The jig is up, dear readers. I put beets in a cake. The results are outstanding. The beets impart this Chocolate Beet Cake with magic sweetness, crazy-intense moisture, and a lovely, subtle red tone that’s a nod to red velvet cake.
I considered titling this recipe “chocolatier red velvet cake” and keeping the “b” word out, for fear that you would be completely offended by it, but this seemed unfair to beets.
After all, carrot cake (like the Kitchen Sink Carrot Cake in my cookbook and this Gluten Free Carrot) enjoys love and esteem. Why not a beet cake?
- Both root vegetables are naturally sweet, making them ideal for baking desserts.
- Both make the cake more moist and tender.
- Also, both resulting cakes can be slathered with cream cheese icing (which for many of you I know is the point).
This moist chocolate beetroot cake is my answer to red velvet cake, which gives me a quantitative reaction of meh.
- It’s not chocolate. And it’s not vanilla.
- It’s not really anything at all, other than a vehicle for cream cheese frosting and a really good way to use up an entire bottle of red food coloring.
Now, before you go off in defense of red velvet, let me ask you this: is it the cake you love or the cream cheese frosting?
Nine out of 10 times, the answer I receive is “the frosting.”
If we are eating cake, we should love both the cake AND the frosting!
Today’s chocolate beet cake is what I wished red velvet tasted like.
- The chocolate in our in our chocolate beet cake is more prevalent than red velvet, but it does not overwhelm.
- If you want a chocolate cake that slowly satisfies, rather than immediately smacks with its richness (like Mocha Cake or Flourless Chocolate Torte), it’s perfect.
- It tastes UH-MAZING with cream cheese frosting.
YOU CANNOT TASTE THE BEETS.
I really cannot overstate this enough (we are making CAKE, not Beet Salad or a Beet Smoothie).
5 Star Review
“All of my five children and husband loved it and raved over it! It is super moist. Really good flavor and texture. Will definitely make again! Yum yum yum!!”— Erin —
How to Make Chocolate Beet Cake
The most stubborn of beet haters, dessert purists, and even red-velvet devotees will find this beet cake irresistible.
- Beets. The sneaky star of the show! With natural sweetness and beautiful color, beets are a surprisingly excellent healthy baking ingredient. Skeptics, fear not: their hallmark earthiness is masked by the chocolate.
- Flour. I used all-purpose flour and whole wheat pastry flour for this cake. The whole wheat flour is imperceptible, but it adds a subtle nutritional boost.
- Chocolate. Unsweetened chocolate gives the cake that unmistakable, craveable deep chocolate richness.
- Oil. Canola oil helps make this cake supremely moist.
- Eggs. Eggs are key for a perfect beet cake texture.
- Sugar. Adds sweetness and helps keep the cake moist.
- Greek Yogurt. Nonfat Greek yogurt acts as a tangy balance to the sweetness, and it helps make the cake fluffy and moist. The extra boost of protein doesn’t hurt either!
- Vanilla. Pure vanilla extract enhances the overall flavor of the cake.
- Cream Cheese Glaze. Vanilla cream cheese glaze turns this cake into something truly special.
- Roast and puree the beets.
- Sift the flour, baking soda, and salt together.
- Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or a small saucepan over low heat.
- Beat the eggs and sugar together in a bowl. Stir in part of the wet ingredients and beets.
- Stir in the dry ingredients.
- Pour the batter into the cake pan.
- Bake chocolate beet cake at 375 degrees F for 45 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack.
- Prepare the glaze. Drizzle it over the cake. ENJOY!
- To Store. Cover and refrigerate leftover cake for up to 4 days.
- To Freeze. Wrap the cake tightly with plastic wrap and freeze in an airtight, freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
Meal Prep Tip
Wash, bake, peel, chop, and puree the beets up to 1 day in advance. Cover and refrigerate the pureed beets until you’re ready to finish the recipe.
What to Serve with Chocolate Beet Cake
Oat Milk Ice Cream
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Bundt Pan. Perfect for making this chocolate beet cake.
