Superpowers and the Chocolate Beet Cake

Photo by Otto Smith. Age 7
That girl is a delicate flower
A super hero.
Being a single mom helped
Develop her superpower.
-Shrone Hurt

The Smith Homestead has changed mightily over the past year and a half. Entire rooms of the house were given new purpose -- furniture rearranged to fill gaping holes left…which can also be said for places of my heart and soul that needed a rearranging of priorities and dreams.

In the current season of life, its without question that I am to be giving new purpose to some old rooms in the home of my heart. God has nudged me a crazy number of times recently to finally clear out the dust bunnies associated with loss. Loss of love -- no matter if its divorce, death, abandonment, rejection… will literally for an undetermined season. It weakens our defenses. It completely annihilates our self-confidence. It causes us to believe lies about our worth and ability to still make impact in the world. It whispers in our ear that we can’t get our hopes up (on anything) because they will surely be dashed again.

Even if I ignored the nudging right now, He’d send along another one along in no time quick. Because I am meant to overcome this. I am meant to learn and grow and have some goals again. Ahhh…how I’ve missed the dreaming and doing of goals!

When I read that prose from a uniquely talented friend of mine recently, it resonated so deeply. To the point of goosebumps and pools of tears in my eyes.


Had I lost mine? Or set them down like Wonder Woman leaving her Lasso of Truth somewhere and forgetting where she put it? I don’t know really. All I know is his words reminded me that not only had I already possessed so much before the loss of love that is STILL mine, I can also sense within myself a whole other set of powers starting to take shape. Which kind of blows my mind because….well, lets just say…watch out world 😉

But I digress…. Lets talk chocolate.

This recipe is tweaked from my most favorite bedside cookbook – Nigel Slater’s, Tender. His other book, Notes From the Larder, is also like a dream world that I get lost in regularly as well. If you don’t want to go through the process of roasting beets for this recipe, Trader Joes makes them ready to go (roasted only…no pickling) over where you’d find the hummus and bad-for-you-but-oh-so-good-veggie-dips. I used a darker than dark 100% chocolate, which was a diversion from the original recipe. I also added cocoa nibs for a bit of crunch. It bakes up in a jiffy although just be forewarned, you’re gonna have a pile of dishes to wash afterwards. I actually adore washing dishes after baking so this doesn’t pose an issue for me. If dirty dishes isn’t your thing, forgo this entire recipe and eat a Hershey Bar. No judgments here.

My littlest 7 year old bear, Otto, is now the resident photographer of all things life-in-progress at the house. I love the vantage points from which he shoots. He’ll steady his hand in time – but for now, the blurriness is a perfect encapsulation of life right now. Hazy but perfect.

Not an Otto shot...

Rustic Chocolate Cake with Crème Fraîche and Poppy Seeds
Adapted from Nigel Slaters', Tender

8oz (250g) peeled & cooked beets
7oz (200g) fine dark chocolate (I used 100% cocoa solids)
¼ cup cocoa nibs
4 tbsp. cold brew coffee or espresso, warm
¾ cup (200g) butter
1 cup plus 2 tbsp. (135g) flour
Heaping tsp. of baking powder
3 tbsp. cocoa powder
5 eggs, separated
1 cup (190g) sugar
Crème Fraîche and Poppy Seeds, to serve

Lightly butter an 8-inch springform pan. You can use any size springform, really. Just watch your bake times. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Puree the cooked beets in a blender or food processor. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler. Don’t stir. When the chocolate looks almost melted, pour the hot coffee over it and stir once. Cut the butter into small pieces and stir in until it melts. Sift together the flour, baking powder, cocoa and nibs. Stir the egg yolks together. Now working gently, remove the bowl of chocolate from the heat and let sit for a few minutes. Stir in the egg yolks, mixing quickly so the eggs blend into the chocolate mixture. Fold in the beet puree. Whisk the egg whites until stiff, then fold in the sugar. Firmly but gently, fold the beaten egg whites and sugar into the chocolate mixture. Careful not to over mix. Lastly, fold in the flour mixture. Transfer to the prepared pan and bake for 40 minutes or until the cake is sponge-like on the edges and wobbly a bit in the middle. Set cake aside to cool. Serve at room temperature with the crème fraîche and sprinkling of poppy seeds.