Wholesome Cook

Spiced Beetroot and Chocolate Cake

This Spiced Beetroot and Chocolate Cake is light moist and amazingly chocolatey… Not something you’d expect from a vegan and gluten-free concoction. Since it is nut-free as well, it makes for a perfect cake to take to large gatherings or school fetes! (No gluten, dairy, wheat, soy, sugar or eggs).

Vegan Beetroot Chocolate Cake Gluten-free

I’ve been playing with the idea of a Beetroot and Chocolate Cake for some time. Last week I got testing. The first couple of cakes came out too dense for my liking, but finally, late last week the hard work paid off. The cake turned out to be one of the softest, lightest and most amazing healthy cakes I’ve had in a while.

Vegan Beetroot Chocolate Cake Gluten-free

It so happened that JJ from 84th and 3rd was popping over for a cuppa and mentioned to me, over the cake, that she was hosting this month’s Sweet Adventures Blog Hop. Her theme? Cake and three veg! The timing couldn’t have been more perfect.

While that version contained about 10 percent sugar – considered a low sugar content amongst nutritionists, I wanted to take the cake a step further and make it processed sugar-free. I used a little rice malt syrup to sweeten the batter and it worked a treat in the end, but if you prefer a slightly more sweeter taste – this isn’t, add 2 tablespoons ground (green) stevia as well.

Vegan Beetroot Chocolate Cake Gluten-free

I took it to a morning tea on the weekend, where I know there are many people allergic to gluten and dairy, and I’ve been getting recipe requests ever since since. So, here it is. My vegan, gluten-free and sugar-free Spiced Beetroot and Chocolate Cake.

Vegan Beetroot Chocolate Cake Gluten-free

Vegan Beetroot Chocolate Cake Gluten-free
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4.41 from 5 votes

Spiced Beetroot and Chocolate Cake

Feel free to use a 20cm round cake tin, or a smaller 16cm round tin for this recipe if you like a taller cake. Increase cooking time by 5 minutes for the smaller tin. While I used a little rice malt syrup to sweeten the batter, if you prefer a slightly more sweeter flavour, add 2 tablespoons ground (green) stevia to the dry ingredinets.
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time35 minutes
Total Time50 minutes
Servings: 8 -10


Dry ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups self-raising gluten-free flour
  • 1 tsp gluten-free baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp bicarb soda
  • 3 tbsp raw cacao powder
  • 2 tsp five spice powder
  • 1/2 cup raw grated beetroot
  • 2 tbsp ground stevia

Wet ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup light tasting olive oil or melted coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup rice malt syrup
  • 2/3 cup water water
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract


To make the Spiced Beetroot and Chocolate Cake:

  • In a large bowl combine all dry ingredients plus grated beetroot and mix well.
  • in another bowl, whisk together all wet ingredinets until the mixture is smooth. (If using coconut oil and it's solid, place your wet ingredients in a small sauce pan and stir over low heat for the oil to melt - do not boil!).
  • Pour wet ingredients into the dry ones and fold gently with a wooden spoon until only just combined.
  • Transfer batter into the paper-lined form.
  • Bake in a preheated oven for around 35 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.
  • Cool on a wire rack before slicing up and serving.
Tried this recipe?Mention @wholesomecook or tag #wholesomecook



Natalie November 19, 2012 at 10:48 am

This looks so moist and delicious. Can not wait to try!

Anne S November 19, 2012 at 10:58 am

Hey Marty, this cake looks and sounds fantastic! Great theme for the blog hop too. Can’t wait to see all of the creations!

Nat November 19, 2012 at 11:00 am

I’ve had a pleasure of tasting this cake and have to say it is pretty good! If you are not used to low sugar treats, definitely add the optional 3 tbsp of rapadura. Otherwise this is also great with soy ice cream to add a little extra sweetness to the mix. YYUUUUUUM!

Tessa November 19, 2012 at 11:08 am

You make healthy eating look absolutely delicious! Lovely photos!

Barbara Bamber | justasmidgen November 19, 2012 at 12:14 pm

This just sounds so wonderfully healthy.. to go along with the fact that it looks so pretty on your cake stand!

Anna Brones November 19, 2012 at 1:50 pm

This sounds amazing! I love putting root vegetables to use in sweet dishes.