- Food Processor. Great for pureeing the beets.
- Spatula. My favorite all-purpose spatula.
Beet cake is that yogi master of the chocolate cake world, balancing undeniable chocolate bliss, outrageous moisture, and a luscious gilding of cream-cheese frosting with light texture and taste.
It’s unexpected, undeniably delicious, and my pick for this year’s best Valentine’s Day dessert.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, you can swap the whole wheat pastry flour for all-purpose flour if you prefer.
Chocolate lovers, you can swap the cream cheese glaze in this recipe for a melted chocolate drizzle or chocolate glaze instead.
While I haven’t tried making this recipe into cupcakes myself, other readers have done so with success. Bake the cupcakes at 350 degrees F for about 18-20 minutes. Make sure you watch them carefully towards the end of baking time to avoid overcooking.
Chocolate Beet Cake
For the Cake:
- 3 medium beets, stems and tails removed
- 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
- 1/2 cup canola oil divided
- 3 large eggs
- 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
For the Cream Cheese Glaze:
- 3 ounces reduced fat cream cheese (Neufchatel) softened
- 3 tablespoons powdered sugar sifted, plus extra if needed
- 2 tablespoons milk plus extra if needed
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Wash beets and place in a small roasting pan with 1/2 cup water. Cover and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until easily pierced with a fork. Dunk the beets in cool water, then using your fingers, slip off the peels. Coarsely chop, then transfer to a blender or food processor and puree. Measure out 2 cups and set aside.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees F. Lightly coat a 10-cup Bundt or tube pan with oil and dust with flour. In a large bowl, sift together the all-purpose flour, whole-wheat pastry flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- In a double boiler or a small pan over low heat, add the chocolate and 1/4 cup of the oil. Heat just until the chocolate melts. Remove from the heat and stir until well combined. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat together the eggs and sugar until fluffy. Slowly add the remaining 1/4 cup oil, Greek yogurt, vanilla extract, the chocolate mixture, and the 2 cups beet puree.
- Gently add the flour mixture, stirring by hand just until combined.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
- Bake for 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool for 30 minutes. Run a thin knife along the outer and inner edges of the pan and carefully invert the cake onto the wire rack. Let it cool completely before glazing.
- For the glaze: Beat together the cream cheese and powdered sugar until smooth and light. Beat in the milk and vanilla extract. If desired, add a bit more milk or powdered sugar as needed to reach your desired glaze consistency. Drizzle over the cake, letting it run over the top and sides.
- *SERVING SIZE NOTE: In order to make a cake sized for two, I halved the recipe and baked it for 30 minutes in a 5-cup Bundt pan.
- TO STORE: Cover and refrigerate leftover cake for up to 4 days.
- TO FREEZE: Wrap the cake tightly with plastic wrap and freeze in an airtight, freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
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This sounds very intriguing. I must give it a try!
If you enjoy chocolate cake, I think you’d really like it Katie! I promise it doesn’t taste like beets :-) Think of the beet puree like adding applesauce to baked goods in place of butter. Healthier, but still keeps the cake miraculously moist. Thanks for your comment!
So, are you calling my son ‘Chocolate Beet Cake’? Seems like it. Just glad it beet(!) out ‘Red Velvet’ for your heart!
BEST PUN EVER! And I intend to keep making this chocolate beet cake for life, so yes, perhaps I am :-)
Beet cake twins today! I totally want to make a chocolatey one next time, and this looks delicious!
No way! I like your style girl. Thanks Erica. I’m sure yours is delicious!
I am a red velvet lover…but I’ve never been super crazy over beets like a lot of foodie types seem to be. This cake looks so beautiful and delicious though that I think I could be converted though! :)
Maybe your red velvet cake is the one I need to try to be converted Maggie! Beets had to grow on me (no pun intended), but the good thing about this cake is…all you will taste is pure chocolate goodness. And the cream cheese glaze of course.
