Autumn | Baking and puddings / Winter | Baking and puddings

Beetroot chocolate and hazelnut cake

beetroot cake

Beetroot chocolate and hazelnut cake

This cake is rich, dark and moist. It has chunks of slightly-melted chocolate which give it a lovely brownie-like texture. The beetroot isn’t detectable and makes me feel (the smallest bit) less guilty about my giant slices.

This cake was intended to be a ‘thank you’ for my colleagues at a fantastic organisation which I recently left. Unfortunately, they didn’t get to taste it as it suddenly dawned on me that the office is a nut-free zone. My family were pretty chuffed that they could try the cake and my colleagues got to dig in to my dad’s fantastic orange and lemon drizzle cake – good times all round!

Notes on my recipe


This recipe is based on BBC Good Food’s blitz and bake beetroot chocolate cake. It’s a great, simple recipe and produces a rich, moist cake.


I initially used this recipe a couple of years ago for my mum’s birthday. Back then, I altered the original recipe then slightly making two circular cakes instead of a loaf so I could sandwich them together and make a more birthday-ey cake. I also used raspberries to decorate the cake which worked really well as their sharp sweetness cut through the rich flavours of the cake.

This time, I’m going through something of a roasted hazelnut phase and so decided to incorporate them in the bake. I planned to use my homemade Nutella as the sandwich filling, include some chopped roasted hazelnuts into the cake mixture and to do some kind of roast hazelnutty decoration. I ended up whipping up some vanilla buttercream to use as a filling as well as the homemade Nutella. I should have thought it through but it turns out that brown on brown on brown doesn’t make for the most attractive cake.

There’s a load of sugar (250g) in the Good Food recipe so I reduced this to 100g and added 75g honey. To balance out the liquid in the recipe, I reduced the oil slightly. The end result was rich and full of gooey chunks of chocolate. It could have been sweeter but I don’t think more sweetener is necessary.


For the chocolate chunks, I used a mix of milk and dark chocolate. As the chocolate stays in chunks when the cake is baked, make sure it’s chocolate you enjoy eating chunks of.


I had no idea how much mixture my quantities would make. When choosing tins, I found the cleanest-looking ones in the kitchen which had pop-out bases. Provided they’re medium-sized, you should be fine. If they’re too small to fit all the mixture, make a little loaf cake too – just make sure you cook it for a shorter period (bonus cake!).

beetroot ingredients

Ingredients – I upped my quantities by approximately one-third on top of the base recipe values to allow for the extra mixture needed.

For the cake:

  • 230g cooked beetroot (not in vinegar!) – roughly chopped
  • 260g plain flour
  • 130g cocoa powder
  • 1 1/3 tbsp baking powder
  • 250g golden caster sugar
  • 50g honey
  • 4/5 free range eggs
  • 3 tsp vanilla extract
  • 200 ml sunflower oil
  • 130g chocolate – chopped into bite-sized chunks
  • 30g hazelnuts – roasted and blitzed in a food processor

For the filling and decoration:

  • 100g unsalted butter, softened
  • 200g icing sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 100g hazelnuts – roasted and blitzed in a food processor
  • Most of a jar of homemade Nutella


Butter, to grease the tins


  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C/fan 170°C/gas mark 5.
  2. Grease your tins and line the bases with greaseproof paper and sparingly flour the sides by putting some flour in the tins. Turn the tins them until the sides are floured.
  3. Tip half of the beetroot into a food processor and blitz until it’s chopped well. I put all of my ingredients into our domestic-sized food processor at once, I wouldn’t recommend doing this as it was touch and go as to whether everything (anything) would mix. Instead, I’ve suggested you do half of the mixture and repeat. Of course, you may want to alter the amount you do according to your processor capacity.
  4. Add:
  • half of the flour,
  • half of the cocoa powder,
  • half of the baking powder,
  • half of the sugar,
  • half of the honey
  • half of the roast chopped hazelnuts
  • 2 eggs and
  • half of the vanilla extract.
  1. Blitz until completely mixed (scraping down the sides with a spatula where necessary)
  2. Add half of the oil slowly and in a steady stream, whilst the processor mixes the mixture slowly.
  3. Mix in half of the chopped chocolate.
  4. Pour into one of the tins.
  5. Repeat steps 3 to 7 for the second half of the ingredients.
  6. Pop your cakes in the oven and set a timer for 45 mins.
  7. Check to see if a skewer/cake tester comes out clean. When it does, your cakes are done. Remove them from the tins and leave to cool on a cooling rack.

Buttercream and decorating

  1. When the cakes are cool, beat the butter in a bowl until soft (use a hand mixer) and then beat in the icing sugar in stages. Be aware that icing sugar is bloody messy and the air will taste of it – you have been warned.
  2. Add vanilla extract and beat again.
  3. Spread some homemade Nutella on the top of the cake that will be the bottom cake.
  4. Spread the butter cream onto the bottom of the cake that will be the top cake. Carefully sandwich the cakes together so that that the fillings are in the middle. p of one of the (completely cooled) cakes using a palate knife. This will be the sandwich filling which sticks the cakes together.
  5. Stick some chopped hazelnuts to the buttercream around the edge of the cake. I found it easiest to do this using a teaspoon and my fingers.
  6. Spread a small circle of the homemade Nutella in the centre of the top of the top cake and sprinkle on chopped hazelnuts. Remember to leave room for candles if appropriate.

slice of cake

Eat and enjoy!

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