Becca November 19, 2012 at 3:21 pm

What a beautiful idea. I only just found your blog but this cake sounds exactly like something I will want to feed to my kids. They are allergic to gluten nuts dairy and soy which is such a hard combination to find when looking for cakes and desserts. Off to browse more from you. Thank you. xo

Kerry Anne November 19, 2012 at 4:18 pm

Oooh I never would have thought of adding five spice to a cake but it makes PERFECT sense! You are a genious. Love the texture of this and will be adding sugar – I don’t have cake very often.

JJ @ 84thand3rd November 19, 2012 at 5:21 pm

While that first cake was lovely this one looks even better! I love how you can see the beetroot and the addition of 5-spice sounds perfect. It was great to catch up and thanks for joining the hop :)

Maureen November 19, 2012 at 5:31 pm

I love carrot cake and this is pretty much the same except beetroot is sweeter. I want to make this over the holidays.

Martyna @ Wholesome Cook November 19, 2012 at 7:03 pm

Hi Maureen, the cake is actually not very sweet. I suggest using extra rapadura (or brown) sugar if you have a sweet tooth. :-) Happy holidays!

Claire @ Claire K Creations November 19, 2012 at 6:30 pm

Wow I would never have thought it was free of all those things if it was presented to me on a plate. It looks just as naughty and rich as the ‘real’ thing!

rsmacaalay November 19, 2012 at 6:31 pm

Love the addition of beetroot that would make that cake really moist.

john@heneedsfood November 19, 2012 at 6:33 pm

Oh Martyna, this looks like a real winner! Would it be wrong to have this with some sweetened sour cream?

Martyna @ Wholesome Cook November 19, 2012 at 7:10 pm

Oh, not at all – I actually like the extra dimension of sour that would add to the mix. Nice idea.

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella November 19, 2012 at 6:40 pm

I love vegetables in cakes! They add so much moistness. This looks fantastic! :)

Rachel Macdonald November 20, 2012 at 12:39 am

May be a stupid question, but is the grated beetroot raw or baked?

Martyna @ Wholesome Cook November 20, 2012 at 8:53 am

Hi Rachel, not stupid at all. It is raw (peeled) beetroot. :-) I’ll update the recipe now.

Sara November 20, 2012 at 4:27 am

Totally gorgeous cake! We got a TON of beets in our CSA this week…I definitely need to make this!

Anna @ The Littlest Anchovy November 20, 2012 at 10:57 am

I have always wanted to make a beetroot cake. This looks lovely and I really like the spices you used here. Hope you are well!

Rosa Mayland November 20, 2012 at 8:14 pm

What a beautiful cake! Really original and so tempting. Lovely texture.



Faseela November 20, 2012 at 9:24 pm

yummy cake

The Life of Clare November 21, 2012 at 7:27 am

This looks delicious! I love the idea of using vegetables in baking! I wonder if you could use tinned beetroot?

Martyna @ Wholesome Cook November 21, 2012 at 2:10 pm

Hi, I am not sure about tinned beets as they generally have citric acid or lemon juice added – this might play up with the other ingredients, but could be worth a try. My tip either way? Wear single-use gloves when grating!

Sissi November 21, 2012 at 8:26 am

What a beautiful cake, Martyna. I did try to bake one beetroot chocolate cake once (from a cookery book which I don’t trust now after several other failures) but it had such a strong earthy taste I didn’t like it. I suppose that adding spices would solve this problem.

Sneh Roy (@cookrepublic) November 21, 2012 at 9:19 am

Gorgeous cake! This is one of my favourite beetroot things to have!

Tina @ bitemeshowme November 21, 2012 at 4:17 pm

I’ve known a lot of people who have tried this combination. I have to admit I’ve yet to try or taste but am totally interested to have a go ;) IT looks superb!

Christina @ The Hungry Australian November 21, 2012 at 11:07 pm

Yum, this looks delicious, Martyna!

Monica (@gastromony) November 23, 2012 at 6:34 pm

Lovely! I will pass this recipe on to my vegan colleague for sure :)

Sylvie Shirazi (@gourmandeinthek) November 24, 2012 at 6:21 am

I like the idea of adding in a little five spice powder to a cake, what a nice twist!

Chris November 25, 2012 at 3:57 am

That’s a wonderful cake. Just some month ago someone talked about making a chocolate cake with beetroot from an old English recipe, but no one thought that would be good cake. Now I see someone doing it and it seems to me that this is a very delicious cake!

K-bobo @ Gormandize with A-dizzle & K-bobo November 28, 2012 at 9:27 am

This cake looks gorgeous! Although technically not sugar free :)

Jessica November 28, 2012 at 9:29 am

This is not sugar free. Rice Malt Syrup is sugar, just in a different form. It looks delicious, but you shouldn’t advertise it as sugar free.

