A wholesome, not too sweet cake made with whole wheat flour, beets, and olive oil instead of butter. I think the combination of whole wheat and white flour is just the right balance. If want a lighter cake, substitute white flour for the whole wheat.
For the Cake:
butter, for greasing
168 g/ 6 oz eggs (3-4 depending on size)
200 g/ 7 oz light brown sugar
325 g/ 11 ½ oz olive oil
½ tsp vanilla extract
150 g/ 5 ⅓ oz whole wheat flour
60 g/ 2 oz all purpose white flour
pinch of salt
¾ tsp baking powder
¾ tsp baking soda
zest of one orange
2 Tbsp chopped toasted walnuts
2 Tbsp poppy seeds
227 g/ 8 oz grated raw beets
For the Candied Beets:
170 g/ 6 oz granulated sugar
2 small/ 1 large beet, sliced into 1/16″ rounds
For the Icing:
½ xl egg white
150 g/ 5 ⅓ oz confectioner’s sugar
squeeze of lemon juice
Preheat oven to 175 C/ 350 F. Butter a 9 x 5 x 3 inch pan and line with parchment paper.
Beat the eggs with the brown sugar with a whisk or in an electric mixer, until pale and light. Stir in olive oil and vanilla. Then slowly mix in flours, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and orange zest. Stir in walnuts, poppy seeds, and beet. Scrape into pan.
Bake for 50-60 minutes, until a toothpick stuck in the center comes out clean. Let cool in pan 10 minutes, then remove and place on wire rack. Let cool completely before icing.
Meanwhile, candy the beets. In a saucepan bring 355 g/ 1 ½ cups water and granulated sugar to boil. After sugar has dissolved, add beet slices. Reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes until translucent.
With a slotted spoon remove beet slices and place in a single layer on a parchment lined baking sheet, shaking off as much excess liquid as possible.
Set the oven to 120 C/ 250 F. Bake until dry and slightly firm, about 1 hour.
For the icing, lightly whisk the egg white. Add the confectioner’s sugar and whisk until thoroughly blended. Gradually add lemon juice until the icing is pourable, but still thick.
Spoon over the top of the cake, letting icing drip down the sides. Add beet slices to top. Allow icing to set before serving.