O-m-g, yes please!
erin i have a bag of beets in my fridge that i have to use up…so i am loving the idea to use them up in a sweet treat. i just love these unique recipes that you share. i am so willing to put beets in my cake!
Those beets are calling for chocolate Angela! And I admire that adventurous culinary spirit. I think we’d make great a dinner (and dessert) team!
Oh so sneaky!! Veggies disguised in chocolate!!
Chocolate does cover a multitude of sins, does it not? ;-p Thanks for your comment Steph!
I am a beet hater, but I don’t mind it when it’s in baked goods! This cake is gorgeous!
Amazing what some melted dark chocolate and sugar can do for veggies, isn’t it? Thanks so much Aimee!
I’ve never understood the appeal of red velvet cake. But I love the idea of using beets!
Jen, I feel the same way! This cake has a much more intense chocolate flavor than standard red velvet, which is why I fell in love with it. I’m a chocoholic for life :-)
Erin, I am so intrigued by this cake!! I’ve never baked with beets before. Or well, any vegetable besides zucchini. I typically don’t like beets but something tells me I wouldn’t mind them with some chocolate and sugar. ;)
Sally, if you enjoy baking with zucchini, you’d love trying this beet cake, I just know it! Beets are even sweeter and, let’s be honest…adding chocolate can only make things better:-) Thanks for your comment!
Your chocolate beet cake is absolutely stunning! I’m so glad that I’m not the only one who doesn’t care about the red velvet cake/cupcakes. :) I would make this cake in a heartbeat, who needs a red velvet when you have chocolate beet cake as beautiful as this one!?
Thanks so much for your kind words Amy! Clearly, we are cake soul mates :-)
i have yet to eat a red velvet cake that knocks my socks off. maybe i am too much of a “chocoholic” to appreciate red velvet…lol
i heard about chocolate beet cake last year when i was pregnant but haven’t tried it yet. your cake looks super tasty and i want a bite ;)
I am with you in the chocoholic department all-the-way. This cake has a rich but balanced chocolate taste (translation: you can totally devour 3 pieces in utter bliss!) Thanks so much for your kind comment and for visiting my blog!
i don’t really have any passionate feelings about red velvet anything, now, cream cheese frosting, on the other hand… YUM!!!
Exactly Kale! Red velvet is, at its best, a vehicle for cream cheese frosting. Thanks for your comment!
I love beets! I’ve never baked them into other things but on their own, a roasted beet is like nature’s candy. Great looking cake!
Nature’s candy: what a perfect way to say it, Averie! Sweet beets make this chocolate cake so rich and moist. I think you’d love it! Thanks so much for your kind words :)
i agree Erin…ya know living so close we should try that idea!
Hey Erin! For a little finals relief, I decided to christen my new (free!) bundt pan with this recipe – oh my gosh it is SO GOOD! Tony’s favorite cake is red velvet and mine is chocolate – this is perfect! The only tweak I made was more powdered sugar in the glaze ;)
Cary!!! So happy that you both liked this cake and CONGRATS on the bundt pan. You’ll be unstoppable. Also, a little extra powdered sugar couldn’t hurt one bit :) Can I come over for a slice or three? GOOD LUCK WITH FINALS and thanks for your comment!
I am so curious about baking with beets.. This cake looks delicious!
I know it might sound odd Medeja, but the beets are like magic! You can’t taste them, but they add natural sweetness and make the cake crazy moist. Give it a shot and let me know what you think!
MAN you hit the nail on the head with that ex boyfriend analogy. Too, too funny. Love it.
Thanks girl! Why is it that they always seem more attractive from a distance? ;-)
I just made this recipe but as cupcakes–worked great. Like you, I’m not a red velvet fan, but when the birthday boy made a special request for red velvet cupcakes, this recipe seemed like the perfect compromise. They’re rich but not too sweet. Thank you for sharing a great recipe!
I am so so so happy that you loved this cake, and baking it as cupcakes is a wonderful idea! You described its flavor perfectly. Thanks so much for sharing your comment and enjoy every crumb :-)
Does the whole-wheat flour have a purpose in this recipe? Can I substitute it for white pastry flour?
