July 13th, 2022

It is the school holidays – and all that ensues as a working-from-home mama – so I am going to jump straight into it today. This is one of my all-time favourite cakes to make – it is easy to prepare, versatile, flavourful and oh-so chocolatey. It can be made as a bundt cake (pictured), or double the recipe to bake into two cakes and layer with cream and chocolate icing (a great birthday party contender right there). Plus the batter can even be made into cupcakes (cook time: 20-25 minutes).

The key to this cake is in the roasted beetroot which brings moisture, an earthy flavour to compliment the chocolate, plus a deep colour and richness to the crumb. First up you will need to cook the beetroot, this is how I prepare it:

How To: Whole Baked Beetroot

Beetroot takes time to cook so I make the most of the oven heat when roasting vegetables or baking bread.

  • Top and tail 3-4 whole beetroot and place in a covered baking dish. Add a drizzle of olive oil, a pinch of salt and 1 tablespoon of water.
  • Cover and bake for about 1 hour at 200ºC (fan 180ºC) until tender.
  • Cool, rub off the skins and store the whole beets in a covered container in the fridge.
  • Cut into wedges to add to salads (see Roast Beetroot & Lentil Salad). Or use in sweet baking – scroll down for the cake recipe.

My Favourite Chocolate Beetroot Cake

I love using beetroot in a chocolate cake to bring moisture to the crumb. This cake has been my go-to chocolate cake recipe for many years. It has a soft crumb and the chocolate olive oil ganache is the easiest icing to make to complete the cake. It is naturally dairy-free and can be made gluten-free using either gluten-free flour or ground almonds (or a combination of both). It is super versatile and possibly why it is one of my favourite cakes to make. I hope it will become one of yours. 
Servings 12
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes


  • ¾ cup 115g plain flour (can use gluten-free)
  • ½ cup 40g cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • a pinch of salt
  • ½ cup 125ml olive oil or neutral-flavoured oil
  • ½ cup 100g sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 200 g whole baked beetroot (directions above), peeled and roughly chopped


  • Preheat the oven to 180ºC (fan 160ºC). Grease a 20cm round cake tin - I used a bundt tin. (Or to make cupcakes line a 12-hole muffin tray.)
  • In a bowl whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.
  • To a food processor add the olive oil, sugar, eggs, vanilla extract, cider vinegar, and the chopped beetroot. Blend until smooth and creamy.
  • Add the dry ingredients and pulse briefly to just combine. Pour into the prepared cake tin and bake for 30-35 minutes until an inserted skewer comes out clean. (Alternatively, to make cupcakes spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tray and bake for 20-25 minutes.) Invert onto a cooling rack. Once cool drizzle with chocolate olive oil ganache (directions below).
  • With the addition of the roasted beetroot, this cake keeps well for several days - covered at room temperature.


Chocolate Olive Oil Ganache
Break up 100g of good-quality dark chocolate into a heat-proof bowl. Set the bowl over a small saucepan of simmering water - make sure the bowl isn't touching the water. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and melt together. Drizzle over the cooled cake and leave to set for 1-2 hours.

Join the Conversation

  1. I am so happy that you introduced me to the sweeter side of beetroot! I lost the recipe you gave me and unfortunatly I can`t do this one as I am still allergic to eggs. But I found one online and use it quiet often. Most of the time I am eating alone, as Germans are not so open-minded towards beetroot. I don`t know why, because everyone loves carrot-cake and zucchini-muffins are accepted as well. Anyways: I love the combination of chocolate and beetroot! Thank you for sharing!

    1. Hi Yvonne! That is funny that you can’t convert the Germans to chocolate and beetroot cake. It is such a great match, all the more for you 🙂
      I hope you are well and happy,

  2. Wendy Lougher says:

    Made your beetroot cake recently and it was amazing!! May have been slightly heavy handed with the choc drizzle but no one seemed to mind!!
    Thank you ,

    1. That is so great to hear Wendy. And you can never be too heavy-handed with the chocolate drizzle!

  3. Lovely recipe but what can I substitute for eggs?

    1. Hi Darshna
      I haven’t made this recipe without eggs so I can’t be certain how it would turn out. You could try an egg replacement such as flax or chia egg. Or apple sauce (cooked apple puree). But as I haven’t tried this I am not sure what the result will be. This is a recipe that does rely on the egg for binding, maybe looking for another recipe without eggs might be a safer option 🙂
      All the best

  4. This cake is absolutely beautiful. I have Coeliac Disease so do 1/2 cup gf flour, 1/4 cup almond flour. It is so light and spongy and I love that it’s whizzed up easily in the food processor. My kids say this is the best ever chocolate cake and I agree. Love the colour and subtle beetroot flavour. Thank you Nicola!

    1. Hi Sophie, that is wonderful to hear! And glad you could easily adapt for GF, I often use buckwheat and almond flour as I find the cocoa mellows the buckwheat flour which can be a bit overpowering. The soft spongy crumb is so good and keeps really well too.
      Happy cooking, Nicola

  5. I can’t wait to try these this weekend when I pull the last of my winter beetroot out of the garden 🙂 Also, I really appreciate the ingredients listed in grams as well, it’s a rare find and so helpful, thank you!

    1. Thanks Mindy, I aim to include gram weights when it is applicable as I know some people like to weight ingredients. It is also more accurate and how I measure when testing baking recipes.
      Enjoy! Nicola

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