Saturday, January 25, 2014

Chocolate Beet Cake

As I mentioned in a previous post, one of the new food discoveries I've made since coming to the UK is that I actually like beets. This would make my dad very happy, but beyond that beets are actually extremely good for you. There are many articles out there on the bountiful health benefits of eating beets, so I won't bore you with those details here. What inspired this cake idea was a post by my friend Tammela a few weeks back for a beet salad. From there I linked to a set of beet recipes posted for beet week and found beet cake. This cake was vanilla and turned bright red when the beets were added and the finished cupcakes were topped with chocolate frosting. I thought it might be even better to make chocolate beet cake and went in search of recipes I could manage here.

I found this relatively simple recipe on BBC Good Food, a go-to source for recipes with ingredients I'm sure to find in the UK.

The Biggest Benefits:

  • an ingredients list that doesn't include anything too ridiculous
  • can be made in a loaf pan
  • an opportunity for cream cheese frosting

The Biggest Detractors:

  • the directions assume you have a food processor, which I don't here

The biggest reason that I haven't done much baking since my arrival is that I don't have the traditional tools for such a venture. Cake pans? I do not have the sheet, round, cup, or spring-form varieties (though this last would be easiest as there are shelves and shelves of them at TK Maxx). What I do have is a tart tin, a pie plate, and a loaf pan. Whatever I make should fit into those. The secondary reason is that Joe doesn't really eat desserts. He'll eat the pear bread I made, but that's about as close to a sweet treat as he gets. But Joe is away this week so I can make cake and eat all of it myself! ;)


  • 1 large cooked beetroot, about 175g in weight, roughly chopped
  • 200g plain flour
  • 100g cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 250g golden caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 200ml sunflower oil
  • 100g dark chocolate, (not too bitter), chopped into pieces
  • crème fraîche or clotted cream, to serve Screw that! Make cream cheese frosting!

  1. Heat oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5. 
  2. Tip the beetroot into a food processor and blitz until chopped. 

  3. Add a pinch of salt and the rest of the ingredients, except the oil and chocolate. 
  4. When completely mixed (you may need to scrape the sides down once or twice), add the oil in a steady stream, as if you were making mayonnaise.
  5. When all the oil has been added, stir in the chocolate, then tip the mix into a lined 900g loaf tin. 

  6. Cook for 1 hr until an inserted skewer comes out practically clean. 

  7. Leave the loaf to cool on a rack. Serve in slices with the crème fraîche or clotted cream.

I did originally want to buy fresh beets and cook them myself rather than buying the pre-cooked variety, but my grocery store was only selling beets tethered together in large quantities and I only needed 175 grams. As I hate having extra ingredients after completing and experiment recipe, I opted for the lower quantity this time. I was also excited to find golden caster sugar, cocoa powder, and dark chocolate in the exact amounts I needed for this recipe. No leftover ingredients = #winning.

My loaf pan is a bit more narrow than some out there, so I took my cake out after only 40 minutes because I could smell that it was done and I didn't want it to get too hard/dry.

This recipe made quite a thick batter and a cake that's a bit dense than I'd prefer. This may just be due to the fact that I wasn't able to combine the ingredients using a food processor as suggested and my arm can only whisk heavy batter so much. The chocolate flavor is rich and dark and I personally don't taste the beets at all. Next time I may try a different recipe or break down and get a cupcake pan. This final product is more fudgy brownie than spongy, light cake like I like. Still yummy, though!


  1. It looks yummy! I want some! Whodda thunk, beets? ~ Mom

  2. yum! pinned it for later.

  3. Any excuse to make cream cheese frosting! So glad you tried baking with beets (I haven't yet) and it turned out - I'll have to add it to my "make soon" list.

  4. That sounds awesome. If you find a recipe for a spongy version, I would love to try it. - Colette E