Big Cakes: Chocolate and Beetroot Cake


Preparation info

  • Serves


    • Difficulty


Appears in

Bake and Decorate

Bake and Decorate

By Fiona Cairns

Published 2011

  • About

Beetroot is a natural dye that gives an amazing pink, and we use it a lot in the bakery. Here it stains the icing instead of the usual synthetic food colour. But, if you want an even brighter pink, cheat and add a little food colour, too. And please, whatever you do, don’t use beetroot in vinegar!


For the Cake

  • 180 ml sunflower oil, plus more for the tin
  • 190 g self-raising flour
  • 60 g cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 250 g golden caster sugar
  • 250 g beetroot, cooked
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


    Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 170°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Lightly oil a 23cm diameter, 7.5cm deep, round tin, using a piece of kitchen towel, then line the base with baking parchment.

    In a large bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa and bicarbonate of soda, then stir in the sugar. In a food processor, purée the beetroot, then scrape it into a sieve set over a bowl and push out the juices with the back of a spoon. Set them aside for the icing. Tip the beetroot pulp back into the food processor, then, with the motor running, add the eggs and vanilla, then slowly pour in the oil. Mix until blended.

    Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients, pour in the beetroot mixture and, with a large spoon, gently fold together. Pour into the tin and bake for 45-50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. If it starts to brown too much before it is fully cooked, cut a round piece of foil the diameter of the cake, make a large hole in the centre and open it up. Place it over the cake to let out steam and protect the edges of the top surface.

    Remove the cake from the oven, leave it for 5-10 minutes in the tin, then turn it out on to a wire rack until completely cold.

    Sift the icing sugar into a bowl. Stir in a few drops of the reserved beetroot juice and, depending on how bright you want the colour, a little pink food colour (if you like). The icing should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. If not, add water, drop by drop, until you achieve the correct consistency.

    Turn the cake over, so the base becomes a flat top, and spread the icing evenly over, letting it drizzle down the sides.