- Preheat oven to 180 C / 160 C fan / Gas 4. Arrange muffins cases in two 12-hole muffin tins.
- Puree the beetroot in a food processor or in a bowl with a stick blender. Squeeze the lemon juice over and mix well.
- Cream together the butter and sugar in a separate large bowl; add eggs one at a time, with the vanilla extract, and beat until creamy and smooth. Pour in the beetroot puree and mix well to combine.
- In another bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, bicarb, ground almonds, and cocoa powder together with a fork. Add the chopped chocolate pieces and mix well to ensure all pieces are coated. (Coated chocolate pieces will not sink to the bottom during baking.)
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix well. Remember, this is gluten-free, so you don't have to worry about over-mixing the dry with the wet. In fact, incorporate as much air as you can.
- Spoon the cake mixture into the muffin cases, filling only to 3/4 full to allow for a good rise. The mixture should 'dollop' and hold its shape as it is dropped.
- Bake for 18 minutes or so, turning trays halfway through for even baking, until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remove from the oven, and remove the muffins from the trays and place on a cooling rack to cool before enjoying.
You can frost these if you like with any icing of your choice, or dust with icing sugar - just make sure they are completely cool first. You can also scatter the tops with sprinkle decorations, or mini white chocolate chips; if you do this, the muffins should be warm [not hot] so the decorations stick.
You can add 1 tablespoon coffee or espresso granules, 1 tablespoon almond extract, or the grated zest of 1 large orange for interesting flavour alternatives.
You can make two 9" x 5" loaves from this recipe - grease two loaf tins and dust with cocoa powder, and increase baking time to around 35 minutes. (Remember with GF loaves to let them cool in the loaf tins before removing them.)