NZ Woman's Weekly

Chocolate beetroot cake recipe

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If your travels should take you between Gisborne and Napier this summer, be sure to stop for a taste sensation in Wairoa. At the EastEnd Café and Bar they have some seriously good home baking and the welcome is genuine and friendly.

It’s hard to miss this cafe on Marine Parade – the bright colours lure you in, and the locals sitting at tables inside and out is encouraging. Art lines the walls; local honey, eggs and preserves made on site are for sale. I enjoyed a good coffee with the dynamo team of Angie Whitworth (48) and her daughter Jenna Kerley (22). Angie has been a local for 24 years, and it was her longtime dream to open a gorgeous café that served good, healthy food.

Everyone knows these two enthusiastic cooks are great supporters of their community – it’s not unusual to see locals bringing in produce from their gardens for the pair to use – and in Angie’s words, “We will give anything a go. Thrifty can be fun, so get creative. Never be restricted by a recipe – substitute and be open-minded. Our kumara brownies, for example, are great!”

Angie’s mother, Maxine, of Waipawa (south of Hastings), sets a grand example for them. “She always has a house smelling of baking. She works hard and is always preserving, bottling, cooking and baking. This week’s delicious cake recipe is her creation, using beets from her own productive garden. It’s now a café favourite.”

This chocolate beetroot cake is stunning – one of the best chocolate cakes the test kitchen has tested and sampled. It’s moist, full-flavoured, and easy. Just don’t tell anyone who normally avoids beetroot what the secret ingredient is!

As with all cooking involving beets, it takes longer than usual to cook – after 1 hour and 20 minutes the centre is still quite wet, but with 10 minutes more in my slightly slower oven, the results were spectacular – the cake was rich, moist and perfect. Add the chocolate ganache and you are in heaven – or, perhaps Wairoa.

Chocolate beetroot cake
Ready in 1 hour 45 minutes, serves 12.

Test this cake while it’s baking with a skewer or sharp knife – it can look cooked, but the middle may still be raw.

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups f;our
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups peeled and grated raw beetroot

1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC on bake.

2. Grease and line the base of a 23cm spring-form cake tin with paper.

3. In a large bowl place the first four ingredients and mix, giving it a good stir.

4. Sift the next five ingredients into another bowl.

5. Add the flour mix, alternating with the grated beetroot.

6. Mix together lightly and place in the tin. Bake for 1 hour and 30 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
The EastEnd Café makes a peanut butter icing (1/2 cup peanut butter, 1/2 cup softened butter and 3
cups icing sugar) or a chocolate ganache icing.

We used a chocolate ganache by melting 125g dark chocolate, 1 tbsp butter and 1/3 cup cream together. Heat gently, then pour over the cake.

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