Beet cake is a twist on a classic (recipe)

Beet cake
© Melissa Breyer

Guaranteed to please even the beet-weary.

I know my wabi-sabi approach to desserts isn't for everyone – I'm not a prissy baker – but even if you don't lean toward quirky-looking cakes, you can make this one look more traditional; it's the flavor and nutrients that count.

Carrot cake is one of my favorites, but I often get on a beet kick and start stuffing them in strange dishes. So when craving a carrot cake the other day, I decided I was craving a beet cake more ... and with a simple swap of grated raw carrots for grated raw beets, this beet cake was born. (I've made beet cake before, but it was a whole different animal.) Both carrots and beets are booming with nutrients, but more people eat more carrots than beets, and mixing up the produce variety ensures a broader range of good things finding their way into your system. Also excellent for sneaking beets in for folks or kids who may have an aversion. There is no distinct beet-y flavor here, just their sweet moisture and the ever-so-slightest idea of earthiness.

Oh, and then to give the twist more spin, I made a goat-cheese frosting. (Because I can't leave well-enough alone.) But you can go more traditional there, as well. The frosting won't win any awards for economy in calories, but everything in moderation.


  • 2 cups white whole-wheat flour (or unbleached all-purpose flour if you prefer)
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 cups Sucanat (or regular sugar if you prefer)
  • 3/4 cup mild olive oil (or any vegetable oil)
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups grated beets
  • 2/3 cup crushed fresh pineapple (or one 8-ounce can, drained)
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1. Pre-heat oven to 350F degrees. Line 3 9-inch round cake pans with parchment (or wax paper) and lightly grease and flour paper.

    2. Mix together flour, baking soda, salt and spices.

    3. Beat eggs with sugar, oil, buttermilk and vanilla at medium speed until smooth, stir in dry ingredients until blended, then fold in beets, pineapple and nuts. Pour into prepared cake pans.

    4. Bake at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks for 15 minutes. Remove from pans, and cool completely before frosting.


    • 1/2 cup softened butter
    • 8 ounces soft goat cheese
    • 3 ounces softened cream cheese
    • 3 cups sifted organic powdered sugar
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1. Beat together butter, chevre and cream cheese until smooth, slowly add powdered sugar and vanila and beat until creamy.

    I like to not frost the sides because I like a peek at the layers, but frost as you like. I also made candied grated beets to make a festive flower garnish, see how here: 8 odd things you can candy.

    Beet cake is a twist on a classic (recipe)
    Guaranteed to please even the beet-weary.

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