Can’t Be Beet Chocolate Cake!

by on February 28, 2006
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Beet Chocolate Cake with Banana-Peanut Butter Sauce

[Please allow me this one cutesie title, and I promise not to do it again (fingers crossed secretly behind back).]

That’s no misspelling you see in the title. I actually made chocolate cake yesterday and put beets in it. And, if you’re asking (as my husband D. did) Why?, then I’ll tell you as I so eloquently told him, Just because.

Just because I had a single solitary beet in the fridge and I wanted to get rid of it. Just because beets are one of “10 Super Foods to Use in Your Recipes.” But primarily just because I vowed to get E. to eat beets and like them!

And…it worked! I watched as she finished her piece of cake with Banana-Peanut Butter Sauce, and just as I was about to inform her of the secret ingredient, she looked up at me, reading my mind as only a child can, and said, “Hey, what happened to that yucky red stuff you were cooking?” “It’s in the cake,” I said, with only a hint of evil glee. “Cool,” she said, and brought her plate to the sink.

Well, that was a let-down. But the cake wasn’t. It’s very dark-cocoa tasting, with no hint of the beet about it. It’s not terribly sweet, so probably next time I’ll add a bit more sugar. And I’ll put it in a smaller pan, or perhaps in two 8-inch round pans. But it’s definitely a keeper–and a slick way to get whole wheat flour and beta carotene into your loved ones.

This was such a hit that this morning as I was packing her lunch, E. said to me, “Mom, put some of that beet cake in. I want to eat my veggies!”

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{ 91 comments… read them below or add one }

1 SusanV August 1, 2009 at 8:12 am

Here are the comments that were posted before the site was moved:

Alanna said…

Ah man, you’re gonna be popular now! The peanut butter sauce sounds wonderful —

9:27 AM, February 28, 2006
EatPeacePlease said…

This looks amazing (can I borrow your oven?!). I love the display, the plate, the tiers and the sauce. Too bad we don’t have “scratch and sniff” monitors!

9:35 AM, February 28, 2006
SusanV said…

Alanna–You know, I was right in the middle of making this when I thought, “Didn’t Alanna say she made something sweet with beets? Was that a cake?” So I must have gotten the idea from you, but forgot it. Now I need to go look at your recipe and see how you did it. Your most popular recipe is about to get another hit!

EatPeacePlease–I love the idea of scratch and sniff monitors! Well, mostly. I guess there are some things out there I really don’t want to sniff. LOL

9:41 AM, February 28, 2006
KaiVegan said…

I love everything about the pic, too! Standing ovation this time, Susan!
That sniffing thing is too funny.

10:05 AM, February 28, 2006
Kourtney said…

I’ve had chocolate-beet cake made with grated raw beets but never one with cooked beets. Great idea — I look forward to trying it.

10:26 AM, February 28, 2006
Isil S. said…

This looks awesome!
I remember this plate 😉

10:54 AM, February 28, 2006
Virginie said…

A few days ago, I saw a recipe of a cake made with beetroot and raspberries, in a french blog and it looked very red. But it contained eggs. And today I see your cocoabeet cake. I do have to taste this amazing mix. Thank you Susan for your idea.

11:15 AM, February 28, 2006
Krista said…

That looks way too good to have beet in it!I going to have to try this one for sure.

I still love the plate, too!

3:15 PM, February 28, 2006
karina said…

Peanut butter and chocolate – what’s not to love? [You’d have to sneak the beets by me, too, btw. I’m not a fan. Maybe this would convert me. ;-)]

Beautiful photo!

3:36 PM, February 28, 2006
Anonymous Evangeline said…

Thanks for the recipe! I can’t wait to try it!

5:16 PM, February 28, 2006
Shawn Powers said…

Why stop with beets — throw a handful of spinach in the blender and really feel good about eating the cake! ;o)

Just think, bringing beet-spinach cake to your next potluck…

7:02 PM, February 28, 2006
Anonymous Jennifer said…

Hi Susan,
I just wanted to stop in and say hello. I can’t believe you’re from Hammond but living in Jackson (Jackson, MS, right?); it seems we’ve traded places! Cooking fatfree and vegan must be especially challenging here in the Deep South.

This cake looks delicious–I’ve tried a similar technique with a baked sweet potato with pretty good results (and beta carotene!)

Best of luck to you too…and it was sunny today, no? Hooray!

5:50 PM, March 01, 2006
Nic said…

Incredible! I definately want to try this one. Not only does it look gorgeous, it sounds delicious!

10:29 PM, March 01, 2006
Anonymous said…

I made this today and it was terrific. When I pureed the cooked beets it came out to exactly 2 cups. I added a tad bit of applesauce just in case.

I did not have peanut butter but I did have almond butter. So I used that instead. Very nice

Susan, could you use this batter to make cupcakes?

Very, very tasty!!!

9:20 PM, May 07, 2006
SusanV said…

Hi Anonymous, I’m so glad you liked it! I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t work for cupcakes.

Thanks for posting!

9:32 PM, May 07, 2006
Anonymous Sarah said…

Thank you so much for this recipe… it’s given me the chance to have a real birthday cake again (I haven’t been able to eat almost any oil for almost a year due to dietary conditions). You made my b-day special!!

11:47 AM, April 07, 2007
Anonymous E.O. from WA said…

Hi Susan!
Another great recipe! Everyone I know is trying your recipe because it’s SO good!! I’ve made multiple times now and I’m hooked. Sometimes I’ve had to change a couple things to the recipe (canned beets or all whole wheat flour or less sugar) and it still comes out amazing. My mom surprised me by making it for my birthday last month! -E.O. from WA

11:04 PM, April 14, 2007
Anonymous Kari said…

This recipe looks fantastic! I want to make it for a friends birthday, but I noticed the recipe doesn’t have any fat in it. Does it turn out ok without it? Is it still moist?