Hi! The whole wheat pastry flour is meant to add a little extra “health” factor to the cake. If you want to leave it out, plain old all-purpose flour will be just fine. (Just sub the same amount of AP for the whole wheat.) I used whole wheat pastry to ensure the texture stayed light (which can be a problem with regular whole wheat flour), but if you are using white flour, regular AP will do the trick. Hope that helps!
The cake is in the oven, can’t wait to try it cause the batter tastes heavenly :)
Always a good sign! Hope you love it. Thanks for trying the recipe!
I just did the cake and it is really good! It was a little work to do it, but its totally worth it! Its smooth, fluffy and not too sweet! =) Great recipe!
Denise, I’m so happy that you tried this cake and enjoyed it!!! It’s one of my favorite chocolate cake recipes, and it makes my day to hear that you liked it too :-)
Hello. If I don’t have a bunt pan could I use a plain 9×13 pan or an angle food cake pan? I want to try it sounds delicious!
Hi Rachael! I think a 9×13 inch pan would be prefect, though you will have to watch the baking time carefully. (I would guess about 35 minutes, I can’t confirm, since I’ve only baked this cake in a bundt pan.) Just so you have it for future reference, I love this baking pan conversion chart: http://allrecipes.com/howto/cake-pan-size-conversions/. Hope that helps that you love this cake! It’s one of our favorites :)
In a very roundabout way I found your blog via Pinterest (link-to-link-to-link). And I’m pinning this recipe to try, because it sounds like a can’t fail combo!
I’m from the south and remember my aunt making a cake that included mashed pinto beans. Sounds weird but it was moist and delicious!
Kim, I’m so happy that you and this cake are united. It really is wonderful! Also, I would totally be down with a bean cake. I bet it’s wonderfully moist, and the protein factor means I can have at least three slices, right? ;-)
Made this cake yesterday as written except I used sugar to coat the bundt pan instead of flour. All of my five children and husband loved it and raved over it! It is super moist. A little disappointing because I thought it would be more red in color, but it really just looked like a dark chocolate cake. Really good flavor and texture. Will definitely make again! Yum yum yum!! Icing is also delicious and I added shaved chocolate curls. Also wondering Erin, if your recipes have nutritional information?… Am I just not seeing the link? Thanks!
Hi Erin, I’m SO happy to hear that this recipe was a hit! Nutritional information is something I started adding to recipes in January 2016. Unfortunately, it’s a time-consuming process, so I’m unable to go back to all my past recipes to add it. The good news is that you can calculate the calories for free at My Fitness Pal (there are other similar sites too). I hope that can be a helpful resource for you!
Wondering if melted butter would work as well as oil?
Hi Barbara! I haven’t tried this swap myself, so it would be an experiment. If you decide to try it, I’d love to hear how it goes!
I made the cake today with a few changes as follows, and it is absolutely delicious! I used butter rather than oil; I used full fat plain yogurt; I substituted one can of beets which measured 1 cup once it was puréed; I left out the 1/2 cup whole wheat flour since I was short on beets.
I’m so happy that you enjoyed it, Barbara! Thank you for sharing this kind review!
I got beets in a box of vegetables. I roasted some (and I thought they were delicious) but no one in my family is a fan. What to do? This recipe was just what I needed! It was light, moist, and delicious! I did make a couple of changes. I added a couple of tablespoons of dark cocoa to the flour mixture to make it a extra chocolatey and I was out of greek yogurt, so I used sour cream instead. Thank you!
I’m so happy that you enjoyed it, Amy! Thank you for sharing this kind review!
I’m somewhat a chocoholic (if it’s there, I will overeat it). We are both prediabetic and watch our carbs. Is there a substitute sugar you suggest? The whole wheat flour gives great fiber to help with glucose overload, but, the combination of flour, sugar(s) and beets is too heavy in carbs.
Hi Marge! I’ve only tested the recipe as written. If you decide to experiment with sugar substitutes, let me know how it goes!