Serves 20
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This glorious chocolate and beetroot cake makes a statement like no other. With springy chocolate crumb slathered with indulgent cream cheese frosting, the beets become the star of the show, dipped in thick syrup for a shimmering and almost sinful glaze that offers this “red devil” cake its identity.


  • 2 large beetroots (400 g), peeled
  • 1 cup (250 ml) buttermilk
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) vegetable oil
  • 1½ tbsps apple cider vinegar
  • 125 g butter
  • 1½ cups (330 g) caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsps vanilla bean paste
  • 2½ cups (375 g) plain flour
  • ¼ cup (25 g) dutch-processed cocoa
  • 1½ tsps bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt


  • 2 cups (440 g) caster sugar
  • 1 tbsps liquid glucose
  • 2 medium beetroots (350 g), peeled, sliced thinly


  • 150 g butter, at room temperature
  • 500 g cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 3 cups (480 g) icing sugar mixture
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste

Make candied beetroot. Place sugar, glucose and 2 cups (500 ml) water in a heavy-based saucepan; bring to the boil. Add sliced beetroot; cook over low heat for 40 mins or until beetroot is translucent (lift a piece from thick syrup using tongs to check if it is translucent); keep checking the heat as you may need to increase it as syrup thickens. Using tongs, transfer beetroot to wire racks to cool. Simmer remaining liquid over low heat for 5 mins or until reduced and syrupy. Cool.


Preheat oven to 180 C. Grease a 25 cm x 37 cm rectangular slice pan; line base and long sides with baking paper.


Grate beetroot coarsely; you will need 2½ cups. Place beetroot in a food processor with buttermilk, oil and vinegar; process until as smooth as possible.


Beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. With motor operating, add one egg at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla.


Sift flour, cocoa powder, soda and salt into a medium bowl. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture, alternating with buttermilk mixture, beating on low speed until well combined; do not over-beat. Spread batter in pan.


Bake cake for 25 mins or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Leave cake in pan for 5 mins; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.


Meanwhile, make cream-cheese frosting. Beat butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in sugar and vanilla. Cover; refrigerate until required.


Spread frosting over top of cake, creating a swirled effect. Top with candied beetroot and drizzle with a little syrup.

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