I know it’s the weekend when Mummy and I are getting ready to make another cake. Did I mention how much I love weekends? And how could you not? To start with, there are two days of sleeping in!!! I don’t know if you suffer from this, but every week for five days in a row my Daddy walks into my bedroom at some weird time and happily greets me with a ‘Good Morning’ so loud and cheerful you’d think it’s time to get out of the Happy Hut. Yes, the first few times he managed to trick me, but now I’ve learned my lesson. I know that by the time I get my taxi ride from my bedroom into the lounge room, I’ll realise outside it’s pitch black, the wind is howling, and any birdie in their right mind wouldn’t even contemplate leaving their cozy abodes…
But then the weekend is completely different. We all get to sleep in, there are really interesting things happening for breakfast (more on this some other time), and the sun is shining (or at least there is daylight) by the time I emerge from my Happy Hut.
At the weekend Mummy and I have this cake-baking ritual, which involves sampling lots of nice yummy fruit (and occasionally vegetables), nuts and all sorts of other goodies. I only spend enough time in the kitchen to ensure all ingredients have been properly selected and prepared – after all, quality is very important to all Bistro Gerard products. When my sampling is completed, it’s time to leave all the hard work (mixing ingredients, baking, washing up, etc) to Mummy, as I have got more challenging interests to pursue – such as playing or spending some time with Daddy. Besides, from what I’ve seen on TV, a good celebrity chef never really gets personally involved in all the hard work:-)
But I digress. When it comes to making cakes, I personally think my Mummy insists on this silly practice of measuring all ingredients first (and doesn’t like me jumping on the scales during the process). I, for one, don’t understand why she does it, as we all know that you should always start by choosing the yummiest ingredient (butter, for instance) and just use that in abundance. But when you run a busy kitchen, you sometimes have to let your sous chefs make some decisions, and it’s good for their professional development too.
So, here it is:
Beetroot, Fig and Walnut Cake Recipe
125 g whole wheat flour
125 g white spelt flour
125 g butter, softened, at room temperature
100 – 150 g unrefined brown sugar (we used coconut sugar). We don’t like our cakes very sweet, so we find that 100 g of sugar is sufficient for us. Using more will obviously give a sweeter result
200 g (about 2 medium or 1 large) finely grated beetroot
4 tbsp yoghurt
125 g dried figs, chopped
1 orange, juiced, rind finely grated
1 cup walnuts, lightly toasted, roughly chopped
2 tsp baking powder
1vanilla pod, seeds scraped
Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees C. Lightly grease a 9 x 5in loaf tin and line the bottom with baking paper.
Start by juicing the orange and grating the rind. Mix half the grated rind into the orange juice, set the remainder aside. Roughly chop the figs, place in a bowl and cover with the orange juice. Soak for about 1 hour or longer if time permits. If no human or feathered kids are to be involved in the sampling process, you can also add some brandy, Cointreau or Grand Marnier to the bowl of soaking figs. I am not allowed alcohol (sigh), so we’ll just stick with Mummy’s instructions now.
Roughly chop the walnuts and spread them on a wide tray. Toast them in a hot (160 degrees C) oven for about 5 – 6 minutes, taking care not to burn them. Set aside to cool.
Sift flours and baking powder in a bowl.
In a bowl, beat the eggs, sugar, butter, vanilla seeds and remaining orange zest until soft, shiny and creamy. Incorporate the grated beetroot and chopped walnuts and mix until well combined. Drain the figs, reserving about 2 tbsp of liquid. Add figs and reserved liquid to the egg mixture. Gently fold in the flour and yoghurt, mixing until everything is well combined and has an even consistency. Pour into prepared tin and bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. If you find that the cake is browning too quickly, cover with foil or baking paper and continue baking.
If you like our recipe but don’t have the same ingredients in the house, you could substitute carrot for the beetroot, raisins or sultanas for the figs and plain white flour for the whole wheat and spelt flours.