Sunday 22 January 2012

Chocolate Beetroot Fudge Cake - a healthy chocolate cake?

Many of the other baking blogs I read – and people I follow on Twitter- run baking challenges on their websites. The idea is, they set a challenge every month and you bake something that fits the theme, or uses the ingredient they specify, and send them your recipe and a photo.
I think it’s a great idea, as you get to feel part of a baking community, there’s a little bit of a competitive element, and you try making things you may not otherwise have done – and get some really good ideas from other people!
BakingAddict and I have decided to start our own baking challenge so watch this space for some more information before the end of the month! I have never actually entered a baking challenge on anyone else’s site before so I thought it was about time I did.

One that I really like is We Should Cocoa – the idea is that you make something with chocolate and whichever ingredient they choose each month. January’s challenge was hosted by Chele of Chocolate Teapot and the challenge was to make something health conscious, but still involving chocolate.
This suited me perfectly as there is a recipe I had been wanting to try for a while as I was really curious what it would taste like, but I wasn’t sure I would like it – so I didn’t want to make it when I was having people round or making someone’s birthday cake! I’m not really that brave when it comes to trying new things….
A couple of years ago there was a programme on Channel 4 called “Cook Yourself Thin”, which had four female cooks giving recipes a healthy twist. I got the accompanying recipe book – I think I actually won it in a competition – and was always intrigued by Harry Eastwood’s Chocolate and beetroot fudge cake.
I also came across this Simple and In Season blog event on Fabulicious Food, which is general cooking rather than baking, with the aim of using a seasonal ingredient every month. According to Google, beetroot is actually in season in January – so what better excuse to try out this cake and enter it in not one but two blogging challenges at the same time?

So without further ado, here is the recipe that I adapted slightly, as I realised half way though the recipe that I didn’t have any ground almonds, and I always use vanilla flavouring rather than the much more expensive vanilla essence that is recommended.
Chocolate Beetroot Fudge Cake - Adapted from Cook Yourself Thin
·        250g dark chocolate
·        3 eggs
·        250g light muscovado sugar
·        1 tbsp vanilla flavouring
·        2 tbsp maple syrup
·        2 tbsp clear honey
·        40g self-raising flour
·        100g plain flour
·        ¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
·        ¼ tsp salt
·        25g cocoa powder
·        250g raw beetroot, peeled and finely grated
·        100ml strong black coffee
·        30ml sunflower oil
For the topping
·        150g dark chocolate
·        3 tbsp strong black coffee
·        1 tsp vanilla flavouring
·        3 tbsp clear honey
1.    Preheat oven to 160ºC (fan-assisted 140ºC). Spray a loose-bottomed cake tin (I think mine is 8 inches but I’m never sure!) with sunflower oil or grease the tin.
2.    Melt chocolate in a microwave (you could also do it in a bain-marie).

3. In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs with the sugar, the vanilla, the maple syrup and the honey for three minutes with an electric hand whisk until pale and quite fluffy.

4.    Gently fold in the flours, bicarbonate of soda, salt and cocoa.

5.    Grate the beetroot then using some kitchen paper, dab it gently to remove some of the excess moisture. Fold in the beetroot, cooled chocolate, coffee and oil  until thoroughly mixed together.

6.    Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and cook in the middle of the oven for 1 hour 30 minutes. After that cover the cake with foil and bake for another 30 minutes.

7.    To make the fudge topping, melt the chocolate then add the coffee and the vanilla.

8.    Add the honey and gently mix in.

9.    Set aside to cool for 15 minutes before icing the cake. When the cake itself has cooled, cut the cake through the middle and ice it in the centre and on the top.

10.    Decorate the top with whatever you fancy. As the cake batter took on a distinctly pink hue (even though the cooked cake is chocolate coloured) and it’s nearly Valentine’s Day, I was in a romantic sort of mood, so I used little heart shaped sprinkles.

When I sliced into the cake, I found the inside was very moist, while the edges and the base were a little difficult to cut - I think my oven is a little out sometimes and it may have ended up a little overcooked. It made it quite hard to cut a neat slice!

The real test for me though was whether you can actually taste the beetroot in the cake. Did I mention I hate beetroot?! That was mainly why I hadn't tried to make this cake before! But I figured that since carrot cake doesn't really taste of carrots, this might be the same... and I think it's lovely! You can't really taste the beetroot at all - there is perhaps a hint of something in this cake, but that may be because I used dark chocolate which is more bitter, when I normally prefer to cook with milk chocolate (even if a recipe specifies plain!). The overriding taste is actually chocolate fudge - so I doubt this cake is exactly "healthy", but it's definitely a more health conscious way of making a chocolate cake, and using a vegetable that is in season! I wonder if thise counts as one of my five a day?!


  1. Looks gorgeous, well done on your first challenge, beware...they are addictive!

  2. It's funny that you can't taste the beetroot! Someone today was telling me that their favourite cake was a courgette cake, so might give that a try! :-)

  3. Looks delicious, the sprinkles are very cute too! I've made brownies with courgette before and no one was the wiser! I would definitely count that as one of your five a day, at the least!

  4. Chocolate Beetroot Fudge Cake is wonderful as it helps me to get the sort of information that was needed my me. I am thankful to get your post when i was searching chocolate truffles

  5. Well done on joining in 2 challenges! They are good fun and definitely get you trying new things and thinking outside the box! Love chocolate beetroot cake and yours looks delicious! I love your heart sprinkles as well. Definitely very valentines and yes of course it's one of your five a day ;-)

  6. I can totally feel a blog steal coming on ;0)
    Thanks so much for taking part in the challenge, this is a great bake, you've set the bar high for a first time blogging entry ;0)

  7. What a great looking beetroot cake - I love beetroot and chocolate together, especially the additional colour it brings. So glad you chose WSC as your intro to blogging challenges and very much hope to see you again.

  8. Thanks for linking this up Caroline! A round-up has just gone up today including your lovely cake! Ren x


Thank you for your comment, all feedback is appreciated - even the negative! However due to a lot of spam comments on this blog I have had to turn on captcha. If you have problems leaving a comment please email me at