8:47 AM, April 25, 2007
Anonymous jennbecluv said…

How funny… I just blogged about making beet cake and here you are with one already made. 🙂 Mine wasn’t vegan though. Nor was in accompanied by the lovely sauce you made. I’ll have to give that a try next time.

11:46 AM, June 25, 2007
Anonymous wvtrailseeker said…

Now, I have a recipe for my Birthday Cake too. How wonderful of you to post these recipes just for me. LOL
I am going to make the cake, with the German Chocolate Topping you have also posted.
I can’t wait to try it all out on my Family.
They will be really surprised, to say the least.
THANKS, you are a true Godsend, for we Vegans.

8:53 PM, January 21, 2008
SusanV said…

You’re welcome, wvtrailseeker! Hope you enjoy the recipes!

8:54 PM, January 21, 2008
Anonymous said…

oh i cannot wait to make this recipe into cupcakes for valentine’s day! how many will this recipe yield? also has anyone tried using agave nectar inplace of the sugar for the cupcake batter? or any other sugar substitute? thanks!

11:59 PM, January 24, 2008
Anonymous Nancy said…

I have now made two cakes with blended beets substituted for all of the fat. It is moister than most cakes, and probably even more delicious. We are never going back to regular chocolate cake again! YUMMM! I also dusted it with cinnamon, which made a great presentation.

(And I hate beets normally…)

5:09 PM, January 30, 2008
Anonymous Nancy said…

P.S. My weight watcher’s points calculator said it is two points per serving. Hard to believe anything this lucious it two points!

5:11 PM, January 30, 2008
Michelle said…

Hey Susan, thanks for another wonderful recipe. I’ve been cooking lots of food from your blog recently and it’s always fantastic. This cake came out very nicely but, as you noted, it could have been a tad sweeter–I was wondering how much more sugar you would recommend next time around. Also, I was making it with a friend who hates bananas (yeah, I don’t understand either); do you have any other suggestions about frosting possibilities? Thanks again for all the inventive, healthy, delicious recipes. Your blog has been a huge help to me.

8:40 PM, March 20, 2008
Fanny said…

I LOVE this recipe, I’ve made the cake like 4 times now XD thank you Susan!

I don’t mean to be rude, but do you think there is a way to adapt this recipe to include eggs?


3:10 AM, April 02, 2008
Anonymous moonwatcher said…

Hi Susan,

thanks again for another great recipe. Although this might sound crazy to all the chocolate lovers out there, I experimented by making this with carob powder because chocolate is restricted on the diet I follow and I feel better if I don’t eat it. It was great! Even two chocolate lovers on two different occasions, one of which was my son, laughed at my worries and said it was really good. My son was especially funny, recalling the joys of your orange chocolate cake while eating this, saying the carob was good but the chocolate orange cake was better. . .then a pause as he cleaned his plate. . .then, “is it alright if I have another piece?” !! So carob powder or cocoa powder, your cakes are delicious winners!!

9:08 PM, April 17, 2008
Anonymous said…

I used:

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour instead of the wheat and white flour

3/4 cup agave nectar instead of the 1c sugar

8 tsp baking powder instead of 2 tsp baking soda (recommended conversion).

And it came out great! Thanks.

2:43 AM, June 15, 2008
Anonymous Diane Kolack said…

I made this cake last night and it was amazing! We’re not even vegan and we loved it. It think it would also make great muffins.

Thanks for this wonderful recipe! I have tried a lot of beet cake recipes and this is definitely the best one.

– Diane from NYC

7:26 AM, June 27, 2008
Anonymous said…

I can’t find apple cider vinegar where I live, What can I use instead? Can I use white vinegar or apple vinager? Thanks so much, this looks deliciuos and can’t wait to try it!

Claudia from Mexico

6:11 PM, August 29, 2008
SusanV said…

I would probably use the white vinegar, Claudia, but any vinegar will do. Hope you enjoy it!

6:18 PM, August 29, 2008
Anonymous said…

OMG! Thank you Susan so much! I made this last weekend and actually used white vinegar and the chocolate cake came out soooo god. I wasn’t as fluffy as yours but pretty decent and for being my the first time ever baking a vegan cake and on top of it fat free, It was excellent way to start. Even my non-vegetarian, non dieters relatives loved it. Definitely making this again, next time I will use a little bit less salt, it was a little salty for my taste. thank you again!

11:06 PM, September 04, 2008
Anonymous Linda said…

Susan, I’d like to make this using canned beets. Any idea how much of the canned beets to use to equal “one large beet”? Thanks!

4:59 AM, September 06, 2008
SusanV said…

Linda, I would use a whole can of beets, drained and well-rinsed. After pureeing, measure them, and if you don’t have two cups, add apple sauce to the 2-cup line. Hope you like it!

8:16 AM, September 06, 2008
Anonymous said…

I made this cake for my friend’s birthday and she loved it… and so did everyone else! I served it with a spicy chocolate sauce instead of the peanut butter. I will most likely use agave syrup next time instead of sugar. Thanks for posting this!

1:59 AM, September 07, 2008
Anonymous said…

What is the point of the apple cider vinegar? If i don’t want to use any vinegar what can I Substitute the vinegar with? Or can I remove the Vinegar all togather?

9:34 AM, September 10, 2008
SusanV said…

The vinegar is an integral part of the recipe; it combines with the baking soda to create a chemical reaction that makes the cake rise. You can use white vinegar instead of cider vinegar, but you need some kind of vinegar or you may wind up with a flat cake. You can’t taste the vinegar in the finished product, and unless you are allergic to vinegar, I wouldn’t try to substitute for it.

