Choc-beetroot red devil sheet cake

With a flavour you can't beet.

  • 55 mins cooking
  • Serves 20
  • Print
Beetroot adds a rich earthy flavour to this chocolate cake and makes it beautifully moist at the same time. Finished with a lovely cream cheese frosting and candied beets.
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  • 2 large beetroots (400g), peeled
  • 1 cup (250ml) buttermilk
  • ¼ cup (60ml) vegetable oil
  • 1½ tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 125 grams butter
  • 1½ cups (330g) caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
  • 2½ cups (375g) plain flour
  • ¼ cup (25g) dutch-processed cocoa
  • 1½ teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
Candied beetroot
  • 2 cups (440g) caster sugar
  • 1 tablespoon liquid glucose
  • 2 medium beetroots (350g), peeled, sliced thinly
Cream-cheese frosting
  • 150 grams butter, at room temperature
  • 500 grams cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 3 cups (480g) icing sugar mixture
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste


  • 1
    Make candied beetroot. Place sugar, glucose and 2 cups (500ml) water in a heavy-based saucepan; bring to the boil. Add sliced beetroot; cook over low heat for 40 minutes 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 minutes or until reduced and syrupy. Cool.
  • 2
    Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F. Grease a 25cm x 37cm (10in x 14¾in) rectangular slice pan; line base and long sides with baking paper.
  • 3
    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.
  • 4
    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.
  • 5
    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.
  • 6
    Bake cake for 25 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Leave cake in pan for 5 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • 7
    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.
  • 8
    Spread frosting over top of cake, creating a swirled effect. Top with candied beetroot and drizzle with a little syrup.

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