Matt’s Beetroot & Chocolate Cake
Prep time: 15-20 mins
Cook time: 40-45 mins
100g rice flour
100g oats, blitzed
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
75g cocoa powder
175g caster sugar
250g (about 4 small) cooked and peeled beetroot
200ml vegetable oil
Recipe donated by Matt Williamson of Table of Delights for Veg Power. Photography by Mike Lusmore.
This beetroot and chocolate cake is a winner. There isn’t anyone who won’t like this. We served this cake in Bristol, Bath and London to over 1,000 children as part of The Table of Delights theatre show, and there was never a crumb left. It’s very easy to make: simply mixing wet ingredients into dry. I’ve blended dry oats here in the recipe, but you could use same quantity ground almonds instead if you like. This cake keeps for up to 5 days if well sealed, though I shouldn’t imagine it will last that long!
Preheat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Grease and line a 20cm cake tin with baking paper.
Blitz the oats dry in a food processor until broken down and powdery, about 1 minute.
Mix the rice flour, blitzed oats, bicarbonate of soda, cocoa powder and sugar in a large bowl. In a food processor or liquidiser, puree beetroot and then add eggs one at a time, whizzing in between each addition. Pour in the oil and process until smooth.
Add the beetroot, egg and oil mixture into the dry ingredients and mix well to combine. Pour into the prepared tin and bake for about 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean and the cake is firm to touch. Set aside to cool completely before serving.
Kids who engage regularly with veg through veg-themed activities, such as arts and crafts, sensory experiences, growing and cooking are shown to be more likely to eat the veg they engage with. Encouraging kids to engage and play with veg is the handy first step to them developing a good relationship with veg and life-long healthy eating.
Kids in the kitchen
Kids can do any part of this with help from parents, but will particularly enjoy blitzing the beetroot!
While getting kids to interact with veggies for real and using their senses to explore them is best, encouraging hands off activities like arts & crafts, puzzles & games or at-home science experiments can be a great start, particularly for those who are fussier eaters or struggle with anything too sensory. Use these veg-themed activities as a stepping stone to interacting with the veg themselves. We have loads of crafty downloads here, puzzles here, and quirky science with veg here.
Once you feel your child is ready to engage a little more, you can show them how to explore the veg you have on hand with their senses, coming up with playful silly descriptions of how a veg smells, feels, looks, sounds and perhaps even tastes. Find ideas, videos and some simple sensory education session ideas to get you started here.
The moments before food is offered can be a perfect opportunity for engagement that can help make it more likely a child will eat it! Giving children a sense of ownership in the meal can make a big difference to their feelings going into it and the pride they take in it. You know your child best, but if you aren’t sure where to start, we have some fun and simple ideas for easy roles you can give them in the serving process over here.
Vic Borrill (Brighton & Hove Food Partnership)
David & Stephen Flynn
Jason Leonard OBE