Beetroot Cake

In the last few weeks I have become fascinated by the question of popularity. The dictionary lists popularity as a noun.  Its meaning; the state or condition of being liked, admired, or supported by many people.  It’s a fair description, I think, but it does not speak to the effect of popularity or the lack thereof, and as human beings our experience with this simple noun is generally coloured by emotive.

This past week I held my baby girl in my arms while she sobbed; her eight year old heart broken into a million pieces by what was essentially her first experience of the devastation you feel when you recognize your own lack of popularity.  There are no mom words to heal this kind of heartache, all the ones that came to mind seemed silly euphemisms of “this is life” or dismissive platitudes of how mean and unfair other children can be.  I refused to say any of those things.

Instead I told her this.  I told her that is really does suck when people don’t choose you.  I told her that it is the absolute pits when someone you thought was on your side chooses someone else.  I told her that it’s really hard to be happy for someone when they are braggy and showy offy and don’t seem to care about your feelings.  I told her it was worth crying over.

And then I told her that she had a choice, and that having a choice was the very best part of any situation.  I asked her to choose to forgive, I asked her to choose to not worry about what other kids think, and I asked her to be the kind of friend that is kind and considerate, not the kind of friend that is simply popular.

And then with a burn that only a mother’s heart can feel I added one last thing.  I said Pretty Girl; I will always, always choose you.

I am not the most popular in Freshly Blogged, but having this one little girl who thinks I rock gave me great reason to pause and regain my competitive perspective.  It really is not about being popular.  Ever.

Because as Anatole France said:

“If 50 million people say a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing.”


This week’s challenge was called Posh Nosh and called on us to produce some fine dining.  We had to prepare two dishes fine dining in both recipe and styling.  You can read all about my thoughts on this process as well as vote for my recipes here.

Before I go I am going to share some link love with two of the girls eliminated from Freshly Blogged this week.  I was really bummed to see them go.  Their work was in my opinion consistently good and the competition is the poorer for not having them in it.  So to the lovely Jessica Franks from JessKa’s kitchen and the hilarious girl from Durban, Shirley Berko from CuiZine, I am sending two big virtual hugs.  It’s been really cool hanging with you and I will see you on the FAB and Twitter side of life.

What you need 
Beetroot cake 
 4 eggs, separated
1 cup vegetable oil
1 ¼ cup brown sugar
2 cups cake flour
1 ½ tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. bicarbonate of soda
½ tsp. salt
4 small beetroot, boiled, peeled and finely grated
Cream Cheese Icing
80 g butter
1 x 175 g tub of PNP Plain Cream Cheese
2 cups icing sugar, sifted
1 tsp. ground cardamom.
To decorate
Beetroot powder
Spun sugar
Fresh mint
  1. Preheat oven to 170˚C
  2. Grease and line one baking tray.
  3. Beat egg yolks, oil, sugar and vanilla until the sugar dissolves.
  4. Sift together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, bicarb and salt.
  5. Beat the flour mixture into the egg /oil mixture until just mixed.
  6. Add beetroot.
  7. Whisk the egg whites until to stiff peaks.
  8. Stir a third of the egg whites into the batter to loosen.
  9. Fold the remaining egg whites very gently into batter .
  10. Pour the batter into baking tray and bake for 30 minutes.
  11. Cool.
  12. Cut twelve equal circles from the cake.
  13. Cream the butter till pale and creamy.
  14. Add the cream cheese and beat for a minute.
  15. Add the sifted icing sugar and cardamom but don’t overbeat.
  16. Sandwich two circles together forming six cakes.
  17. Ice a crumb layer.
  18. Set
  19. Ice a second layer around the sides.
  20. Dust the bottom of each cake in beetroot powder and place on the serving plate.
  21. Spread the remaining icing evenly and neatly on the top of the cakes.
  22. Decorate with a cinnamon pastry “tuille”, spun sugar and fresh mint.
Beetroot powder
2 small beetroot, boiled and peeled
2 tsp. castor sugar
  1. Finely slice the beetroot and place on a cooling rack.
  2. Dry in a low oven at 80˚C until brittle.
  3. Place the beetroot and the sugar in a coffee grinder and grind to a fine powder.
Cinnamon puff pastry “tuilles”
1 roll PnP puff pastry
¼ cup flour
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. sugar
  1. Take a 15 cm piece from the roll of puff pastry and roll out thinly.
  2. Use the flour to make sure that the pastry does not stick to your surface.
  3. Use a ruler to guide you and cut 6 wedge shape pieces about 15cm from tip to base.
  4. Brush the pastry with the beaten egg.
  5. Mix together the cinnamon and sugar and sprinkle over the pastry.
  6. Shape the pastry over a lined mould.
  7. Bake at 180˚C for about 5 minutes, watch carefully so that it does not burn.
  8. Cool.
Spun sugar
3 Tbsp. sugar
  1. Heat the sugar over low heat.
  2. Stir only once it melts.
  3. As it turns golden remove from the heat.
  4. Use two forks to pull the sugar as it cools to form long strands.

Disclaimer:  This is a sponsored competition.  The brand and quantity of ingredients used are stipulated by the organizers and I receive Pick and Pay Smart Shopper Points each week with which to purchase the ingredients.

4 Comments on Beetroot Cake

  1. Zirkie
    September 3, 2013 at 6:32 pm (6 years ago)

    It makes me so sad if one of my children is unhappy! Children have to endure so many disappointments in life – luckily mothers will always be there to support them!! I love your recipe – the beetroot powder is such a clever idea!!

    • Sam Taylor
      September 3, 2013 at 7:02 pm (6 years ago)

      Zirkie, I cried right along with her. As for the powder it tastes like beetroot sherbet. Really fun and worth the effort.

  2. Kit
    September 6, 2013 at 8:43 pm (6 years ago)

    Well done for finding clear honest words from the heart for your girl – that’s so important. I battled with not being chosen for teams and all that at school – it was the worst – you come out the stronger for it in the end but it’s horrible to live through.
    And you’re right, even as a rational adult it still hurts not being chosen, and competitions can bring out the worst in us as well as the best, relegating us to kindergarten levels of behaviour. The best being finding new friends and supporting each other despite supposedly being in competition with each other.
    Love yor beetroot cake! Good luck with the last challenge.

    • Sam Taylor
      September 9, 2013 at 3:13 pm (6 years ago)

      I so agree Kit. Competition really does have a nasty side to it, it takes some effort to not get drawn into it. I am going to redo this beetroot cake soon adding chocolate or cocoa, will let you know how it goes.


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