9:42 AM, September 10, 2008
Anonymous Linda said…

This cake was a smashing success! I made it with the Vegan German Chocolate Frosting (I used rice milk instead of soy because one of the people I was making it for can’t have soy products). People were shocked at how good it was!!! Susan, thanks once again for another fabulous recipe.

6:13 AM, September 11, 2008
doppelganger said…

Thanks for this amazing recipe! It’s awesome. The best chocolate cake I’ve ever had, and the healthiest too^^
I’ve linked your post from my blog, and translated the recipe to Spanish (I’m from Spain), I hope you don’t mind. If you don’t want it to be translated, please tell me and I will take it out of my blog.

3:06 AM, March 28, 2009
Anonymous Elisabeth said…

I made this cake for my mother’s birthday. I was very worried about how it would turn out because I realized a little too late that I didn’t have enough applesauce. I substituted the rest with a mix of rice milk and oil and it still turned out delicious! I decorated it with opened cape gooseberry fruits which matched the banana-pb sauce perfectly! My mother and the rest of my family all loved it!
Thank you so much for another hit Susan!

11:41 AM, April 11, 2009
Adit said…

is it possible to replace the sugar with agave nectar? if so, can you estimate the measures?

thanks, i love your blog 🙂

5:48 PM, April 12, 2009
SusanV said…

I haven’t made it with agave nectar, but here’s what I’d do: omit the 2 tablespoons of water and use 3/4 cup of agave instead of the sugar. Mix it into the wet ingredients rather than the dry.

Please let me know how it comes out if you try this method!

7:26 PM, April 12, 2009
Kristi said…

This was so good – I was searching for a way to use some of my CSA beets and this was perfect! I ended up freezing some of it already cut into pieces, and it was really easy to defrost and enjoy single servings. Thanks!

3:43 PM, May 08, 2009
Adit said…

well, i made this cake twice, and it was great! i almost forgot what a cake tastes like since i became vegan, and this one was so good!
btw, i replaced the sugar with 3/4 cup of natural apple concentrate – with no sugar added – and it worked just fine. cherry concentrate is also good.


2:21 PM, June 04, 2009
Anonymous said…

WOW. I had some beets but no eggs and wondered if I could find a recipe for muffins… internet search – voila I found this site. This cake worked perfectly as muffins – I just added some chocolate chips for more texture. DELICIOUS. My husband is freaking out at how good they are! I think these are the moistest muffins I’ve ever made, and somehow there’s no fat in them. ?! Amazing!

6:18 PM, July 19, 2009
v said…

Hi Susan,
Can we replace cornstarch with anything ? Is all purpose flour ok ?

5:37 PM, July 24, 2009
SusanV said…

Vasavi, can you get any kind of starch, such as potato or tapioca starch? If not, then flour should be okay.

5:44 PM, July 24, 2009
Katelyn said…

Hi Susan, I’ve been afraid of baking for years for fear of getting worms in my flour … but this cake and your blueberry-banana bread inspired me to get back into it and take the change!

The cake is wonderfully rich and fluffy … I’m amazed how you coaxed these ingredients into something so good.

For the icing, I tinkered with your recipe a bit, adding more nectar and vanilla. Also, a teaspoon of salt adds some savory body to the flavors. Any ideas on how to thicken it up? I was thinking cornstarch might do it, but too afraid to try — plus, the cake is almost all gone.

12:10 PM, July 26, 2009
Katelyn said…

Delicious! This cake is an inspiration to try more of your vegan baking recipes (I’m typically an egg, butter and milk lover, but you might have won me over).

For the icing, I tinkered a bit. Adding a teaspoon of salt really puts a new dimension to it, and I highly recommend it. Any ideas on how to thicken to make it more like frosting? I considered cornstarch but didn’t want to ruin my last banana.

12:15 PM, July 26, 2009
SusanV said…

Katelyn, if you don’t mind using confectioner’s sugar, I’m sure that would thicken it up. You could try just adding it a tablespoon at a time until you reach the right taste and consistency.

P.S. I keep my flour in the freezer after a big infestation a few years ago. It probably isn’t necessary, but it makes me feel better.

12:57 PM, July 26, 2009
Anonymous Nancy ( said…

I’ve been looking for a chocolate beet cake for my CSA organic beets – how much beet salad can a person eat? I’m just hoping I can convert this to glutenfree and get a similar result.

7:29 PM, July 26, 2009
Lacey said…


I am vegan and attempting to make a vegan dessert for a pregnant friend of mine who, while is not vegan, is pregnant and having to avoid lots of fats. do you by chance have the nutritional facts listed anywhere for this recipe? it seems like the only fat i can see would be in the icing with the PB but i wanted to check. thanks!!

1:25 AM, August 01, 2009
SusanV said…

Lacey, I’ve just added the nutrition info to the recipe. Notice that the stats in the box are for the cake only and the peanut sauce info is below that. Without the sauce, the cake is almost completely fat-free and contains no high-fat ingredients.

8:22 AM, August 01, 200


2 Jennifer October 1, 2009 at 5:56 pm

I'm sorry, but I made this and although the consistency and moisture were excellent, neither I nor my friends could stand the taste of this cake. The beets give it a bitter, dirt-like taste that the sugar could not compensate for. I'm thinking of trying the same recipe but using canned pumpkin instead. I like the idea of the moist and fat-free cake still…don't take this as an attack on your recipe! Any thoughts?


3 SusanV October 1, 2009 at 6:11 pm

I'm sorry for your experience, Jennifer. My only thought is that maybe some beets are stronger tasting than others. When I made this, we couldn't even tell the beets were in there.

If you want to still use this recipe, you could try pumpkin, which I haven't tried, or apple sauce, which I have. Also, check out my chocolate-orange cake, which most people love.


