An utterly rich, indulgent chocolate cake made with dark chocolate and beetroot, topped with a layer of silky chocolate buttercream – chocolate lovers’ heaven! This cake is super moist, flavoursome and simple to make using pantry staples. Say goodbye to dry, flat gluten-free cakes with this delicious chocolate cake recipe. Take a look at the recipe and tips below for a chocolate cake recipe that is guaranteed to become a family favourite!
This recipe is my all-time favourite chocolate cake recipe! It’s inspired by a cake a friend of mine made for my birthday a few years ago which I devoured in disbelief that it was actually 100% gluten-free. Although my initial thoughts when I first heard the words ‘beetroot’ and ‘cake’ in the same sentence, did not conjure up the delicious birthday cake I had in mind, I was more than pleasantly surprised after the first bite! This cake is just divine- moist, chocolate-y and so fluffy. Not being the biggest fan of beetroot myself, it pairs perfectly with the dark chocolate in this cake, masking the bitter taste and adding layers of moisture, meaning you wouldn’t really know it is in the ingredients unless someone tells you!
How do you make this cake?
So, how are easy is this cake to make? Well, as all of my recipes, I prefer no-fuss recipes that are quick to whip up with simple ingredients, and this cake is no exception.
The dark chocolate is melted and set aside to cool, whilst the margarine and caster sugar are creamed together until light and fluffy in texture.
The vanilla extract is mixed in before the eggs are whisked in one at a time until completely combined.
Once the chocolate has cooled enough so that it won’t cook the eggs when mixed in, it is slowly folded into the mixture along with the flour, Xanthan Gum, salt and baking powder.
The beetroot is pureed before being added to the mixture as the final ingredient and slowly folded in. Be careful not to overmix here so as not to create a cake that doesn’t rise well.
The cake mixture is then transferred to a 7-inch round baking tin and baked on the middle shelf for around 45 minutes until spongy to the touch. You can check the cake is baked through by inserting a toothpick into the centre and if it comes out clean without any wet mixture attached, the cake is done!
Once the cake has cooled to room temperature, the chocolate buttercream is whipped up and spread over the top of the cake before being sprinkled with an extra layer of chocolate flakes for an extra chocolate-y layer!
What equipment do I need for this cake?
- 9″ (23cm) round baking tin
- Stand-mixer or hand-held electric whisk
- Baking paper to line the baking tin
What ingredients do I need?
Caster Sugar – Sugar adds structure and sweetness to this cake. I like to use a standard white caster sugar but a light brown sugar may work well too
Eggs – Eggs are needed to add structure to the cake and to help it to rise in the baking process, room temperature is essential for all eggs in this recipe which helps to incorporate them into the mixture better
Margarine and butter – Margarine works wonders in cakes, hence why I’d recommend sticking to a margarine spread like Stork rather than a butter. Unsalted butter can be used at room temperature but you won’t get a super light and fluffy cake like you would with margarine. Unsalted butter at room temperature is best for the buttercream so that it can be whipped up more easily. You’ll have a hard time if the butter is still hard.
Gluten-free flour – A gluten-free flour blend which contains a variety of flours is perfect for gluten-free baking. This ensures the cupcakes contain all of the necessary components needed to create the perfect crumb which a gluten-containing flour would naturally contain. For this cake I like to use a self-raising flour such as Dove’s Farm Free S.R. Flour which is my go-to flour for baking!
Xanthan gum – Xanthan gum is essential for most gluten-free recipes and there are no exceptions here. Doves Farm is my preferred choice but you can use any brand. Xanthan Gum is a gluten replacement for gluten-free baking and helps to replace the lost elasticity that gluten provides, keeping your cakes together and stopping them from crumbling into dry pieces later on
Baking powder – Baking powder acts as a leavening agent, helping the cake to rise. Any baking powder will work, just again, check that it is definitely gluten-free as not all brands are.
