Recipe: Chocolate, beetroot and hazelnut torte

PUBLISHED: 10:13 11 November 2017

EAT COOP Beetella Cake.  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

EAT COOP Beetella Cake. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN


Beetroot is a surprising ingredient in this gooey chocolate cake.

There are some recipes all cooks worth their salt should have up their sleeves. Bread. Scones. Cheese sauce. Tomato sauce. A decent roast. And there has to be cake!

If I was forced to pull any cake recipe from my repertoire it 100% would be my chocolate, beetroot and hazelnut torte because, boy oh boy it’s good. And I mean knee-wobblingly, mouth-watering luscious.

Whenever I make it it reminds me of one of my favourite poems growing up, Chocolate Cake by Michael Rosen – mostly because I find myself constantly picking at it in the kitchen, lifting the crumbs from the plate with my fingers.

Please, please, please don’t let the inclusion of beetroot put you off. As well as enhancing the richness of the colour of the sponge, cooked beets bring a tenderness to the crumb, meaning less butter or oil is needed, which has got to be a good thing. You can’t taste the beetroot either.

This cake is dense and fudgy to the extreme, with the beetroot, dark chocolate, coffee, hazelnuts and vanilla embracing one another in the most delicious way, each ingredient enhancing the others.

It can also be entirely gluten-free if you swap the small amount of self-raising flour for a good gluten-free alternative (I recommend Doves Farm).

On top I’ve drenched the cake with new Norfolk-made spread Beetella, crafted with beetroot powder, cacao and other goodies – a fantastic local alternative to that household chocolate spread we all know.

If you plan on serving the cake for pudding don’t ice it as per the recipe, but you still might want to drizzle Beetella over the top. It’s wonderful served with roasted plums or blackberries. And any leftovers (what leftovers?) can be chopped up into a beautiful ice cream sundae.

When I’m asked to make a special chocolate cake this is it and I hope it will bring as much cakey joy to your kitchen as it does to mine.

Chocolate, hazelnut and beetroot torte


250g 70% dark chocolate

100g golden caster sugar

100g muscovado sugar

4tbsps runny honey

1tsp vanilla extract

3 heaped tbsps cocoa powder

100ml strong coffee

3tbsps rapeseed oil

50g self-raising flour

1/2tsp bicarbonate of soda

3 medium eggs, beaten

80g hazelnuts

250g cooked beetroot, grated finely

1 jar Beetella (or 150g melted dark chocolate) to decorate


Grease and line a 20cm deep loose-bottomed tin (I use a Prestige one which has a bobbled bottom that helps cakes cook more evenly).

Place the hazelnuts on a baking tray and roast at 210C for 10 minutes. Cool slightly then grind in a food processor or spice mill to breadcrumb consistency.

Melt the chocolate and sugars with the vanilla extract, honey, oil and coffee.

Allow to cool a little, then beat in the beetroot, eggs, flour, bicarbonate and hazelnuts. Make sure everything’s combined, then spoon into your prepared tin.

Bake at 160C for 1.15hrs to 1.30hrs. Check it after 1.15hrs as all ovens are different. It will be risen, a little cracked on top but no raw mix should come out when you insert a skewer.

Serve warm, or allow to cool completely and spread with Beetella.

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