Beetroot and chocolate cake – gimmick or masterstroke?

Vegetables and cake… well carrot cake works so why not beetroot. Inspired by my lovely friend Sian over at the marvellous pumpkinandpiglet who raves about the combo I rolled up my sleeves and got stuck in.

I had a look around to find a recipe I could work with and found one on an allotment website! I chose it because it was the closest thing to my mum’s chocolate fudge cake recipe, so therefore it seemed trustworthy. I just adjusted the oil levels after reading the comments.

I just want to apologise for the rather poor quality of these photos. I was in a rush to get to a barbeque so didn’t have time to take better pictures…

Chocolate & Beetroot Cake

1 and a half ozs Cocoa powder
4 and a half ozs Plain flour
1and a half tsps Baking powder
1 Pinch salt
5 and a half ozs Caster sugar
6 ozs Corn oil
1and a half tsps Vanilla essence
3 eggs beaten
1 pack or (9oz) cooked beetroot, pureed
4oz Plain dark choc (60% +), broken into small pieces


1. Preheat the oven to 375F/190C/Gas 5 and grease an (7″) round cake tin.

2. Sift the cocoa, flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl and mix with the sugar.

3. Add the oil, vanilla essence, eggs, beetroot and chocolate pieces and mix well.

4. Pour into the cake tin, put on a baking tray and bake for 50 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.

Fudge Icing

3oz butter
2oz cocoa powder, sieved
about 4 tbsp milk
8oz icing sugar, sieved

1. Melt the butter and then stir in the cocoa and cook gently for one minute.
2. Stir in the icing sugar and milk, gradually until a thick glossy fudge icing remains. If it’s too stodgy and matt-looking then add a tad more milk. Don’t go too far though or it’ll be mega runny.

The mixture has a rather lovely red tone to it.

Here’s the finished article. I’ve made the fudge icing a bit too runny, it normally would have lovely swirls on top – honest it would!

Anyway I was so curious about how it would taste… I even took the risk of taking it to the aforementioned barbeque as a dessert offering. Well thank goodness it tasted really lovely! Once it was cut up it had a gorgeous moist quality and the beetroot gave it a velvety appearance. A less toxic version of red velvet cake I think.

The flavour was rich and deep. You could taste the beetroot, but not in an offensive way. It’s hard to express, but it just works! It certainly made a good talking point at the party. I might try making them as cupcakes next time…


About Katie Bryson

Katie Bryson is a freelance food writer and blogger. She left a career in online news at the BBC to immerse herself in the culinary world, taking in courses at Leiths School of Food and Wine and an internship at Waitrose along the way. Her family food blog is bursting with recipes and tips for feeding hungry families that’ll help inspire all those frazzled parents out there wondering what on earth to cook for tea!
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12 Responses to Beetroot and chocolate cake – gimmick or masterstroke?

  1. I’m really glad you liked it! It’s one of favourite cakes. Most people can’t imagine how it tastes and I’ve even had a few yucks when I’ve spoken about it but, like you say, it just works! I think the beetroot gives an almost fruity undertone and it stays so lovely and moist.

  2. Emma says:

    I’m not a massive fan of beetroot and therefore it doesn’t sound that great but like you say carrot cake works so it might be worth a try! Looks delicious btw! xx

  3. nerunner says:

    Mmmm, I love chocolate and beetroot cake. It makes for a very moist cake. A lot of recipes use cooked beetroot, so I don’t know if that makes much of a difference. But I use this one: which has a few more ingredients and a serious amount of chocolate. It’s been cake-tastic in my house this week with my fundraising cake sale, but thankfully it’s all been eaten and can tempt me no more!

    • rhwfoodie says:

      Well done on the fundraiser – great excuse for a baking sesh!!!!!

      I saw the recipe you mentioned, but I’m quite lazy so went for a recipe with minimal ingredients… Less chance of me messing it up 😉

  4. Oooh love the look of this, I’ve been playing around with a beetroot and nut cake recipe thats delicious too, think I may have to give this choc one a whirl!

  5. Rosemary Hamilton says:

    I remember judging an exhibit at a county show a few years ago, lovely and moist chocolate cupcakes, full of flavour, I was very surprised when I read the recipe and it included beetroot!

  6. Lottie says:

    I can’t bear beetroot and made some beetroot chocolate brownies (HFW’s recipe on C4 website) to get rid of them. I made a few adjustments to his recipe as comments were that they were a bit too moist, so I dry roasted the beetroot (instead of boiling), and chopped rather than grated them. They were OK as far as I was concerned – in essence I was making a beetroot lover’s brownie since the roasting and chopping actually concentrated the flavours – thankfully other people seemed to like them and they had chocolate in them, so what can I say? I still managed to wade through a few!

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