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Chocolate & Beetroot Brownie Cake with Chocolate Frosting

A few days ago I was given a bag of freshly dug beetroot. I love beetroot and I wasn't stuck for ideas of what to do with it, especially after reading the gorgeous recipe for Beetroot Brownies that Jules posted. I had a real craving for these after seeing the scrumptious photos on her blog.

Jules was experimenting with a recipe shown on River Cottage Autumn, a tv cookery show hosted by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. Hugh is not a chef I normally follow because his recipes are usually more suited to carnivores, but this recipe made me sit up and notice him for the first time. I think I am going to have to make a trip to the library now.

Roast Beetroot

  1. Wash your beetroot (I used about 8 beetroot for this recipe), to remove any of the garden that is still clinging to it. 
  2. Trim down the beetroot, so that there is a little stalk and root left on before wrapping each beetroot in tinfoil. 
  3. Place on a baking tray and cook in a preheated oven (180c/350f/gas 4) for 1 hour. 
  4. Allow the beetroot to cool in it's foil for 10 minutes or so before peeling the beetroot. Watch out for stained hands, worktops or clothes. (I peeled my beetroot over tinfoil on the baking tray and that seemed to work well. The beetroot juice washed off my hands ok, but you would be better to wear gloves)

Chocolate & Beetroot Brownie Cake with Chocolate Frosting


250g dark chocolate
250g unsalted butter -cubed
250g caster sugar
3 large eggs
150g self-raising flour -sieved
250g fresh beetroot - grated (weight after peeling)


50g butter (softened)
100g cream cheese
2 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 cups icing sugar
1 cup cocoa
½ cup cadbury's drinking chocolate
a pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 180c/350f/gas 4.

Line an 8 inch/20cm cake tin.

Simmer a couple of inches of water in a pan and place a bowl over the top. Make sure the bottom of the bowl isn't touching the water. Now break the chocolate into the bowl and add the butter. Stir until the mixture is melted and glossy, then set aside to cool for a few minutes.

In another bowl, whisk together the sugar and eggs until combined and then beat in the chocolate mixture, before folding in the flour and then the beetroot. Do not over mix as this will make the brownies tough.

Pour into the lined tin and bake for 30 - 40 minutes. Insert a skewer after 30 minutes and check. It will be ready once the skewer comes out with a few crumbs still attached to it. It the skewer comes out covered in wet mixture it is not ready and if it comes out clean then it has moved on from being a brownie into a cake and won't be as moist.

Leave to cool in the tin.

Meanwhile, make the frosting. Whisk together the butter, cream cheese and milk until smooth. Add the salt and vanilla essence and mix in well. Keep whisking and gradually begin to add the icing sugar, cocoa and drinking chocolate until the frosting begins to thicken. You may add more icing sugar until you reach a consistency you are happy with.

Remove the cake from the tin and finish cooling on a rack before spreading on the frosting.

Slice and devour, ah, I meant to say share!

I cooked beetroot from fresh for my brownie cake, but alternatively, you may like to buy the vacuum sealed fresh beetroot sold in supermarkets.

Graham and I both took a brownie cake into work and they were very, very popular! Graham wouldn't tell his friends what the secret ingredient was until they had tasted a slice and guessed, he is mean! The cake was pronounced "the best brownie I have every tasted!" by quite a few of those indulging in a slice.

update: Ricki from Diet Dessert and Dogs has quite rightly pointed out that I never said what I actually thought of the brownie cake. Well, I thought it was divine, a slice of chocolate heaven and I want to eat slice right now as I type this!


  1. Sounds great! I've seen a similar recipe with pureed beets, but never grated (which sounds much easier to do!). But you didn't mention how you LIKED the cake or not--??!! ;)

  2. I liked the cake a lot Ricki, it was absolutely delicious!

  3. It looks great as a cake. My sister tried some of the brownies and like your Hubby I was cruel and didn't tell her the secret ingredient until she had eaten it!

  4. Although I love beets any way at all this is a wonderful sweet version to add to my long list of recipes:D

  5. Thanks Jules :)

    What did your sister think, once you told her?

    Hi Val, I am with you, there is nothing not to love about beetroot!

  6. I saw these on Jules blog as well and added them to my must try! Now Holler, are you rave enough to try sauerkraut chocolate cake? Jules wasn't convinced!

  7. Im going to have to try this. Can't imagine what beetroot would taste like in a sweet cake

  8. I don't think I am brave enough for that Silvie!

    You don't really taste it Beth, but it makes the brownie lovely and moist.

  9. It does look divine, Holler! I love chocolate, but I loath beets. Did you still think I would like this cake?

  10. Looks delicious! Apart from the kitchen (and possibly me) looking like a slaughterhouse after dealing with the beetroots I love making the chocolate beetroot cake from my favourite veggie cookbook. Nearly as much as I love eating it:) I will definitely try this version too, mine doesn't have a frosting.

  11. Hi Diann, I don't think you would mind beets when teamed with chocolate. It is very subtle. You probably wouldn't notice if you didn't know it was there!

