Beetroot Cake – Nigel Slater recipe

beetroot cake

Beetroot Cake

My 9 year old son actually asked me if I could make a beetroot cake. I’m not sure if he had suddenly remembered the Chocolate and Ginger Beetroot Cake or the Beetroot Brownies that I have made previously but he was adamant that he wanted a beetroot cake. And then, bizarrely enough, beetroots turned up in my vegetable box.

I spent a while looking for a new recipe to try and came across this Nigel Slater one, which sounded really good. It involves using a lot of bowls, along with chopping, whisking, melting and sifting so if it hadn’t been as good as it was I would have been extremely disappointed! Luckily I had roasted the beetroot a few days beforehand or I probably would have given up at that point… So I started with the chopping:

chopped beetroot

Any excuse to use the chopper (I think that’s the technical term)

We had some warm (of course) and the taste of beetroot really came through at that point. A little too much for my taste but my son pronounced it delicious, which was lucky. This cake improves with keeping for a day or two and the beetroot taste mellowed to the point that it was still there, but probably only if you are looking for it. Otherwise it’s just a moist, tasty, chocolatey cake, or at least it went down well at my son’s rugby training. And not just because most cakes will taste good in the cold and wet on a Sunday morning…

beetroot cake

One of your five a day?



250g cooked and peeled beetroot

200g dark chocolate

4 tablespoons hot espresso (or two teaspoons instant coffee dissolved in hot water)

200g butter

135g plain flour

1 heaped teaspoon baking powder

3 tablespoons cocoa powder

5 eggs, separated

190g caster sugar


Set the oven to 180ºC and grease an 8″ deep-sided, loose-based cake tin. Line the base.

Chop the beetroot quite finely and set aside.

Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and pour in the hot coffee.

Chop up the butter and add to the melted chocolate and coffee mixture.

Sieve the flour, baking powder and cocoa into a bowl and set aside.

Whisk the egg yolks until frothy.

Whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks and fold in the sugar.

making beetroot cake

A lot of bowls for one cake…

Stir the egg yolks into the chocolate mixture and then mix in the beetroot.

Pour the chocolate mixture into the egg whites and sugar and fold in. Add the flour mixture and mix well.

Pour the cake mixture into the prepared tin.

beetroot cake

Purple cake mix

The original recipe said bake for 40 minutes but mine was in the oven for over an hour. Check after 40 minutes: when it is ready it will be firm to the touch and a skewer inserted into the centre will come out clean. Cover with aluminium foil if it is starting to burn on top.

Allow to cool in the tin (if you can)!

Categories: Baking, Cakes, Chocolate, Recipes, Vegetables

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

18 replies

  1. This sounds lovely!

  2. Beetroot definitely makes fantastic cakes – this one looks wonderful!

  3. That is a lot of whisking! phew! Looks like it was worth the effort though.

  4. Yum!!!! This looks absolutely divine. And definitely, one slice is one serve of veggies right? I think I need three… 😉

  5. I have just “got” to make one of these, it’s absolutely wonderful.

  6. It looks fabulous ! I’ve look at the ingredients, I’m sure your cake tastes super good!

  7. This looks amazing, I do love a beetroot and chocolate cake! Which Nigel S book was this recipe from? Another great beetroot and chocolate recipe is in ‘Eat, Cook, Smile’ by Bill Collison. His recipe is for a sandwich cake which has cherry jam as the filling – delicious! I’ll definitely give yours a go, looks delicious.

    • Hi, I actually found the recipe on the internet as I don’t have any Nigel Slater books – I definitely need to get some as I have made a few things by him and they have been great. Thanks for the other recipe, will definitely have a go at that, I love cherry jam!

  8. Definitely one of your five a day 🙂 I had a beetroot chocolate cake while holidaying in Bali a couple of years ago and it was fabulous. Not exactly a Balinese speciality though! Maybe they had read Nigel’s book too.

  9. I love this cake, but Nigel has over complicated it like many chefs.

    The beetroot does not need to be cooked at all. It cooks while the cake is baking, and makes for a moist cake without an overpowering beetroot flavour. I grate it finely in my Thermomix but a regular grater is just fine.

    It’s an absolute winner this cake! Give it a go if you haven’t tried it yet.

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