Beet Chocolate Bouchons

Fun to eat bouchons with your fingers
We know beets; we know chocolate, of course. But what the heck are bouchons? They mean corks, shaped by a silicone mold used to make these little brownie-like cakes. Bouchons have a distinct tall look. They come out of the mold instantly with just one flip of the wrist. That’s what I like about silicone mold—the ease of operation. You can easily use small cupcake molds for this purpose. The height gives these bouchons a lofty and hefty structure. You do a double take; you taste the earthy note of beet in these cakes. You are sold. The earthy and playful nature of the beet chocolate bouchons are indisputable.

Beets are my favorite root vegetables. I use them often in my vegetable cooking. (Here is an example: beet avocado and pea salad.) I usually roast a bunch of beets, all at once. Much cleaner than boiling them in a pot of water, which turns lavishly red. Wrapped each beet with aluminum foil and placed them on a sheet pan. Put them in a preheated 400°F oven for roughly an hour and keep them refrigerated for later use.

Beets blend well with dark chocolate. I love the addition of vegetables in desserts. A healthful way to eat more vegetables while indulging in a rich chocolate cake.

This chocolate-beet cake also comes with a story. The story was told in Nigel Slater’s Tender, a cook and his vegetable patch. Tender is a 600 pages long master piece, the length of book I’d normally stay away. Nigel Slater is such a remarkable writer with an engaging casual writing style. You enjoy the time you spend reading about his garden project, his kitchen diaries and his recipes, while feeling inspired page after page. He draws you into his world. I want to dig my fingers into the dirt and grow my own vegetables and herbs. Smell the scent and the change of season in the air. I feel confident already that I’m a better cook, because of his simple recipes and uncomplicated instructions, at least being inspired to become one.
Cakes of various shapes enlivened with thick creme fraiche and crackle of poppy seeds
He wrote: “It is true that I am rarely happier than when making chocolate cake. I especially like baking those that manage to be cakelike on the outside and almost molten within…. There are other ways to moisten a cake, such as introducing grated carrots or, in this case, crushed beets… This is a seductive cake, deeply moist and tempting. The serving suggestion of crème fraiche is not a nod to the sour cream so close to beets’ Eastern European heart, it is an important part of the cake.”
Whatever I write here may seem totally inadequate next to how Slater described this cake. So I’ll let the cake and the recipe speak for itself. I’ll seep a cup of tea and savor the incredible, yet subtle, taste of the beet chocolate bouchons. Words are somehow falling short!

 

 

 

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