“Magic Red” Cake

For a bit of kosher alchemy, bake this cake as recommended by Eleri Larkum…

“Magic Red” Cake The real name of this cake is Beetroot Seed Cake – it’s a Nigel Slater recipe, and is utterly delicious, whether or not beetroot is your thing. Think carrot cake, if you’re still not sure, but slightly more nuanced. And the new name? Inspired by my  young son who helped me make it. The colour is truly stunning, and has to be seen to be believed. As does the next part, when, during the cooking process, the colour disappears. Once cooked, you’re left with an ordinary cake-coloured cake, only flecked with red. A mini miracle.
Ingredients list (in UK measurements where possible) 225g self-raising flour1/2 tsp bicarb1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

180ml sunflower oil

225g light brown sugar

3 eggs separated

150g raw beetroot

juice of half a lemon

75g raisins

75g mixed seeds (sunflower, pumpkin, linseed, pine kernels, poppy seeds, or any seeds (or nuts) you have)

for the icing:

8 tbs icing sugar

lemon juice

poppy seeds

Method (including oven temperatures etc) oven 180C grease and line a rectangular loaf tin (20x9cm)Beat oil and sugar together, add egg yolks one by one. Grate beetroot coarsely and fold into mixture, then add lemon juice, seeds and fruit. Sift the flour and raising agents together and stir slowly into the mixture. Beat the egg whites till soft peaks, and fold into the mix. Pour into the lined tin, and take a moment to admire the colour. It takes 50-55 mins, but cover with foil after 30mins to prevent the top from burning. Test it with a skewer to see if it’s done – it should be moist, but not sticky, Slater writes. Leave in the tin to cool for at least 20 mins. Make a thin icing to drizzle over the top, and sprinkle over some poppy seeds.
Tips (how many it serves; ease of preparation; any tips on preparing in advance, storing, freezing, longevity) Like any moist cake made with oil, this keeps beautifully, and possibly even improves with age. I think this would freeze well – if I were going to freeze it, I’d leave off the icing, which in any case, is rather more pretty, than essential. I’d love to try a making flourless version for Pesach, and was wondering about adapting a Pesach carrot cake – if a good one exists. Can anyone recommend one??

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