Chocolate Beet Cake with Cream Cheese Drizzle

Chocolate beet cake 2

Can you manage just one photo this time? And a chocolate cake that has beets in it?

(I brought a beet cake to a friend on her birthday a few years ago, and she looked at me flatly and asked why? why would you do something like that to me on my birthday?)

People adore chocolate zucchini cake and spiced carrot cake – why not grated beets? They behave much the same, lending a subtle earthy flavour as well as moisture. Beets can be roasted by wrapping them in foil and tossing right on the oven rack for about an hour; I sometimes do this while something else is in the oven (might as well do double duty with that warmth) and then keep the still-wrapped beets in a bowl in the fridge until I want them to add to a salad (with goat cheese and candied pecans!) or to grate into a cake. The skins rub right off with your fingers.

Chocolate beet cake 2
Chocolate beet cake 2

Chocolate Beet Cake with Cream Cheese Drizzle

Recipe link


January 25, 2014

To make cupcakes, divide the batter among 12 paper-lined muffin cups; bake for 20-25 minutes, or until springy to the touch.

  • Makes: Serves 16.


2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup sugar

3/4 cup cocoa

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

1 cup buttermilk or plain yogurt, thinned with milk

1/2 cup canola oil

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

3 large eggs

2 tsp. vanilla

1 large or 2 medium beets, roasted and peeled

1/2-1 cup chocolate chips (optional)

Cream Cheese Drizzle

1/2 8 oz. (250 g) pkg. cream cheese

1 cup icing sugar

1-2 Tbsp. milk


1Preheat the oven to 350F. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In another bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, oil, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla. Coarsely grate the beets using the large-holed side of a box grater.

2Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients along with the grated beets and stir just until combined. If you like, stir in the chocolate chips.

3Pour into a well-greased Bundt pan and bake for an hour, until the top is cracked and springy to the touch. Let cool for about 20 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool. To make the cream cheese drizzle, whisk together the cream cheese, icing sugar and milk, adding a little extra milk or sugar as needed to achieve a pourable consistency. Drizzle over the cooled cake.

Makes: Serves 16.

About Julie

10 comments on “Chocolate Beet Cake with Cream Cheese Drizzle

  1. Kathy D
    January 25, 2014 at 9:09 pm

    I LOVE chocolate beet cake! This is the only reason I plant beets in the garden. Earthy beets complement chocolate so well.

    I puree my beets instead of grating to keep guests from detecting the beets.

    My grandmother regularly made a similar recipe growing up, so chocolate beet cake makes me miss her so much (as does mincemeat pie, homemade bread, and dressing).

    I now love adding a tbsp of instant coffee (I use Via) to the batter. Subtley enhances the dark earthy undertones of the cake.

  2. Emily @ Life on Food
    January 26, 2014 at 4:35 am

    I can totally see how this works. I cannot wait to try it. Your cake looks lovely!

  3. Jay Banks
    January 26, 2014 at 5:58 am

    Absolutely right, if we bake a lot with carrots, why not beets? Giving it a try this afternoon, my friends are coming over to my place and we’ll love something to crunch with coffee. Thank you for an original tip!

  4. Nicole Boyhouse
    January 26, 2014 at 11:37 am

    Beet cake! Yay! I wonder if I could veganize this baby. I love desserts with weird ingredients – I just made a mousse pie with tofu.

  5. Stephanie
    January 26, 2014 at 7:36 pm

    Yumm!! I love vegetables in cakes! Been having a crazy craving for carrot or zucchini cake.. but maybe some beet cake is in order too

  6. molly
    January 26, 2014 at 8:10 pm

    Get OUT!!!!!!!! I just made chocolate beet cake LAST WEEK!! Indeed, intended to post it shortly (and maybe still will, as it’s Nigel’s, and so a bit different, though this one looks a winner, also). I’m telling you, girl, we are ON THE SAME WAVELENGTH.

    FYI: really, really tasty with a creme fraiche-cut whipped cream heap, alongside.


    ps: no offense, but your friend? she’s crazy.

  7. Gemma
    January 27, 2014 at 8:12 am

    So… did your friend change her mind after she tasted the cake? It looks delicious but can it change the mind of a confirmed beet-hater?

  8. Julie
    January 27, 2014 at 9:53 am

    Molly! Same wavelength?? SO where I want to be.

    Kathy – pureeing them is brilliant! And I miss my grandma too.

    Gemma – no. The power of suggestion is strong with some people! My dad also has an intense hatred of beets… I once grated half a beet into a carrot cake (his favourite) just because I had it on the counter, and HE DETECTED IT.

  9. Kate
    April 19, 2014 at 8:22 pm


    I made a carrot cake recipe for Good Friday dinner at my in-laws. The recipe came from a woman who shall remain nameless (but likes to refer to herself as a domestic goddess)… I knew when the batter was thick and her instructions said to spoon it out that something was a miss, but I persevered. Trusting her expertise and witty banter. Should I have been surprised when it didn’t rise?! It was a thin pancake of a cake and that was after I hand grated 4 cups of carrots…. What a waste of time. Turns out his family hates carrot cake anyway, so I was saved. We had ice cream sundaes instead and the squirrels got carrot cake for Easter.

    My point? Today, when cleaning out the pantry I found two neglected beets. I needed to get my confidence back and found your recipe. Needless to say your cake is perfect and beautiful. I am not the failed baker I was beginning to think I was. Who’s the domestic goddess now, huh? Thank you.

    • Julie
      April 20, 2014 at 7:53 am

      Kate, this message totally made my day!! Thank you. Have a great Easter weekend!!

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