Um, yep still in New Zealand. And bite 5 is:
Beetroot and chocolate cake!
I’d never heard of such a thing until I ended up at the Wild Oats café in Carterton. This town is the gateway to the southern hemisphere’s own version of Stonehenge, Aotearoa Stonehenge.
I’ve heard of carrot cake and chocolate zucchini muffins but a purple vegetable in a cake was a new concept to me. Apparently beet juice has been used to help naturally colour red velvet cake of southern USA fame. I’ve had much success myself in making red velvet cupcakes using just beet juice. The secret is getting the right balance of acidity (vinegar) and non-alkalized or natural cocoa powder to achieve that red glow.
Raw or natural cocoa powder has a bitter taste. It is treated, often with alkali, to help tame the bitterness.
The chemical reaction between these foods on opposite ends of the pH spectrum produce a red hue preventing the beets from turning the cake into a purple-people-eater type of appearance. To be honest I didn’t pay much attention to the colour of this cake; I just gobbled it up, creamy lemony icing and all.
Besides elevating a pedestrian chocolate cake, beets also have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and detoxifying properties.