4 Kathy Marsh May 2, 2010 at 1:20 pm

When beets have grown slowly because of either hot dry, or cold wet weather (sometimes you just can’t win) you can get the sort of taste Jennifer describes and some people hate. I roast them with a drizzle of honey and some black pepper when they are like this. But the recipe sounds a real winner and I’ll be trying it our shortly. Great to find your blog – always looking for new vegan dishes for our cafe’s plot to pot eating demonstrations. The cafe is vegetarian rather than vegan but with most of the customers being omnivores, as I am myself, I find it really important than in a cafe which is all about sustainable eating they go home convinced that healthy low impact food is delicious and filling.


5 Anonymous November 1, 2009 at 9:35 am

I must preface this comment by telling you how much I love and appreciate your blog; I have been a vegan for a year and your blog has become my go-to for healthy dishes that deliver in terms of taste as well. I always know that if I want to fix something healthy for company that I can prepare anything you post with confidence.

Now, about this cake, one of my best girlfriends turned 22 this weekend and I made her this cake knowing she has a passion for anything peanut butter. It was served to a party of college students who are very much not vegan and enjoy Chicago deep dish in all of its cheesy glory on a regular basis: there was NONE left! The cake was devoured after minutes of singing happy birthday with *rave* reviews! It was actually pretty moist on its own to begin with, but knowing her affinity for peanut butter, I doubled the sauce recipe and scooped it over the cake like a thick pudding, giving the cake an almost fudgy outer texture. No one believed me when I told them about the beet!

Oh Susan, thank you for helping me give my friend a healthy and happy birthday!


6 veganemporium November 11, 2009 at 3:28 pm

This cake turned out great! It's so chocolate-y and delicious! I've been looking for a beet-chocolate cake for a while now, and I'm very happy with this recipe. I will be making it again 🙂 I didn't try the frosting though. I'm more apt to enjoying a plain slice of cake (weird, I know)


7 jbarber213 December 29, 2009 at 12:21 pm

Hello! This cake looks beautiful and I am so excited to try it with the german chocolate frosting for my dad's birthday at the end of January. (Might need to do a taste test run before then (not because I doubt the recipe, but because I am not sure if I can wait a month to try this!)

I have one question. I plan to mkae this a double layer 8" round cake. You mention to bake for 35-60 minutes and that you baked a 9×13 for 35 minutes. I would guesstimate that 8" rounds would be done in 28-32 minutes. Do you agree, or do you have experience baking this with 8" pans?

I am SO EXCITED to have stumbled upon your website as I just decided to be vegetarian (100%)/ vegan (75%)…and need all the recipe help I can get!


8 SusanV December 29, 2009 at 12:27 pm

I haven't made this exact version in 8-inch pans, but I think your calculations are right. I'd start checking it after 25 minutes just to be on the safe side. I hope you and your father enjoy it!


9 Jennifer January 11, 2010 at 2:53 pm

I made this last night and it was fantastic. I used two cans of beets for the puree, and substituted all whole wheat pastry flour. I used a different topping; had no tofu.

It was a trial run for a cupcake party I'm having. One of my friends is vegan (I'm a strict bacon-arian, who loves her veggies) and uses very little oil, so I wanted to serve something that she could have and others would actually enjoy. Great recipe, I look forward to trying more from your blog!


10 Megan February 27, 2010 at 4:07 pm

Oh yum!

I made this last night for a girlfriend's birthday. It took two beets for me to get close to the two-cup liquid measure. Also, because I used my mini-Cuisinart, there were some beet chunks left. I actually ended up really enjoying the few little bits of beet in the cake.

This cake was so moist but still light and fluffy. I made it in a bundt pan and dusted it with sugar. The only thing I'd change is to use a bit more cocoa (or maybe the "Special Dark" cocoa,) since I wanted a little deeper chocolately flavor.

Thanks, SusanV!


11 Puja April 8, 2010 at 9:35 am

hey Susan,

We dont get agave nectar where i am, what can i substitute it with?

Also we dont get silken tofu and ive seen it in a couple of ure receipes, is it ok to use the normal tofu block? Or what can i use instead?



12 SusanV April 8, 2010 at 9:55 am

Hi Puja–Instead of agave, you can use any syrup or liquid sweetener. As for the tofu, regular soft tofu may work, but it will probably have a grittier texture than silken, which whips up much lighter than regular.


13 Susan April 23, 2010 at 2:15 pm

Hello! I’m planning on making this on my birthday with the pecan frosting only thing is i moved overseas and I can’t find beets can I make the cake without the beets or can I subistute it with something else? Thank you!


14 SusanV April 23, 2010 at 3:02 pm

Sure! Just use applesauce instead of the beets. Have a happy birthday!


15 Natasha May 2, 2010 at 12:19 pm

Neat idea! It’s so cute your daughter likes it!


16 mary moff May 18, 2010 at 1:43 am

susan, what if I left out the cocoa..? I’ve got every thing listed BUT that, and I sorta would like a pink cake, anyway 😉

thoughts? just replace it with more flour?


17 SusanV May 18, 2010 at 7:42 am

You could try, but you need to add a little extra vinegar or lemon juice to replace the acid in the cocoa powder. I would probably leave out the vinegar and use 2 teaspoons of lemon juice instead. Please let me know how it comes out!


18 mary moff May 19, 2010 at 3:53 pm

haha, after I showed my roommate, she told me I HAD to do the chocolate version first, in order for her to help me with my “weird hippie food”, so please stay on the line and hold for pink cake! chocolate nom-noms, here we come!

btw, I’m making your eggplant “parmesan” tonight, susan – I kinda love you. I’m one of the best 21 year old HEALTHY cooks I know, thanks to you 🙂


19 mary moff May 19, 2010 at 5:26 pm


but seriously, susan… how does that decadent thing only have 215 cal! I made a glaze with some smart-balance light (I know, I know.) and powdered sugar, but the damn cake melted it and soaked it all up!

