Decadent Beet & Chocolate Cake

Luise is without doubt the more talented kitchen wizard of us two. She constantly surprises me with delicious and creative dinners from what for me seemed like an empty fridge. Her skills has made me less active in the daily dinner making. Errgh, that didn’t sound right. We still have somewhat equal rolls in the kitchen  – and I love cooking! – but I tend to ask her for help whenever I see an empty shelf in our fridge.

However, there is one area where I feel more comfortable and experienced than Luise. Baking. And specifically, Baking Chocolate Cake. If you ask my parents that hardly comes as a surprise to them. I spent my teenage years baking moist and rich chocolate cakes 2-3 times every week for several years (not exaggerating). I ate most of them myself. I even ate the whole batter – unbaked(!) – one time. How I didn’t end up looking like a balloon is a miracle. One thing I learned through those years is how a chocolate batter should look, feel (and taste) to become a decadent moist chocolate cake.

Back then, I used heaps of refined sugar, wheat flour and margarine. Those are ingredients that we don’t even keep in our pantry anymore, so I have quietly forgotten all about my old cakes. Until Luise a few weeks ago started experimenting with a beet cake. It tasted alright but she never really nailed it. And as I stood there looking at her batter, my past hit me. BAM! ”I know what kind of chocolate cake we should make!”

I had to tweak it quite a bit. Using spelt flour, maple syrup (or honey), oil and beets. But it didn’t change much. We still ended up with a super indulgent cake with a very rich chocolate taste. The beets add sweetness, moist and taste to the cake. We grated them quite rough, so they definitely also affect the texture.

You can eat this just as it is. But if you want to make it a little prettier you could serve it with a dollop of yogurt and some fresh fruit on top.

The cake you are looking at is our forth version in two weeks. I am definitely getting in to my old habits again. Can someone please just stop me from eating the batter.

Beet & Chocolate Cake

Since we have made this cake quite a few times during the last weeks we have been able to try a couple of different versions. Maple syrup and honey both tastes good as sweetener in this cake. I prefer maple syrup, but that is more on a personal level. We have also tried it with sunflower oil, olive oil and coconut oil. Again, they all work, but the olive oil adds more flavor than the sunflower oil. And the coconut oil makes the cake very dense if you put it in the fridge, so then you might want to reheat it before eating it again. We haven’t tried it without eggs, but I’m guessing that you could replace them with apple sauce (as in this recipe) to make a vegan version. Next time I’m going to try adding some coffee as well.

2/3 cup (100 g) sunflower oil (coconut oil or olive oil)
1/2 cup (125 ml) maple syrup/honey
50 g dark chocolate (70%), broken into pieces
250 g (around 2 cups) raw beetroots, grated
3 eggs

1 ½ cup (375 ml) spelt flour
2 tsp baking powder
5 tbsp cacao powder
a pinch salt
1 tbsp dried shredded coconut (unsweetened) 

Preheat the oven to 350F/175°C. Warm the oil in a medium size sauce pan on very low heat. Add maple syrup and chocolate and stir until the chocolate is melted. Remove from heat. Add the grated beets. Whisk the eggs in a small bowl and then add them to the sauce pan. Sift flour, baking powder, cacao powder and salt together and stir into the beet mixture. Grease a bundt pan or a cake tin with oil and add shredded coconut to prevent the batter from sticking to side of the pan. Bake for 25 minutes or until slightly dark and crackelated on top and still a little sticky inside. Enjoy!

Ps. Cook Vegetarian Magazine has a large (and very flattering) piece about us in their March issue. You can read a pdf of the article here.

