Whenever some one reads my Red Velvet cake recipes (Eggless red velvet cake, Red velvet cake), I get a query about substituting the food colour with something healthier. I have tried with beetroot juice, ground beetroot but the colour of the cake was not as effective as the ones I made with food colours. Then one day I came across beetroot powder which was sold commercially. It was expensive and was not available anywhere near my area. Some how I forgot about all these after some time. Recently, I was watching Master-chef Australia and there was one master class by Gary (he is one of the chefs anchoring the show – for those who don’t watch Master-chef) He did a monochromatic dish with beetroot and finally sprinkled the whole dish with beetroot powder. And he also gave a tip about making it at home. This actually made me remember all about the queries I was getting. So one fine day I tried to make my own beetroot powder at home and I was so excited with the result. The process is very simple but it takes nearly a day to dehydrate the beetroot. What we are going to do is, peel the beets and slice it in a mandolin slicer. And these thin slices are spread out on baking trays as a single layer and placed in oven at the lowest heat setting. The water content in the beetroot is totally evaporated in that mild heat and we will be getting crispy beet flakes. These flakes are then ground to a fine powder! That is it. Isn’t it simple. I am yet to test it in recipes but when I poured water into the mixer the resultant water was so lovely red in colour. So I am so optimistic that the cake would also turn good in colour.
Updates: I am updating the post with all the queries from readers.
Oven is not the only way to dehydrate the beetroot slice. You can use microwave or if it is extremely hot and sunny in your place, you can opt for sun drying.
And the time taken to dehydrate the slices depends on how thin the slices are. Mine are slightly thick and I think that is why it took a day for the drying. But if you can slice it extremely thin, the time taken will be drastically lowered.
Someone asked whether grating beetroot will work. I think grating will result in loss of so much juice and in turn the colour. But it doesn’t hurt to try.
How much electricity would the oven take for a day of dehydration? – I have no idea. I felt this was way too easier than roaming around the city in search of the powder. So if you are worried about your electricity bills, then go for sun drying. It will be economical. But it can only be seasonal.
Note 0n Using the powder: Mix a spoon full of the powder with a tablespoon of water and set aside for it to dissolve. Varying the quantity of water and the powder will give you various shades of red. Add it to the recipe instead of food colours.
Beetroot 2 medium sized
Wash and peel the skin of beetroot.
Slice it into thin slices using a mandolin slicer.
Spread it as a single layer on baking trays.
Heat oven to the lowest temperature setting.
Place the trays in oven and let the beets dehydrate for a day.
When the beets are very crispy, remove from oven and transfer to a clean mixer jar.
Grind it to fine powder. It will be very fine, so don’t open the jar immediately. Allow it ten minutes to settle before opening the lid.
Carefully transfer to an airtight jar and store in refrigerator until further use.