Beetroot chocolate cake recipe

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Beetroot chocolate cake sounds unlikely but it's a brilliant combination. Beets - like carrots - have a lovely natural sweetness and have been used in baking for centuries.

Beetroot chocolate cake
Serves6–8
SkillMedium
Preparation Time25 mins
Cooking Time1 hours 5 mins Plus 45 minutes cooling time
Total Time2 hours 15 mins

This beetroot chocolate cake is a really fabulous tea time treat when you want to try something a little different.

Beetroot might sound like a daring ingredient for a cake, but no one would bat an eyelid at carrot cake. Beets, just like carrots, have natural sugars in them (they are from the same family as sugar beets, after all). This means they're good for baking with, and bring a moistness to the sponge that make the most beautiful cakes. The other great advantage is the colour - this sponge is a beautiful dark purply chocolate colour. Beets are at their best during the season - June to October. This is when they are sweetest and ideal for cooking with.

Ingredients

  • 3 medium beetroot (approx. 300g)
  • 300g caster sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 250ml vegetable oil
  • 75g cocoa powder
  • 250g self-raising flour
  • 1½ tsp bicarbonate of soda

For the filling:

  • 100g unsalted butter, softened
  • 200g icing sugar, sifted, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder, sifted with 2 tbsp icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp cold milk
  • 2 generous tbsp cherry jam

WEIGHT CONVERTER

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Method

  1. Boil the beetroot in water until it’s tender to the point of a knife, probably about 30 minutes. Drain and allow it to cool for 30 minutes or so, then remove the skin and coarsely grate the beetroot.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas mark 4, and prepare two cake tins (20cm in diameter) by lightly buttering them and lining with baking parchment.
  3. Beat the sugar, eggs and oil together, either by hand or in a food processor. Add the grated beetroot and cocoa and blend well. Finally, sift in the flour and bicarbonate of soda and mix again. Divide the mixture between the cake tins, smoothing down flat.
  4. Bake for about 35 minutes, until the cakes feel springy to the touch. Remove from the oven, let them stand for 15 minutes and then gently turn out on to a wire rack.
  5. While the cakes cool, make the butter-cream filling. Beat the butter, sugar and cocoa together, then drizzle in the milk and beat some more. Add a little more milk if you think it’s needed: you want the filling to be very smooth and to hold its shape.
  6. When the cakes are completely cold, lay each one flat side up. Spread one with the butter cream and the other with cherry jam, then sandwich the two together. It’s always a bonus when the cream and jam ooze out of the sides a little. Finally, generously dust the top with icing sugar. 

Tips for making beetroot chocolate cake:

You can also buy pre-cooked and ready-to-eat beetroot from the supermarket, which will work equally well in this recipe. Choose ones that have no vinegar added to them.

Does beetroot cake taste of beetroots?

No - the savoury flavour of beetroot is not the main flavour of the cake. Instead, it works with the other ingredients like the chocolate and sugar, almost like base note in perfume - adding depth and accentuating the other flavours. The main thing it adds to the cake is a lovely moistness to the sponge.

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