Rich Chocolate Beetroot Cake

Rich Chocolate Beetroot Cake

Rich Chocolate Beetroot Cake at AishCooks

Every once in a while there is a recipe or dish that takes over you such that it becomes the centerpiece of every party or special occasion in your life. For me, it’s this cake right now. When I was tasked with being the cake-maker for a dear friend’s baby shower, I was both super excited and completely daunted. After all, I had never frosted a cake before, at least not without making a complete mess out of it. But then I really wanted to do it. And I wanted to get it right. The most important decision was choosing the type of cake to bake – being a baby shower and all, I was thinking healthy. OK – how about we pretend for a while that cakes with fruits and vegetables in them are healthy, or at least healthier than the all-flour ones? Ever since I stumbled upon these absolutely beautiful pictures of Nigel Slater’s chocolate beetroot cake on the Mowielicious blog, I knew I had to make it some day. But considering I was going to have to experiment first before the real one gets done, the somewhat complex recipe for that beetroot cake kept me stalling. And that’s what got me trying out this recipe – seemed real simple, and I totally dig dense rich cakes. I have to admit though – I was so not sure what I might end up with cause the recipe was quite unlike any other cake I’ve made before. I mean, it actually called for water to be added to the cake batter – yes, water! Well, I stuck to the recipe and guess what – the resulting cake was just super dense and absolutely decadent. If you prefer spongy/ fluffy cakes, this might not be for you. When I made it again for D’s birthday, I made some modifications to the original recipe – by just changing the way the batter is put together. I stuck with the tried-and-tested cream-beat-fold method, and I think the result was a lot better. I liked the previous one too, but when the butter and sugar were creamed together the cake had a lot more layers and was perfectly moist while still being dense.

sifting flour and cocoa powder for chocolate beetroot cake

Whether or not you dig cakes with veggies and whether you are a fan of dense cakes or not, this recipe ought to be given a try. I have made 4 of these in the last month alone, so you got to trust there is something to it that needs to be experienced. And just in case you were wondering about the beetroot – no one will ever know, unless you actually tell them about it!


Nigel Slater’s recipe will have to wait until we’ve had enough of this – which could take a while.

Btw – If you’re still interested in knowing what happened to the baby shower cake, well the cake itself turned out great. The frosting job, not so much. But everyone was way too tired at midnight to even notice! So when I made it again for D’s birthday last week, I decided to go with a ganache glaze instead. The chocolate-y topping perfectly complimented the cake, and helped me steer clear of frosting-woes as well!

chocolate beetroot cake with ganache glaze

Rich Chocolate Beetroot Cake

Based on Anna Olson’s Rich Chocolate Beetroot Cake

Prep Time: 20 minutes | Baking Time: 30 – 40 minutes depending on dimensions of pan | Makes: 1 large 9″ cake


  1. 2 cups all-purpose flour
  2. 2/3 cup cocoa powder (unsweetened, unprocessed)
  3. 1 tsp baking powder
  4. 1 tsp salt
  5. 3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  6. 1 3/4 cups sugar
  7. 2 large eggs
  8. 1 tsp vanilla extract
  9. 2 medium beetroot, edges trimmed off, peeled and diced into medium size pieces (makes about 1 cup pureed cooked beetroot)
  10. 1 cup hot water




  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Butter and flour a 9″ cake pan  or two 8″ cake pans, tap off the excess flour. Line the bottom with parchment if desired. Set aside.
  3. Cook the beetroots with just enough water to cover them, until soft when poked with a knife/ fork. If using a pressure cooker this takes about 20 minutes, while it can take longer and up to 40 minutes on a stove-top.
  4. Drain the water and puree the beetroot until no chunks remain and set aside. The yield should be about 1 cup of beetroot puree. A bit more if alright to use, but do not exceed 1 1/4 cups of beetroot puree.

Prepare the batter:

  1. Cream the butter and sugar until no granules of sugar remain, and they are fully incorporated together.
  2. Add the eggs, vanilla to the butter and sugar mixture and beat together until fluffy.
  3. Add the pureed beets and combine everything well.
  4. Sift together the dry ingredients (flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt) into the same bowl.
  5. Fold in the dry ingredients gently until fully combined. It will be a very thick mixture at this point.
  6. Slowly add the hot water, little at a time, and keep mixing the batter until a smooth but somewhat thick batter or pour-able consistency is formed.
  7. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan(s) and level it with a spatula. Give the pan(s) a couple of taps on the counter to allow the batter to settle into the molds without any large air pockets within.
  8. Bake the cakes in the middle-rack of a pre-heated oven at 350 degrees F, for 35 (for 8″ pans) to 42-45 minutes (for 9″ pans) or until a tooth pick / skewer inserted near the center comes out clean.
  9. Allow the cake to cool down for 30-60 minutes before removing onto a platter / stand or wire rack for frosting/glazing.

Rich chocolate beetroot cale, with ganache glaze and chocolate chips


The recipe here has very slight modifications from the original one. I think I liked it a little more when I went with the same ingredients, but just altered the process of putting it together – like creaming butter and sugar to start with, then beating in the eggs and later folding in the dry ingredients. This makes the cake slightly less dense and more moist, which felt just perfect to us. And it is a lot easier made that way when you are putting this together by hand, without a mixer / food processor.

Here’s is how the cakes turned out with both methods – the original recipe (LEFT) made super dense rich cakes, while the modified method (RIGHT) made it just a bit lighter, more moist and a lot better.

dense vs. moist chocolate beetroot cake

3 Responses to “Rich Chocolate Beetroot Cake”
  1. pallavikhosla says:

    The cake came out really well 🙂 Thanks Aishwariya for sharing this wonderful recipe.

Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] as it had to be, I learnt it the hard way – after completely scorching the crust of a beetroot-chocolate cake that was all gooey on the inside, in my zealous attempt to serve cake to my dear sister. Turns […]

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