    Hi Pia, Graham was most astonished that the kitchen wasn't wrecked after I cooked and peeled the beetroot.

  12. yes please! anything with chocolate and beetroot gets my vote - and that frosting looks scrumptious too (and in answer to sylvie's question chocolate and sauerkraut are good in a cake too, based on cupcakes I tried last year)

  13. My husband and daughter love beets and chocolate so this would be the recipe for them. The cake looks lovely.

  14. How unconventional and totally with an awesome result. I bet this was a conversation piece at the table!

  15. never have i ever heard of beets in a sweet recipe, but i'll bet they add a lovely color and texture to a brownie. very cool, holler!

  16. I love this combination in a cake - but yours looks particularly moist and decadent! I'm glad to hear everyone liked it so much :)

  17. Oh, this sounds so good. Do you taste the beetroot? I was wondering if I could trick my husband into it without him knowing of course, if I say the world beetroot, he won't eat it...

  18. Since I posted the last comment my mum & dad have also tried the brownies and they all agreed they were delicious.

  19. Just gorgeous Holler. I once made a cake with beet root and while it was good, I think this one would be even better! I was hoping you would share the recipe.

  20. Oh, how I love a good chocolate cake with veggies hidden inside. :) I wish it were a better justification for eating another slice!!

  21. Hi Johanna, I am not familiar with sauerkraut, so I shouldn't be so ready to think I wouldn't like it! I think there just must be something about the name, that conjures something up for me!

    It is now my favourite cake Pam and I don't get excited about chocolate cake, although I do like chocolate. Because it was moist and was covered in that lovely frosting I am hooked!

    It definitely was Peter, especially among those would didn't know what the ingredients were! I left the cake unattended in the staf room with a knife.

    Hi Grace, the brownie mixture was the most beautiful berry colour before it was baked, but it darkened up.

    You should have seen the inside Lysy!

    You could actually trick your husband Rita, or just forget to give him a run down of the ingredients! Graham sent a piece home for a friend at work, who was day off, via her husband and she came in today saying it was delicious and so moist. She was astonished when she heard there was beetroot in it, she said "what real beetroot?" and only after she had laughed lots and told Graham he must be kidding.

    I am so glad you picked out this recipe to try Jules, I could have spent ages trying to track down the perfect chocolate cake! I know it is brownie really, but I think omnce you have smothered it in chocolate frosting it could be classed as a cake :)

    I do hope you try it sometime Lisa :)

    Hey, you can tell yourself it is justification Lo! I won't argue :D

  22. I just showed D the picture of the cake and he was salivating. Then I told him what was in it and you should have seen the change on his face! Will trick him sometime, I think. :)

  23. WOW!! Beetroot brownies!! I love beets, and I love brownies - the combo sounds terrific!! Such a clever idea!

  24. T. made this last night, and I took a loaf of it in to share with my department today. Fabulous stuff! I don't know if she used your recipe, though. ;)

  25. You know, I see this recipe around a lot. But I'm never quite convinced enough to give it a try. I just think - why not make a 'normal' chocolate cake...? But yours certainly looks the part. Go on, convince me...

  26. OH, I just made beet and chocolate cookies.

  27. I wish I had been a fly on the wall Wendy!

    I am afraid I cannot take any credit for the idea Astra, but they are very good!

    Hi Davimack, if they are anywhere near as popular as they were at our workplaces, then there will be cries for more :)

    Hi Spaghetti, ok ...

    1 they are fun to make
    2 the batter is such a beautiful bright pink
    3 They must be good for you, with such a lot of beetroot inside and dark chocolate :)
    4 You have the fun of surprising and shocking people with the hidden ingredient
    5 they are very moist
    6 they taste great!

    Are you convinced yet?

    Fabulous idea, maybelle's Mom :)

  28. First time hearing choc-beet cake,looks delish.Surely bookmarked

  29. I'm really intrigued by this cake. I'm always a little nervous of beetroot and that it will stain my whole kitchen but I really should pluck up the courage to re-visit them! That icing loks divine too - yum!

  30. Your choco/beet cake looks beautiful. It must keep the crumb so moist. Does it impart an earthy flavor as well?

  31. Hi Antonia, I am the worst for making a mess in the kitchen, as Graham will confirm, but I managed ok :)

    Hi Alexa, you occasionally hit a spot like that in the cake. It is a lovely moist sticky cake.

  32. I would have never thought to try a brownie with beet in it...this is pretty cool...looks delicious :-)

  33. I really like the sound of using beets in a chocolate cake!

  34. Ah, I saw HFW making beetroot brownies on river cottage autumn but I didn't think he'd cooked the beets first- I wondered if it would work!

  35. I've seen more and more recipes using chocolate and beetroot together... I'll really have to try it sometime soon. yours looks delish!

    Thanks for sending it into the round up

  36. Mmm yum looks delicious! I tried a chocolate beet cake before and they had put... oh now I can't remember what it was. He had steeped cream in beets overnight then I think used the cream to make ganache or something? It was delicious.

  37. I am definitely trying this! I recently made a vanilla beet this has to be next!


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