The first time I ever heard of chocolate beetroot cake was when my friend Ally told me about it a few years back. She’d sent me an email with a link to a recipe for this crazy-sounding cake, asking if I’d ever tried it before. I replied “Nope” and after a quick glance at the recipe, I promptly forgot all about it.
Sometime later, one of my best friends Jin also mentioned it to me in passing. At that moment, I recalled the cake Ally had told me about, thought about it for a few seconds, but to be honest I never really paid much attention to it. I mean, what was this whole hype about chocolate beetroot cake?
Last week, while browsing through the cookbook section at Libros del Paisaje, one of my favorite bookstores here in Buenos Aires, I came across the Spanish version of the Deliciously Ella cookbook. I love reading cookbooks at the store, but to be honest, don’t actually own many.
That day though, as I read through recipe after recipe from Ella Woodward’s cookbook, I found myself saying, “Hey, I could make this!” over and over again.
Ella’s cookbook was focused on recipes without gluten, eggs, dairy and processed foods. I didn’t need much more convincing to get it and soon left the store with two copies, one for Ally’s birthday gift, and the other for myself.
That night, after a quick dinner that I’d thrown together from the leftover rice, chicken and tomato sauce I had in the refrigerator, I sat down on my blue sofa to read.
Sitting cross-legged and flipping through my precious new cookbook, I read it from cover to cover in less than 2 hours. Halfway through reading, somewhere nudged in between the vegetables section, I found myself staring face-to-face with Ella’s recipe for chocolate beetroot cake. The cake was back again, right in my face.
This time though, I gave it the attention it deserved and bookmarked it along with some 15 other recipes that I wanted to try. I wasn’t sure when I’d be making it since I had a full week with plenty of recipes to develop and shoot for one of my clients, but I figured that I’d give it a shot when I had the time.
So when the vegetable grocer told me on Tuesday that he had fresh beetroot available, “esta muy linda” (it’s very pretty), in his words, the first thing that came to my mind was chocolate beetroot cake.
That afternoon, I returned home with a whole bunch of gorgeous beetroots – leaves, stalks, roots, soil and all – and got started on making the cake.
I started by boiling the beetroot in a large pot of water for around an hour, just until the beetroot was fork-tender and the skin had already started falling off by itself. After setting it aside to cool for a while, I peeled the beetroot, chopped it into pieces and then processed it in my electric blender until it became a smooth beetroot puree.
Next up, I pre-heated the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius) and greased and lined a large round cake pan with parchment paper. In a large bowl, I combined the beetroot puree together with brown rice flour, applesauce, maple syrup and salt.
I later melted some coconut oil together with chocolate chunks in a small pan until the chocolate had fully melted, and then poured the chocolate mixture into the bowl with the rest of the ingredients.
I had to mix it for a few minutes before I got a homogeneous batter, which I then poured into the prepared cake pan. After baking the batter for around 20 to 25 minutes, and a toothpick inserted in the middle came out can, I let the cake cool (rather impatiently to be honest) before removing it.
You see, I couldn’t wait to taste the cake that had been stalking me for the past three years. I wasn’t sure how strong the taste of beetroot would be, but I really liked the reddish brown color of the cake.
It looked so earthy and pretty, just like the vegetable grocer promised. When the cake had finally cooled and I could cut into it, my heart was beating as fast as though I was on a blind date.
So here’s the moment of truth. Ready?
Guys, you have to try this cake!!
Pinky beetroot promise! Cross my heart. Seriously.
It’s incredibly moist, and while there is a slight taste of beetroot, it goes beautifully with the chocolate. The cake is sweet enough to be a dessert, without being overly sweet.
It was really that good. And don’t just take my word for it. Juan loved it too; so did my good friend Mechi; as well as Sara, the cleaning lady that comes to my apartment every Wednesday.
This cake requires quite a bit of preparation time – which includes boiling the beetroot and then processing it until it becomes a smooth puree.
However, if you so happen to have extra beetroot puree on hand, then this amazing chocolate beetroot cake comes together in a jiffy.
The best thing I like about this cake is that it’s gluten-free and vegan so three cheers for that. Plus, if you count the fact that you’re also eating beetroot in this cake, it makes it even healthier!
Now, what are you waiting for?
Go right on and make this awesome awesome cake today! Don’t make my mistake and wait three years before you do so! You won’t regret it, I promise.
- 1 large beetroot (to get 1 cup of beetroot puree)
- 2 cups brown rice flour
- 1 cup applesauce
- ½ cup maple syrup (or liquid sweetener of choice)
- 1 cup non-dairy chocolate chunks
- ½ cup coconut oil
- Pinch of salt
- Boil the beetroot in a large pot of water until it is fork tender (approximately 1 hour). Once beetroot is cooked, set aside and cool or run it until cold water. When beetroot is cooled, peel it.
- Pre-heat oven to 350 deg. Fahrenheit (180 deg. Celsius) and grease and line a large round cake pan with parchment paper on the bottom and the sides.
- Cut the beetroot into small pieces and process it in an electric blender until you get a smooth beetroot puree.
- Place beetroot puree into a large bowl together with brown rice flour, maple syrup and salt.
- Melt coconut oil in a small pan and mix in the chocolate chunks until chocolate is completely melted.
- Pour chocolate-coconut oil mixture into the bowl with the rest of the ingredients and mix very well until you get a homogeneous batter. The batter will be thick but it's ok.
- Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
- Let the chocolate beetroot cake cool for 10 to 15 minutes before removing it and slicing.