Salt – A pinch of salt in a recipe enhances the flavours of the other ingredients and offsets the sweetness of the cake
Vanilla extract – A few drops of vanilla extract pairs perfectly with chocolate flavours
Icing sugar – Icing sugar is the main ingredient of the buttercream, adding sweetness and structure
Dark chocolate -Dark chocolate with cocoa solids of at least 70% or more is recommended for a rich chocolate flavour
Beetroot – Beetroot is pureed and folded into the mixture at the end to add an extra layer of moisture to the cake. It is best to buy pre-cooked beetroot that is already peeled and soft so that all you need to do is blitz it up to create a puree to add to the mixture
Chocolate flakes – A sprinkle of extra chocolate flakes finishes off the cake to perfection
Tips & Tricks
Room temperature ingredients are essential for this recipe to work. Room temperature ingredients ensures that they all can be mixed together thoroughly. If you forget to take your eggs out of the fridge beforehand, place them in a bowl of lukewarm, not hot, water 15 minutes prior to baking to bring them to room temperature quickly.
The toothpick test is a great way to check whether your cakes are done. As all ovens are calibrated differently, the baking times stated are always suggested a a rough guide. To check if the cake is done, insert a toothpick into the centre and if it comes out with no crumbs stuck to it, you can assume that the cake is baked through and ready to come out.
I use grams for weighing almost all of the ingredients in my recipes as it is what I am most used to when cooking and baking on a daily basis. I use measuring cups for simple ingredients such as spices or smaller amounts as it can be much easier to measure. I would recommend sticking to what the recipe suggests as there is no guarantee that converting into cup measurements will have the same outcome.
- Lemon Meringue Cupcakes
- Strawberry & Bourbon Vanilla Cupcakes
- Mini Strawberry Pies
- Salted Caramel Millionaire’s Shortbread
- Lemon Curd Linzer Cookies
Chocolate Beetroot Cake
For the cake
- 150 g margarine room temperature
- 175 g caster sugar
- 4 medium eggs room temperature
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 200 g dark chocolate minimum 70% cocoa solids melted and cooled
- 150 g gluten-free self-raising flour
- ¼ tsp Xanthan Gum
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- 200 g beetroot peeled, cooked and then pureed
For the chocolate buttercream
- 100 g unsalted butter softened, room temperature
- 250 g icing sugar
- ¼ tsp vanilla extract
- 75 g dark chocolate minimum 70% cocoa solids melted, cooled
- 1-2 tbsp whole-milk room temperature
For the cake
- Preheat the oven to 175° C Fan and line the bottom of a 7-inch round baking tin with baking paper. Grease the tin with a greasing brush and set aside.
- Melt the dark chocolate and set aside to cool.200 g dark chocolate minimum 70% cocoa solids
- Cream the margarine and sugar together until light and fluffy in texture.150 g margarine, 175 g caster sugar
- Mix in the vanilla extract and whisk in the eggs one at a time.4 medium eggs, ½ tsp vanilla extract
- Slowly fold in the melted dark chocolate, continuously stirring until fully incorporated.200 g dark chocolate minimum 70% cocoa solids
- Fold in the flour, Xanthan Gum, salt and baking powder until just incorporated. Try not to overmix!150 g gluten-free self-raising flour, ¼ tsp Xanthan Gum, ¼ tsp salt, 2 tsp baking powder
- Finally, fold in the pureed beetroot until thoroughly mixed into the mixture and transfer the mixture to the baking tin.200 g beetroot
- Bake on the middle shelf for around 45 minutes. The cake will be ready when the centre is spongy to the touch and no longer wobbles, or when an inserted toothpick comes out clean with no wet mixture attached.
- Allow the cake to cool on a cooling rack before preparing the buttercream.
For the buttercream
- Melt the dark chocolate and set aside to cool completely.
- Meanwhile, cream the butter in a stand mixer on the highest setting until paler in colour and fluffier in texture.100 g unsalted butter
- Add the vanilla extract and mix again.¼ tsp vanilla extract
- Add the icing sugar in batches and mix in until no pockets of sugar remain.250 g icing sugar
- Pour in the milk and whisk up again until light and fluffy, this may take a minute or two.1-2 tbsp whole-milk
- Slowly pour the melted and cooled chocolate into the mixture whilst continuously mixing. It is essential that the chocolate has cooled so that it doesn't curdle with the cool butter. Whisk again until light and fluffy.75 g dark chocolate minimum 70% cocoa solids
- Once fully mixed in, spread the buttercream over the top of the chocolate cake and sprinkle with grated chocolate flakes to finish.