whole food ~ well made


This is a Beet Cake

Root vegetables are for dessert, too, especially when it’s beet cake.

This time last year, my cousin Suzanne emailed me from Massachusetts with a beet problem. She’d gotten a bunch in her CSA box and she didn’t know what to do with them.

Naturally, I shared my reflex recipe for beets: roasting.

Ferry Building market radish-golden beets

“Scrub them and put them in a roasting pan, add a splash of water and seal them well with foil. Roast them at 400 degrees F for 40-45 minutes until you can pierce them with a fork. When they’re cool enough to handle, slip off their skins and cut them into wedges, slices, what have you.”

If there’s a beet in my midst, this is their fate–although I’ve been known to pickle a few, too–since this is the most versatile way to use them as a side dish with butter and salt, in a salad with feta and orange slices…

A few weeks later, she reported back that neither she nor her 4 kids liked them. I sure wish I had sent her this recipe instead.

Here you go, Suzie!


Beet Chocolate Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Just like carrot cake, the veggies yield a very moist cake. The difference is the beets are pureed, so no one (i.e. children and avowed beet haters) will ever guess they're in there! I developed this recipe for my friend Marcy who wanted a vegelicious cake for her son Evan's birthday. Party sized, it makes 3 8-inch layers or one 11x17 sheet cake or 2 8-inch layers and 12 large cupcakes. You choose!

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 12 people
Calories 1369 kcal
Author Lynne


For the beet bake:

  • 2 1/2 cups pureed cooked beets
  • 6 eggs beaten
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 3 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda

For the chocolate cream cheese frosting:

  • 6 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate
  • 3 1/2 ounces sticks unsalted butter room temperature, 14
  • 12 ounces cream cheese room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 3 cups sifted confectioner's sugar


  1. Grease and flour the baking pans, and if using 8-inch round pans or a sheet pan line them with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

  2. Beat the eggs with the beets in a mixing bowl. Combine the cocoa powder, vanilla and oil in a large measuring cup.
  3. Whisk the sugar, flour, salt and baking soda in a large mixing bowl. Add the cocoa powder mix to the flour and stir with a rubber spatula until well combined. Add the beet mixture and stir just until combined.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared pans until the mixture is about halfway up the sides of the pan. Bake until the sides of the cake pull away from the pan and a wooden skewer slid into the cake's center comes out clean. (Round layers will take 25-30 minutes; sheet cake 40-45 minutes; and cupcakes 18-20 minutes.)
  5. Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water. Remove from the heat. Cut the 1/2 stick (4 tablespoons/2 ounce of butter into tablespoon-sized pieces and stir into the chocolate until melted. Set aside to cool.

  6. In a stand mixer, beat the remaining 3 sticks (12 ounces) butter and cream cheese using the whisk attachment until perfectly smooth. Add the vanilla and scrape down the sides of the bowl.

  7. Add the confectioner's sugar 1 cup at a time, turning off the machine between additions to avoid spraying the sugar everywhere. Blend on medium speed until it is very smooth.
  8. Add the chocolate mixture and blend until it is fully incorporated.
  9. Apply liberally to the cooled cakes. If there's any extra, store it in an airtight container in the freezer.

Recipe Notes



  1. Lota

    Lynn, I can’t wait try this. I get so many in our organic box, and like you I have a standby, but halfway through winter I start ignoring them. This recipe gives me hope! Thanks.

    1. I agree. It’s good to mix up the beet preparation during the long winter! This is definitely unexpected.

  2. marcy strazer

    Best birthday cake ever! Since Lynne made this for my son’s 2nd birthday it has become an annual tradition. I am baking it tonight for his 6th birthday. Friends rave about the cake and never guess the moistness comes from beets.

    1. Happy Birthday, Evan!

  3. Making this. I love beets with a passion and it’s perfect for my lactose-intolerant husband…obviously I’ll need a different frosting, but still, it sounds great!

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