The name of this dish—Beet Forest Cake—was born from the R&D behind it, as the final product took on the look of a traditional Black Forest cake. But instead of the straightforward cherry-and-chocolate profile of a Black Forest, this cake boasts roasted beets, rich chocolate brownie, crème fraîche panna cotta and orange confit. “Once all of those components came together, I knew I had a winner,” says Britt-Marie Horrocks Culey, Coquette Patisserie’s Executive Pastry Chef/Owner.
She first roasted the beets with a bit of brown sugar, coaxing out the natural sweetness, then puréed them into a flavorful mousse. The crème fraîche panna cotta created a tart counterpoint to both the beet mousse and the rich chocolate. “I was still feeling like something was missing—the dessert needed a little punch,” she says. “I came up with citrus, so I added the orange confit to the panna cotta and orange syrup to the cake.” The result is a well-balanced, eye-catching cake. Culey says easy substitutions can be made. “While these particular flavors meld together beautifully, any root vegetable can be used for the mousse component. I have a lot of luck with parsnips and rutabagas.”