Light Chocolate Cake- serves 12

February and March is birthday season in our family, which means the obligatory birthday cake or 2, or in the case of my eldest daughter, 4! – Well she was 16!
On this occasion, some of the cakes didn’t need to be gluten free, but one did, and that is where my gluten free cake ‘bible’, ‘Red Velvet & Chocolate Heartache’ by Harry Eastwood came in again. It is one of those special books, that has dog-eared pages, splattered with cake mix. The really interesting thing about the recipes is that they all include vegetables in their ingredients.
Handy if you’ve got a glut of anything or just vegetables about to ‘turn’. The other thing is that the vegetables are interchangeable, for example sweet potato instead of butternut squash (lets face it, they’re easier to peel!).
Chocolate cake is a popular choice and this one always goes down well.

3 medium free-range eggs
160g caster sugar
200g sweet potato, peeled and grated
120g white rice flour
3 tbsp. cocoa powder
80g ground almonds
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. bicarbonate of soda
1/4 tsp. slat
125ml buttermilk

50g unsalted butter, softened
200g icing sugar, sieved
50g mascarpone
4tsp cocoa powder
Small pinch of salt

  • Preheat oven to 180’/350/gas mark 4.
  • Brush the tins with a little vegetable oil (butter burns easily) and line with baking parchment. You will need two 18cm x 5cm deep cake tins.
  • Whisk the eggs and sugar in a large mixing bowl for exactly 4 minutes until pale and fluffy.
  • Add the sweet potato, flour, cocoa powder, ground almond, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt (usually get this ready in a bowl, while the egg mixture is whisking- only possible in a free standing mixer!).
  • Give it a good beat until it is combined.
  • Add the buttermilk and whisk one final time.
  • Divide the mixture into the cake tins and then bake in the centre of your preheated oven for 25-30 minutes.
  • When they are cooked, remove them from the oven allow to cool a little before removing them from their tins. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack.
  •  The icing can be made while the cakes are cooking, but the cakes can’t be iced until they are completely cooled or the icing will slide off.
  • To make the icing, beat the butter with 100g of the icing sugar in a large mixing bowl, using the back of a wooden spoon. You need to be patient, but it does work in the end.
  • When you have a nice paste, beat vigorously for 10 seconds to loosen the mixture and then add the mascarpone, cocoa powder and salt and the remaining icing sugar. Beat again to combine.
  • Pop the icing in the fridge for 15 minutes or until needed.
  • Beat again with a wooden spoon before icing the middle and top of your cake. Decorate with rice paper daisies or whatever takes your fancy!

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