Beetroot in a Chocolate Cake?

Who would have thought it? Beetroot in a chocolate cake!

I can relate to beetroot as a relish, pickled in a jar, frozen, or in a psychedelic salad. I've enjoyed it boiled, roasted, grated, or sliced and fried coated in seasoned breadcrumbs but when someone suggested I try putting this wonderful root in a chocolate cake I have to say I had grave doubts about the results. I was wrong. This recipe produced a delicious deep ruby red cake, very moist, with an interesting texture. I use only red beets for this recipe, and although you can use a range of differently coloured, or even stripy vegetables, the result is not as interesting and colourful.

Beetroots are supposed to be really good for you. Three baby beets make up one of your five a day. They are a natural source of fibre and provide a wide range of vitamins and minerals including folic acid, potassium, magnesium and iron.

Chocolate and Beetroot Cake - Gluten Free and Delicious

Gluten-Free Chocolate and Beetroot Cake
Credit: Frances Spiegel
Honeybuns Gluten-free Baking
Amazon Price: $10.34 Buy Now
(price as of Oct 10, 2013)

What I Hate Most About Commercial Gluten-Free Bread and Cakes

One of the things I hate about most about commercially produced gluten-free bread and cakes is that most are extremely dry and crumbly. They usually break apart long before you reach the end of the packet.

I am firmly convined that home-made cakes are always better than shop bought, mainly because commercial manufacturers seem to add lots of extra fat. If you check the calorific values they always seem to be far higher than the regular flour equivalent. Presumably this extra fat is supposed to add flavour and stop the product falling apart.

I've always been hopeless at baking cakes. They usually burn on the outside and are raw and sticky on the inside. But, somehow, this recipe seems to be foolproof, even for me.

The Recipe


  • 85 grams dark chocolate

  • 3 medium eggs

  • 300 grams brown sugar

  • 240 ml olive oil

  • 300 grams cooked betroot - I always buy ready-cooked

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1 tablespoon vanilla essence

  • 30 grams  cocoa powder - sifted

  • 200 grams finely ground almonds or plain sifted gluten-free flour

  • 1½ teaspoons gluten-free baking powder

  • ¼ teaspoon salt

  • Jam or marmalade to stick the cake sandwiches together

  • Icing sugar to sprinkle on top of cake


  1. Preheat oven to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas Mark 4.

  2. Lightly butter and flour two 20cm round cake tins - don't forget to use gluten-free flour.

  3. Roughly mash or blend the beets leaving them slightly chunky.

  4. Break the chocolate into small pieces and melt over a double boiler. Alternatively, put the broken pieces into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and microwave on low for about 1 minute until the chocolate has just melted - stir to melt any remaining chunks.

  5. In a separate bowl whisk the eggs, oil and sugar, and slowly stir in the beetroot purée, melted chocolate and vanilla.

  6. Add the cocoa, baking powder, salt and ground almonds or gluten-free flour

  7. Gently fold in all ingredients but down mix too vigorously.

  8. Divide equally between the prepared cake tins and bake for about 50 minutes

  9. If the cake starts to brown too quickly cover loosely with foil - the cake is cooked when a tooth pick or skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.

  10. Remove from oven and leave in the cake tins until cool - then sandwich together with jam or marmalade. Sift the icing sugar and lightly sprinkle over the top of the cake.

Relax and enjoy with a nice cup of tea. 

Divide the Mixture Equally Between Two Prepared Cake Tins

Chocolate and Beetroot Cake Ready for Cooking
Credit: Frances Spiegel 2013

Gluten-free Chocolate and Beetroot Cake - Ready to Serve

Chocolate and Beetroot Cake
Credit: Frances Spiegel

More Things to do with Beetroot

If you're looking for more things to do with this amazing vegetable Beautiful Beetroot - Five Gluten-Free Recipes offers five interesting options.