184 Comments

  • What a gorgeous cake! I love the look of it- the red hue, the shape of the bundt, the craggy top. Decadent is the perfect word. It's great to have your "thing" you do in the kitchen...it will be a wonderful memory for Elsa "Dad's Decadent Beet Cake." :)
  • Alison
    I gave up refined sugar for Lent and have been jonesing for chocolate, so to see this recipe was delightful! I made it tonight and it IS delish!! The only thing i did differently was bake it an extra 10 minutes to have a more baked-through quality. I cannot endorse it enough! YUM! (a third of the bundt pan may or may not be gone already. I can't quite say)
    • We are very happy that you liked it Alison! Baking times can vary a lot from different ovens, so we prefer to specify a baking time that is a little too short rather than too long. We're glad that you managed to bake it just enough to suit your preference. /David
  • I love chocolate and beet cakes/cupcakes. I usually end up using roasted beetroots in mine. Will give this one a go. Very simple and easy to make. For a gluten-free and dairy free version, here's mine: http://themindfulfoodie.com/2011/05/02/choc-beet-cupcakes-dairy-gluten-free/
  • I Love licking chocolate cake batter..but polishing th whole batter is something.. :) Love the crusty top and beautiful color fo beet cake..need to try my eggless version soon.
  • Congrats on the feature! This cake looks lovely. I wish I liked beets, truly, they're so pretty but they make my throat scratchy. I'm wondering if I could use grated carrot or zucchini instead?
    • Hi Kate, what a bummer that you can't eat beets, they are just as tasty as they are pretty. However, it shouldn't be a problem replacing the beets with zucchini or carrots. Let us know how they turn out! /David
  • Aleksandra
    Tomorrow is Easter.I happen to have all the ingredients and I'm so looking forward to making this cake. A perfect occasion to indulge. Thank you so much!!!
  • Robyn
    If you were to add coffee, how would you do this?
    • Hi Robyn, I would probably just add a single shot of strong espresso right after I melted the chocolate. And then maybe increase the amount of flour with a 2-3 tbsp. /David
  • This cake looks amazing! And what a luck, I was just in need of a good recipe on a cake without milk and butter, and then this pops into my mailbox :-) I just wonder - does it stay fresh for some days, or do you need to eat it fresh from the oven? Do you know if it can be stored frozen? Btw, thanks for the most inspiring blog, I just love it! Best wishes Nanna, danmark
    • Hi Nanna, yes you can keep it in the fridge a few (3-4) days and it still tastes great. We have one piece left of the cake that we made three days ago. It still has a very rich flavor and nice structure. We haven't tried freezing it, but I can't see a reason why that shouldn't work. /David
  • Wow, amazing, just beautiful! That crack in the cake makes me whant to stuff my mouth full! Haha.. Thanks Luise - Kitchen wizard & David - Baking guru <3
  • Two things come to mind here: 1) This cake looks incredible. I love that purpley-brown color, and it has the perfect crumb! I could probably polish off one of these babies by myself, too. 2) Decadent Beets will TOTALLY be my stage name if I ever decide to finally abandon my day job to pursue that old dream of becoming a hip-hop producer...
  • Leticia Z
    This is already bookmarked in the "recipes I need to make" category! However, I have a question, very basic one. When you add the whisked eggs to the oil-chocolate-honey mix, is the mix still hot or even warm? should I worry and do something so that the eggs don't cook in the mixture's warmth?
    • Hi Liticia, it's actually a good question. You are right that you shouldn't add the eggs to the mixture if it is still hot. But since you are only melting the chocolate on a very low temperature, and then add the beets before the eggs, the beet and chocolate mixture should be cool enough. However, if it still feels warm, let it cool off for a few minutes before adding the eggs. Good luck!
  • Carrie
    This looks awesome. I may just have to make up an occasion to bake it for!
  • I've had a piece of this lovely cake and I can guarantee that it's yummy! /Sis
  • Vera
    Looks great.. would like to give it a try but can't do spelt... what gluten free flour mixture would you suggest? I Thank You for your reply.... Vera
  • I was just talking with my boyfriend yesterday about making a chocolate beet cake, and here you are with a recipe! Awesome!
  • to die for :) xoxo http://sreebindu.blogspot.in/
  • Stine
    This recipe looks very interesting, but being danish I'm having trouble distinguishing between beets ("roer", I believe), as mentioned in the title, and beetroot ("rødbeder", right?) as mentioned in the recipe. Which did you use? I'm hoping that maybe Luise will be able to help me :) Thanks in advance!
    • Hi Stine. Beet is the name for all the different varieties in the beet family, but it is also a common name for beetroots. Which is what we have used in this recipe. Happy Baking ;-) /Luise
  • Funny to read your post today because I just baked (tried to bake) beet cupcakes yesterday. Unfortunately, the first ones ended up in the trash. The problem was that I wanted to try a vegan and gluten-free version and put in millet flakes substituting half of the flour. Seems to be a big mistake because they didn't raised while baking.I've bookmarked your recipe here and will definitely give the beet cake another try.
    • Michelle
      Sarah were you able to make a gluten-free version? I also wanted to try
    • Nathalie
      This looks good but if anyone wants to try a similar recipe that would be gluten free, here is one from Jamie Oliver : http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/chocolate-recipes/chocolate-and-beetroot-cake
  • Decadent, yet relatively healthy. The texture looks glorious. I'm happy to eat this one just as it is.

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