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.

189 Comments

  • Ella
    Just a quick question, did you guys use cocoa powder or raw cacao powder? Thanks, this looks AMAZING!
  • Caroline
    I made this cake a couple of weeks ago and it was absolutely fantastic! My first impression was that it would make a wonderful birthday cake... So when it came time to make the cake for my birthday party yesterday I came back to this page, and I'm happy to say it was a great hit, everybody LOVED it! So decadent and healthy at the same time... definitely my go-to cake now! Thank you so much :-)
  • Julie
    How can i make the cake without eggs? Thanks! Julie
  • healthyfood4diabetes
    Used rye flour and added two eggs because the batter was not moist enough.it had to bake a bit longer, but looks delish.
  • Miriam
    Do you think I could substitute the flour with blanched almond flour?
    • Hi Miriam, I think you can, but it will probably come out a little more dense, but definitively worth a try, let us know. Happy baking Luise
  • Kære David og Luise Fantastisk dejlig og sanselig side..I har gang noget RIGTIGT. Har lavet denne kage til flere selskaber med stor succes...TAK for inspirationen. KH Katrine Juul, DK
  • Alexandra
    My daughter is turning one at the end of the month and I was looking for a relatively healthy cake that accommodates my wheat free family (none of us are "allergic" to gluten). This definitely fits the bill. Question: Are you supposed to still feel/see the beets or are they supposed to disappear? I don't really care either way, I just wanted to determine if their texture is a result of the length of time they are cooked, as in, should I cook them longer?
    • Hi Alexandra, Happy birthday to your daughter! The shredded beets should feel like a carrot cake, soft but still with some texture. /Luise
  • Marissa
    This looks and sounds delicious! I am considering whether buckwheat flour could be used in place of spelt for a GF cake, and am wondering if in your experience, you would substitute these flours for equal quantities?
  • Fernanda
    looking forward to make it for my son's birthday party at the kindergarden. is it ok to baked it the evening before and eat on next afternoon?
    • Hi Fernanda, yes you can bake it one day ahead. Just make sure not to over bake it, or it will be too dry the day after. Good luck! /David
  • Georgy
    i love this cake so so so much! i make it almost every weekend; i'm addicted! thanks so much for this recipe and i look forward to making many recipes from your book :)
  • sanna
    if I use almond flour is it the same amount?
    • Hi Sanna, I haven't tried it so I can't give you a definitive answer. But I would probably try a little less at first, since almond flour is quite rich and fat. Sorry for not being more precise. Please tell us how it turned out for you! /David
  • Ilse
    I tried the recipe last night, a bit apprehensive, since I don't like the taste of beetroot, but wanted to try it anyway, because I want to learn to eat it and I thought this recipe was a good opportunity. The cake turned out really well and I liked the taste of it. The recipe was easy to follow, I just was unsure about the amount of spelt, the recipe mentions 375 ml, is that the same in grams then? Anyway, look forward to trying more recipes from your blog.
  • Melissa
    I have been looking for a chocolate beet bread pudding and came upon this - a great find! I haven't made it yet but wondering if you or someone else has tried it with an egg substitute (apple sauce as you suggested, or other)?? Please let me know! Thanks !
  • (do I have to write in english or someone still remember a little bit of italian? ;-))
  • Grazie!! Non amo i dolci (e nemmeno le barbabietole), e di conseguenza non li cucino volentieri. Ma da un po' volevo provare una torta come questa. E' uno spettacolo: veloce, semplicissima, con pochi ingredienti e...deliziosa! PS:ammetto che ho sostituito il miele con lo zucchero grezzo, ho usato farina di grano semi integrale macinata a pietra al posto del farro ed ho usato molto meno olio. Ed e' venuta buonissima lo stesso!! Vi ho gia' messi nei (pochi) blog preferiti. :-)
  • Emma
    Hi David and Luise, Thank you for your wonderful recipes, I'm enjoying working my way through them. I'd like to make this cake but my friend doesn't eat eggs, would you know what I could replace them with without changing the feel of the cake too much? Thank you x
  • heather
    what about using cacoa powder for a truly sugar free version?