…can’t say that I’m complaining, though 🙂


20 SusanV May 19, 2010 at 5:37 pm

Mary, that was hilarious! “Eggplant not happening!” 🙂

I’m so glad the cake was so good, and I’m sure the eggplant will keep another day.


21 Lexi May 23, 2010 at 3:11 pm

Hi Susan!

I finally got around to making this cake after months of having it on my bookmarks :}

I ended up using pureed grapes in the place of beets, and it turned out wonderful!

I also ended up using a fat free, albeit moisture-heavy frosting, which lended greatly to the cake’s texture and, surprisingly, taste.

After 1 day without frosting, the cake was a tad bit dry; however, after sitting with frosting for a day, the crumb became incredibly moist and rich!

4 stars w/o frosting

5+++ stars with frosting (or some sort of moisture-heavy concoction)

While I cannot attest to the “beet” aspect of this cake (I know, the whole point), I can confidently say that most other pureed fruits would seemingly work fine !

Here’s my post with a link back to your recipe 🙂


22 Adelle May 25, 2010 at 6:26 pm

The easiest way to peel beets is to boil them first, then simply run them under water. The skin rubs right off, and no purple hands!

I am baking this cake right now, but altered the recipe to make a mexican chocolate cake by adding 2 tsp cinnamon and 1/2 tsp cayenne. The batter tastes super yummy!


23 tom clark June 21, 2010 at 10:24 am

im sorry to be a bother. i cant seem to be able to print a beet cake recipe without the ads and comments being attached.


24 SusanV June 21, 2010 at 10:26 am

Tom, if you can come back in a few minutes, I’ll have a printer-friendly version up. Just refresh the page and look for a printer-friendly link near the top of the recipe.


25 Samantha June 27, 2010 at 9:02 pm

omg!! I don’t even remember how I got to this website, but I luckily found it a few days before my boyfriend’s birthday. This cake was fantastic! I really tasted the beets in the batter and was kind of worried, but it was sooo moist and delicious! He said it tasted like a “chef” made it! haha thanks so much for your recipe! I am not a vegan, but I do like fresh, tasty foods – maybe I should make a Julie and Julia like blog and make every recipe from YOUR site?? Haha, ok, cake-induced psychosis. But seriously, I’ll be trying a ton of these recipes! thanks so much!


26 Gwen July 5, 2010 at 10:01 pm

Wow… this was incredible… didn’t taste the beets at all and my beet was so huge I didn’t need any applesauce! So delicious and moist. The only complaint is the time it took to get the beets ready to use in the cake… I’m definitely going to try the canned beets next time to see how that goes. If it’s not as good, I think I’m still gonna keep this as my go-to chocolate cake recipe even with the time commitment… love that there’s no oil.

I used a simple vanilla frosting/glaze (powdered sugar, a little water, a little vanilla) because I made this for my dad’s birthday and he’s trying to watch his fat intake… made it a layer cake, and it worked out great that way.

Also… we served this to non-vegans and did NOT tell them about the beets… they loved it and when we told them they were amazed and surprised that something so good could be fat free and have veggies in it!


27 Erin August 5, 2010 at 10:47 pm

I’m always looking for vegan desserts for my lactose intolerant Dad, and I have to tell you how much I love this recipe. I bring this cake to work and my co workers eyes light up when they see it! If you like the texture of carrot cake you’ll like this as it’s very dense. Canned beets are a definite must, and I rinse mine too before pureeing. I also added a bit more sugar, and more vanilla. For a frosting, I sort of made up a concoction of cocoa, powdered sugar, coconut milk, and a bit of butter (not vegan, sorry!). Seriously, it tastes like Nutella. If you like though, you can add more cocoa and less coconut milk (no butter) and it turns out almost like a ganache. Just make sure you spread it on the cake chilled. I will warn everyone else though, with the beet and applesauce and whole wheat flour (I don’t put any white flour in mine) it definitely lives up to the nickname my cousin gave it – colon cake. Absolutely delicious though.


28 Kristin Fossum August 16, 2010 at 10:05 am

I LOVE LOVE LOVE this cake! I actually use my own peanut butter frosting with it (definitely less healthy than yours) but I love the cake and have served it to many of my friends and they love it as well (in particular, one chocolate fanatic friend who has now made it herself). My question for you is, why do you recommend pureeing the beets with clear water and not the water from the beets? I like to pack all the nutrients I can in so I’ve used the beet water and don’t notice a stronger beet taste at all. Is there another reason not to use the beet water?
Thanks so much for a fantastic blog. I’ve made so many of your recipe’s and my husband and I LOVE them all.


29 SusanV August 16, 2010 at 10:16 am

Honestly? I can’t remember! It’s been a while since I wrote the recipe and can’t recall why I did it that way, but if it works for you, then I can’t see why the cooking water shouldn’t be used.


30 Penny F August 21, 2010 at 10:07 am

Hi SusanV

I , like many, came across your site by accident. I was looking for a Mexican beet cake recipe. I love, love beets and just finished making my beet preserves for the winter.
My question, after reading the reviews, is, since Idon’t boil my beets to cook them, I cook them in the oven, will the flavour of beets be overpowering in the cake? Also, for the Mexican version of the cake, is the cinnamon and cayenne just added to the batter, or, are these ingredients replacing something else?
Thanks so much for the info, I’m anxious to get started.
PS: Thanks for the info about your friend and the od of beet juice. That could be me, once I find something I enjoy, I can’t leave it alone until it’s all gone.


