1¼ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
5 eggs, separated
1 cup sugar
FOR THE GANACHE
1 cup heavy cream
¼ cup maple or corn syrup
Zest of 1 grapefruit, plus extra grapefruit zest or candied grapefruit peel to decorate
1lb dark chocolate, chopped
Begin by preparing the ganache. In a small saucepan, warm your cream and maple syrup to a simmer and remove from the heat. Stir in your grapefruit zest. Place your chocolate in a large mixing bowl and pour the hot cream mixture over the top. Allow to stand for 5 minutes, then stir slowly until the chocolate and cream are fully combined. Place in the refrigerator to chill until needed.
To begin the cake, place your beetroot in a large pan of boiling water and cook until tender – about 40 minutes. When the beetroots are soft, remove them from the pan and let cool to room temperature. Slip off the skins and place them into a blender. Puree until smooth and set aside.
Preheat your oven to 325ºF and grease a 9in springform pan.
In a double boiler or over a bain marie, melt your chocolate. Add the coffee, liqueur and butter and stir gently until incorporated.
In a separate bowl, sift together your flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
When all of the butter is melted into the chocolate, remove it from the heat. Quickly whisk in your egg yolks and sugar, followed by the pureed beetroot, and continue whisking until the mixture begins to cool. Set aside.
In a stand mixer or using an electric hand mixer, whip your egg whites until stiff peaks form. In alternating batches, fold your egg whites and flour mixture into the chocolate mixture, mixing as little as possible, until all is fully incorporated. Pour the batter into your prepared cake tin and bake for 40 minutes, or until only the very centre of the cake is still slightly tacky, but the edges are set. Remove from the oven and allow to cool fully in the tin before removing.
When the cake is cool, remove the ganache from the refrigerator. If it is too firm to spread with a knife, microwave the ganache in 10 second bursts until it reaches the desired consistency. Do not overheat. Once the ganache is spreadable, frost your cake in whatever manner you please. Garnish with grapefruit zest, candied grapefruit peel, or a dusting of raspberry powder, and serve.
This recipe is one of my favorites from The Witch's Feast. It is one I've made over and over again, and which so many colleagues have attempted and enjoyed since the book's release. And for good reason! The bright, bold flavor pairing of chocolate and citrus is a classic crowd-pleaser, and while the beets lend a deep richness to the cake itself, the addition of whipped egg whites makes the finished product light and airy. What results is an absolute chocolate bomb that doesn't leave you woozy and sugar-high- what more could you ask for?
If you've been through The Witch's Feast or have read the master list of ingredient correspondences here on my blog, you'll recognize these flavors - chocolate, grapefruit, and beets- as being traditional ingredients of Jupiter, the lucky and optimistic planet of expansion, abundance, and growth . In astrology and planetary magic, Jupiter is the greater benefic - an easy-working ally in magic of attainment & opportunity. We see these same themes appear in the flavors attributed to this sphere, which favor nutritionally dense ingredients (nuts, citrus, root veg), powerful and sweet flavors (nutmeg, chocolate, date syrup), and the traditional palettes of grand feasts (juniper, roast meats, red wine). For these reasons, this bake is termed as a "celebration cake"- designed to tribute a guest of honor in the way that only Jupiter can.
For a deeper dive into the ingredients, flavors, and energies of the greater benefic sphere, check out these resources from some of my favorite folks, which describe the energies of Jupiter in further detail -
Alchemy Works - Correspondences of Jupiter
Anima Mundi - "Herbs of Jupiter : Adaptogens + Longevity Tonics"
Austin Coppack - "Jupiter in Capricorn: Of Dark Wings and Magic Rings"
Renaissance Astrology - Selections from Agrippa and William Lily on Jupiter
Astrology.com - "Jupiterian Plants are all about abundance and growth"
Astro Zone - Susan Miller on Jupiter