  • Alexandra
    I don't have spelt flour. If I used whole wheat flour would the cake be ruined?
  • Jenna
    My batter only filled less than half of the bundt pan and now that it's cooked, it's still half the size of yours. I'm confused!
    • Jenna
      update: my only theory is that I let the batter sit for about 20 minutes while I was waiting for my man to come back from the store with a bundt pan...
      • Hi Jenna, it could perhaps also have something to do with the size of the bundt pans. We use an old vintage pan, which is slightly smaller and more narrow than a standard pan. If your pan is a bit bigger and perhaps also more shallow, it would explain the difference in height of the cakes. /David
  • Carol
    Did you use wholemeal spelt four or white spelt flour? Thanks.
  • Helen
    I've made this recipe twice now - once as cupcakes for my nephew's first birthday (at my sister's request of no refined sugars for the boy) and the other time as a full cake. Both times I added a maple cream cheese frosting (no extra sugar added) that sweetened the whole thing up just enough. Lovely recipe, one I will be adding to my repertoire. The beets in the cake tinted the bottom of the frosting a thrilling pink color after several hours!
  • Caro
    Made the cake yesterday and it looks awesome. I had to double the recipe as my pan is quite big. For my taste it is not really sweet enough, the next time i will add more syrup or even a little bit of brown sugar. Maybe it is because of the olive oil, i still taste the oil and the beets quite a lot. Do you have any healthy advice to achive a more sweeter taste without using sugar? Thank you anyway for the daily inspiration! I have a lot of beets in my little vegetable garden and looking everday for nice recipes with beets!
  • miriam
    We made it yesterday to celebrate the name´s day of our little son. It was really good. Everyone liked it. The only thing is that not havine read the comments I assumed the beets had to be cooked before. But as I said, it tastes also very good that way. I also had to have it 10 min more in the oven. Thanks for the recipe!
  • Laura25
    One of my favorite recipes of yours. Have made it numerous times now and its always a success, so easy to make too. Thank you for being innovative and creating something beautiful!
  • elide
    I love your webite and intend on making every recipe! To start with i have just put the decadent beet and chocolate cake in the oven and my friends have left the room and the mixing bowl with little leftovers is starring at me...oh my its heaven in a bowl and i cant wait to share this cake Thankyou for being generous and sharing your amzing recipes.
  • I love your recipe! I prefer to use maple syrup over sugar when baking, so this looks awesome :) I am going to try to convince my roommate that we need to make this sometime soon!
  • marla
    Your blog + recipes are thrilling! This is such an inventive chocolate cake and I love the use of beets.
  • jenny
    i found and made this beautiful dessert yesterday. thank you thank you thank you for all you share and inspire. as i cut down on sugar i realize when i eat traditional sweets now they give me a headache. this was delicious. the flavor was really rich and layered with the olive oil cocoa beet maple syrup combo. thank you so much. i will make it again this weekend (i used a thinner round cake ring which i think made the cake drier) to perfect and bring to a party. thanks again... keep spreading the love. xo
    • jenny
      after ample googling, the pan i used looks like a savarin cake pan. it was my grandmothers... love finding new uses for her beautiful kitchen tools.
  • Sandra
    Hi there I just made your chocolate cake, and it tastes great! It's nice and moist, but the texture isn't optimal - I find the beets are still a little crunchy (even though I baked it for 30 mins), which I know the kids won't like too much ;-) I was wondering how I would have to modify the recipe if I cooked and/or pureed the beets before? I only found conventional recipes that do this, which means that they contain sugar etc. Yours doesn't, which I love! Unfortunately, I'm not such an experienced baker, and experiments usually go wrong for me... Thanks for all the wonderful recipes on this site!
    • Tracey
      I just baked this cake and found the same thing. I too would love to know if there's an alternative being an inexperienced baker myself! Tasty cake... shame about the crunch.

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