31 Lisa Sullivan August 26, 2010 at 11:55 am

success again! turned this into cup cakes and put on some vegan buttercream frosting and all my non-vegan co-workers scarfed these up. most of them said if I had of told them they were a. vegan and b. had beetroot in them that they wouldn’t have tried them.
I do double the cocoa and add a bit more sugar though


32 Dee September 19, 2010 at 2:02 pm

I love that you put the details of the taste to your cake here. My daughter’s boyfriend asked her specifically for a beet chocolate cake to challenge her baking skills. Which she’s up to.
We are newly vegetarian, and loving it. So, we’ll be posting photos on my blog next week from his birthday.

I’ll be following your blog more often for more yummy recipes.



33 Isabel October 28, 2010 at 6:50 pm

Hello there! I’ve visited your blog a few times and have tried a few recipes but this is the first time I comment 🙂 I am an avid baker, especially since I went vegan 5 years ago.

Just made this cake because a) I also had a lone beet in the fridge that needed eating and b) I needed a red/pink cake for tomorrow’s cake event at work for breast cancer awareness month. What better than a vegan cake? I get to display how wonderful vegan baking is and it is healthier than the usual sugar/fat bombs that people bring along 🙂

I had a piece (only to test it! honest!) and it is AMAZING! I’m leaving the icing out, the cake is delish as it is 🙂 It is light and fluffy and NO FAT or soy!! Amazing.
Not that I mind soy at all, I adore tofu but it is nice to do a soy-free cake every now and then 🙂

Thanks Susan!


34 Nikki November 24, 2010 at 5:57 pm

This looks great! I’m going to be making this dessert for Thanksgiving tomorrow (no I’m not very traditional) and am wondering if the frosting can be made without the silken tofu. Rice milk maybe?

Thanks for the great recipe!


35 Leah November 29, 2010 at 10:01 am

I just made this as cupcakes (12 baked for 23 min) as a test run for my upcoming bday german chocolate cupcakes and I think they’re great…fingers crossed that my bday guests will agree! I did make a few subs out of necessity (ie no trips to the market today): I used a can of drained beets, white whole wheat flour instead of normal whole wheat flour, half dark cocoa powder and half normal (not out of necessity, just because I’m a chocoholic), arrowroot powder instead of cornstarch. Thanks Susan for another winner!


36 Dyan December 10, 2010 at 4:38 pm

Mmmm. Made this last night with some vacuum-sealed steamed beets from Trader Joe’s that my mom was trying to use up. I admit i was apprehensive because the open package had been sitting in the fridge for a while and the beets smelled rather pungent, but all the omnivores who tried the cake said it tastes just like “real” chocolate cake.

Oh, I made it in two 8-inch round pans and the baking time was about 34 minutes.


37 Rachel Assuncao December 29, 2010 at 10:36 pm

I made this cake today for my daughter’s third birthday (which is tomorrow). It turned out perfectly! The cake is moist, a little dense, with a rich cocoa flavor. It got 2 thumbs up from my DH and my 14-year-old stepson when I gave them each a piece of the cut-aways to try.

In the recipe you note to reserve the cooking juice from the beet for another purpose. I did, and I used it. I made a buttercream icing (not low sugar, or low fat, I know) and after I whipped the butter and icing sugar together, I used the chilled beet juice in place of water or milk in the icing recipe. The icing turned this amazing, rich, deep pink color and tastes amazing (no hint of beet flavor at all). Brilliant color and no artificial coloring.

I baked the cake in 2 8-inch rounds, and they took about 18 minutes to cook at 325 (though I suspect my oven is a little hot).

I will definitely be making this again…and again…and again.


38 Serena January 16, 2011 at 11:30 pm

Beets in a cake!!!?? I must try this! It looks absolutely delicious. I just book marked it 😀


39 Gabriele January 21, 2011 at 12:14 pm

Hi Susan 🙂
This looks and sounds yummy!!
Can the beets be shredded raw into the dough (like carrot in a carrot cake) or do they really have to be cooked? Would it make a diffrerence in taste if they were raw?
Greetings from Quebec Canada 🙂


40 SusanV January 21, 2011 at 12:25 pm

The eggs are acting as a fat/egg replacer, so they really need to be pureed, not shredded. You may be able to keep them raw, but I haven’t tried it.


41 Gabriele January 23, 2011 at 1:49 pm

Hi Susan,
I tried this delicious chocolate beet cake today. I was very exited because it is my very first recipe vegan. I followed the recipe to a T. I baked it in an 8 inch round pan at 325 and it took about 60 minutes +. I got a bit worried that it might burn so I took it out after it passed the 60 minute mark. It raised a bit but when I took it out, it collapsed. I let it cool and when I cut it, it had a brownie like and dense consistency. It didn’t looked at all like the texture of your exemple. However, I still liked it and the taste was surprisingly good. 🙂 Any idea of what may have gone wrong? I am not discouraged and will try it again … 🙂


42 Kathleen @ Kat's Health Corner February 12, 2011 at 2:42 pm

Susan, this sounds WONDERFUL!!!! Thanks for posting it! 🙂


43 David February 18, 2011 at 7:33 am

Any tips on how to make this recipe gluten-free? Should I just use equal amounts of a gluten free “all-purpose” mix? Or less?


44 sweet220 February 18, 2011 at 11:33 pm

Do you think if I used agave instead of sugar that it would be okay? I am concerned that it would be too wet and not turn out.


45 SusanV February 18, 2011 at 11:45 pm

Honestly, I don’t know. You could try using 3/4 cup of agave instead of the sugar and maybe leave out the 2 tbsp. of water. But there’s always the chance that the chemistry could be thrown off and the cake not rise. Only one way to find out…. 🙂


46 Alisha February 22, 2011 at 3:41 am

hi! i made this cake and it tastes delicious… but, i followed the receipe down to a tee and i got a really really flat cake , i used plain white flour and wholemeal plain flour was i supposed to use self raising somewhere along the way? cos i know there are different terms for flour in america and australia..?


