Saturday, 6 August 2016

To beetroot, or not to beetroot? : When should you use unusual ingredients in your bakes.


A nation of us winced when Stu opted to use beetroot in his Black forest gateaux on The Great British Bake Off, those earthly notes of the humble beetroot just won't cut it when it comes to the naturally sweet taste of a black forest gateaux, but when should you dare to experiment in the kitchen, and what flavour combinations will result in baking perfection?

There's a time and a place for beetroot in your bakes, and it certainly shouldn't be used with a light flavoured sponge, the poor cakes just going to be over powered by the earthy taste, but beetroot can pair well in a fudgey chocolate cake, like this yummy cake, grating the beetroot helps to add moisture to the bake, but it's still not overpowering enough to mask over the chocolate taste.

Vegetables in cakes might seem alarmingly like some sort of hipster trend, but when you look past the trends for unusual and zany bakes you can find some rather scrumptious cake recipes to try out. We don't even bat an eyelid at a carrot cake, we're so used to that delicious flavour combination, that it's spicier cousin, the parsnip shouldn't seem so unusual to use in our bakes, it pairs well with similar spicy flavours such as ginger and nutmeg, try it with this yummy parsnip and ginger cake at Baking Mad.


But vegetables aren't the only weird ingredient that you can add to your bakes, cola has also been known to add a surprisingly sweet taste as used for Nigella's infamous Coca-cola cake, where the cola is used not just in the bake, but also for a sticky sweet glaze on top, giving your bake a sweet chocolate and caramel flavour.

Liquorice is another surprisingly tasty flavour to add to your bakes, it pairs well with spicy flavours like ginger, as well as sweet flavours like caramel. Use it for a delicious twist on gingerbread cupcakes to add some flavour to your buttercream, or swirl it into these yummy liquorice toffee cupcakes for a delicious kick to your cupcakes!

Then there's the flavours that we already know go together well, like chilli and chocolate, courgette and lime, and salt and caramel, making for a deliciously flavoursome bake.

Don't be afraid to experiment with your bakes, but for many of us there are some taste limitations that even us brave bakers aren't willing to try, you can certainly keep the beetroot out of any black forest gateaux's in the future!