47 SusanV February 22, 2011 at 10:17 am

Sorry your cake came out flat. It sound like you used the right flours. Mine wasn’t super-tall–what you see in the photo is two layers stacked together. Did yours rise at all?


48 Island Vegan February 22, 2011 at 1:51 pm

I made this recipe into mini cupcake and topped them with chocolate avocado frosting (not fat free, but full of “good” fats instead of bad). Best. Cupcake. Ever. And they fooled some non vegans, too, which always makes a vegan happy.
Avo frosting recipe in case anyone wants it:
2 ripe Hass avocados
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup agave
1/4 cup vegan powdered sugar (or more, add to taste and consistency)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Puree avos in food processor or with hand blender. Add remaining ingredients. Continue to puree or blend til very smooth.


49 Marlene February 22, 2011 at 2:48 pm

I was lucky enough to get a cupcake from E. It was awesome. Thanks so much!


50 Esther J April 14, 2012 at 7:36 pm

Oh, how delicious they turned out! Moist and rich.

I made the cake batter into cupcakes and made your frosting, Island. OMGoodness, they exceeded all my expectations! The omnivores in my family were well-pleased.

Unfortunately, I had to up the sugar content due to the recipients’ rather large sweet teeth/tooth(s?).

Still, the cupcakes were fantastic.

Thanks very much, Susan and Island, for these keepers!


51 Pam February 27, 2011 at 3:11 pm

I must admit I’m a bit sceptical on this one. However, I decided to give it a try.
I just mixed it up and it’s in the oven now. I do not like beets and I could taste the beet flavor in the dough, I’m hoping that it won’t be as strong in the finished product. I left out the cinnamon and substitued 3/4 c brown sugar for the white.


52 Gabazoola February 28, 2011 at 9:23 am

You secretly infiltrated my brain and stole my family recipe! 😀 My grandmother used to hide all kinds of vegetables in desserts, including beets, so that her kids would eat them, and my dad passed the “secret” along to me! I’m definitely going to give this cake a try. My best friend is an advocate for vegan cooking and I’m sure she’ll appreciate this. 🙂


53 Rachel Assuncao February 28, 2011 at 9:23 am

I baked this cake for my daughter’s 3rd birthday party. It was moist, delicious, and chocolaty. I used the reserved beet water to make the icing bright pink! Everyone was talking about how good it was, before I finally blurted out the secret ingredient!

I would omit the cinnamon the next time, it was a bit overwhelming for my liking. And I used sucanat as my sugar of choice, which added a richness to the flavor.

Thanks for the great recipe!


54 Get Skinny, Go Vegan. February 28, 2011 at 10:38 am

Yum…….sitting here wishing I was eating this for breakfast!!


55 natyelton April 21, 2011 at 8:34 am

I used 2 full cups of beets, no apple sauce, wheat bran instead of white flour, Substituted almond extract and cut back on the sugar since I used smaller beets and they are generally sweeter than the large. I Used almond butter as the base for the icing but next time I will leave out the banana, It wasn’t overripe but it took over the flavor of the icing. I love it!! I had it for breakfast and the same tommorow only i will top it off with fresh picked strawberries. Thanks for all your recipes!


56 Sam @ What will I cook today? May 24, 2011 at 11:35 am

This cake was so awesome! Ran out of applesauce so had to sub in Greek yogurt–no longer vegan but still just as good!!


57 Marina June 19, 2011 at 9:02 pm

Hi Susan
First of all Thanks! You are wonderful! How can I make this frosting without the Tofu? Thanks


58 SusanV June 19, 2011 at 9:50 pm

That’s so nice of you to say! I haven’t done this but I’ll bet you could use two bananas and no tofu. I would probably add some lemon juice to keep it from going brown as quickly, but it probably would be best to eat it right away.


59 Margot August 13, 2011 at 9:55 am

I made this yesterday and it was DELICIOUS! Thank you for the great recipe. I’ll be making a lot more things from your blog! Greetings all the way from Belgium!


60 SusanV August 13, 2011 at 10:06 am

Hi Margot in Belgium! I’m happy you found your way here. Thanks for posting!


61 Lisa August 25, 2011 at 1:15 pm

Hi Susan!

What a deep debt of gratitude I owe your lovely site – far and away my favorite source for recipes, as a non-vegan “flexitarian” and a great lover of sneaking healthy desserts to parties! I’m looking forward to bringing this delicious-sounding cake to a potluck this weekend, and I was wondering if you recommended dutch-process cocoa or regular (I’m debating Hershey’s Special Dark or plain old cocoa powder). I’m sure either would taste great, but your word is gospel!

Thanks again for being such a fabulous resource (and beautiful pictures!)!


62 SusanV August 25, 2011 at 1:20 pm

Thanks for the kind words, Lisa! I say go with what you have on-hand. Plain old cocoa powder works fine here, but if you happen to have Special Dark, then go for it.


63 Vicki E February 15, 2012 at 8:44 am

Just one more reason to love beets! Thanks so much for a cool & sneaky way to get everybody to eat this misunderstood veggie!


64 janzy February 23, 2012 at 6:55 pm

I just made this and I loved it! I had some beets from trader joes,already cooked, and I just really cannot get into beets (I am trying!) so when I saw this recipe I thought what a great way to use a beet! I used one cup beets and one cup applesauce because that is all the beet I had. I also used almond butter instead of peanut. It is so good I want to hide it from everyone else!


65 Tracy April 8, 2012 at 6:11 pm

Can I use whole wheat flour in place of the unbleached white and if so, the same amount of flour?


66 Susan Voisin April 8, 2012 at 6:13 pm

Yes, just use the same amount.


67 Tracy April 8, 2012 at 6:18 pm

Thanks so much!


68 Carol May 27, 2012 at 9:57 am

Hello, Susan!
At first place, I LOVE your blog and your ideas and recipes.
I’m from Brazil and it’s hard to find apple sauce here. What can I do in order to replace it?


69 Susan Voisin May 27, 2012 at 10:05 am

Any kind of pureed fruit should do. Soft fruits like peaches and plums can just be peeled and pureed in the blender or food processor. Or you can cook apples and puree them to make your own apple sauce.


70 alilmonkey May 28, 2012 at 3:13 pm

Can’t wait to try this.. I love beets And chocolate.. what is not to love!!


71 Michele June 6, 2012 at 8:13 pm

I’m hunting for recipes for my little one’s first birthday tomorrow. I also just happen to have a lone beet rolling around the fridge and think this will make a fabulous first bite of cake! If it’s half as good as your orange chocolate bundt cake, we have a winner!


72 Irina June 11, 2012 at 10:54 am
73 Shari June 18, 2012 at 2:33 pm

I made this cake for Fathers Day = Yummy!


74 Sarah September 1, 2012 at 10:42 pm

Vegan newbie here! 🙂 Just made this into cupcakes for my daughters birthday party tomorrow and tried one to taste test… AMAZING! 🙂 I’m planning to concoct a low-er fat peanut butter frosting for them! Thank you for this recipe!


75 Katrin October 5, 2012 at 3:51 am

Dear Susan,

since I started a vegan diet recently I was verry happy to find your blog!
Especially about this great recepy I am very grateful. I made the cake three times with beet, last time I replaced the beet with pumpkin puree that was left over, and it turned out delicious as well!

Looking forward to trying out more!

Greetings from Berlin,


76 Joslyn December 8, 2012 at 9:09 pm

I just printed “Can’t be beet choclate cake”. Unfortunately, the nutrition “guide” didn’t print. Is there a reason why?

P.S. Have you thought about putting together a cookbook?


77 Nancy Nurse December 24, 2012 at 1:40 pm

Oh gosh, what oh what have I done wrong AGAIN??? I had to bake it for TWO HOURS and it’s STILL not really cooked. I followed this recipe to a “T”. I’m afraid to slice it because the last test (done with a sharp knife) still had some wet ingredients on it but after two hours, I just gave up and took it out. Perhaps it will continue to cook a bit. I just don’t know. I’m so so discouraged. Practically everything that I’ve tried since I’ve become vegan has not come out well and requires much longer to bake. Could it be my oven in Ireland? Or could it be that I’m using U.S. measurements with U.K. measures perhaps? If anyone has an thoughts, I sure would appreciate them.


78 Nancy Nurse December 24, 2012 at 2:00 pm

Addendum to my first question: I forgot to mention that I didn’t have the proper cake pan and had to use a Bread Loaf type of pan, so it was quite deep. Perhaps that’s why it took so long to bake.

P.S. I just tried a slice and the flavor is fabulous! But, it’s still not quite done. Oh, and for those of you that want to substitute sugar, I used 1/2 cup xylitol and about 1/3 cup sugar (don’t like it too sweet)


79 Susan Voisin February 28, 2014 at 9:08 am

You found the answer! You definitely need to use a regular cake pan with this cake. A loaf pan is much too deep and it may never get done.


80 MaryP February 27, 2013 at 9:52 am

Did you edit the recipe based on your comments about needing more sugar and a different pan? Don’t know if I should follow the recipe as written or make the adjustments!


81 Susan Voisin February 27, 2013 at 9:57 am

No, this is the recipe as I made it. Some people may find it needs more sugar, as I did back then, when I was used to things sweeter. Today I would probably enjoy it as-is since I rarely eat sugar at all anymore.


82 Angel Wilcox February 27, 2013 at 11:13 am

That’s was Pretty neat and Funny at the same time.


83 mami lee April 23, 2013 at 8:17 pm

Is this cake gluten free and also the german chocolate frosting, is that gluten free?


84 Susan Voisin April 23, 2013 at 8:54 pm

The German chocolate frosting is gluten-free, but this cake isn’t.


85 Caroline December 1, 2013 at 2:55 am

What a lovely cake!
Nope, you would never know there’s a big beet in there!
I had a baked beet on hand, and all ingredients as well, so I tried this one.
I used 3/4 c. Gluten-free Oat flour (I powdered it in a clean coffee mill)
and 3/4 c. All-purpose Gluten-free flour, and I baked it on a cookie sheet.
The texture is light and it is yummy without any frosting at all! …although I look forward to trying the Banana-PB sauce soon ! Thanks, I am enjoying your recipes!


86 justin January 29, 2014 at 1:59 pm

I really like this recipe, thanks for offereing it up. I was wondering though, my cake (cakes) did not rise, at all. Were they supposed to? I can’t figure a thing I missed on the ingredients.

thanks again


87 Susan Voisin January 29, 2014 at 2:20 pm

They should have risen. Sorry about that! It could be the altitude or different brands of ingredients. I just don’t know why that would happen.


88 justin January 29, 2014 at 2:45 pm

No worries Susan. I am suspecting water or lack of may be the cause. The mix was very thick after stirred and I thought of adding some water to smooth it down, but decided against it. I’m new to this way of baking and thought that the consistency was to be expected without oil. Currently the cakes are probably perfect for brownies


89 sian November 18, 2014 at 2:06 pm

what is the purpose of the apple sauce….can it be left out?



90 caroline November 28, 2015 at 7:54 am


I can’t wait to try this recipe, i’m just a little confuse about the qty of beets pure and apple sauce. Can you please give me an approximate measurement.
thank you!!


91 Susan Voisin November 28, 2015 at 9:13 am

You will need 2 cups of beets and apple sauce combined, so to play it safe, I would have at least 1 1/2 cups of apple sauce on hand. Since the size of beets varies, it’s hard time say exactly how much apple sauce you will need to make up the difference.


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