Martyna @ Wholesome Cook November 28, 2012 at 10:25 am

Hi Jessica, I do mention in the post that it is processed sugar-free. Rice malt syrup is a little different as it doesn’t cause blood sugar levels to spike like regular sugar does. I will make sure to make that clearer next time, thank you :-)

K-bobo @ Gormandize with A-dizzle & K-bobo November 28, 2012 at 9:40 am

This looks like a delicious cake. Bookmarked it to try!

muppy November 28, 2012 at 2:41 pm

this sounds delicious, great to have ‘allergy friendly’ recipes to use

Nami | Just One Cookbook November 29, 2012 at 6:03 pm

I really love beetroot, and I have been wanting to eat a cake with beetroot in it (I’ve seen some before) but unless I make it on my own, it looks like stores won’t sell this kind of unique cake. I wish you live next door so I could ask for a piece!!!! ;) Looks amazing. One day I will try!!!

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T May 11, 2013 at 8:50 am

What kind of self-raising gluten free flour do you use? Any suggestions?

islandjoy November 6, 2013 at 1:35 pm

Hi , what exactly is 5 spice powder? I saw online where it contains 1 tsp. ground Szechwan pepper. I don’t know what szechwan pepper is but is this the correct 5 spice powder? thanks

Martyna @ Wholesome Cook November 6, 2013 at 2:03 pm

Hi Islandjoy, Chinese Five spice might actually be available pre-mixed from your supermarket’s spice aisle. My pre-mix suggests the following ratio: 33% cinnamon powder, 20% star anise powder, 20% ground clove, 14%ground fennel seeds, 4% pepper. If you can’t get sechuan pepper just use ground white pepper powder. Hope that helps :-)

islandjoy November 7, 2013 at 2:49 am

thanks, it does help! I just wanted to ensure we were talking about the same thing. How does pepper taste in a cake, though????

Martyna @ Wholesome Cook November 7, 2013 at 7:01 am

If you think about it, 4% of 2 teaspoons is nothing more than a pinch… Can you distinctively taste a pinch of salt in any cake? It’s the same idea that together the spices create a blended flavour. :-)

islandjoy November 7, 2013 at 11:04 am

LOL. I’ll give it a whirl and see. If I can’t find that ‘s’ word pepper, do you reckon I could use a hot pepper like scotch bonnet? :-(

Martyna @ Wholesome Cook November 7, 2013 at 11:05 am

I think just white ground pepper powder would be a good substitute :-)

islandjoy November 7, 2013 at 11:06 am

:-) ok. it’s hard to get those ‘exotic’ things here that no one uses!

islandjoy December 28, 2013 at 8:36 am

Hi Martyna, Hope you had a great Christmas. Can I ask, is it okay to use honey instead of rice malt syrup?

sarah March 21, 2014 at 1:26 pm

Hi is it possible to use maple syrup instead of the rice syrup

Martyna @ Wholesome Cook March 21, 2014 at 1:44 pm

Yes, that’s fine also :-)

kushla August 20, 2014 at 11:12 am

Hi there,

This cake looks great! What are your thoughts on freezing? I try to bake as much as possible before my childrens’ birthdays to reduce the load the day before. Do you think it would freeze ok?

Thanks :)

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John Trotter June 22, 2015 at 10:37 pm

Just found your website. The cake looks and sounds interesting, but will have to make adaptions to it as the cake is neither sugar or gluten free. It contains Malt syrup which we all know is sugar and malt which is made from barley which contains gluten. John.

Martyna @ Wholesome Cook June 22, 2015 at 10:46 pm

Hi John, thank you. I know that the name rice malt syrup can be confusing, but I can assure you it has nothing to do with barley and barley malt. It is made from 100% brown rice. It does not contain barley at all and is gluten-free. It’s the malt in the name that confuses a lot of people. Simply put it’s rice syrup. It’s sugar-free in a classic, refined sugar sense and fructose-free too.

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DoctorCook October 17, 2015 at 2:21 pm

How many calories? Thanks :)

susan johnon December 9, 2016 at 5:06 pm

Looks great. I am going to try using apple juice concentrate a sweetener. Will rate after I have tried making it.

Jan January 6, 2017 at 8:29 pm

I’d love to find a vegan Beet cake that doesn’t use OIL or refined sugar!!!!
Do you think oil is really necesssry? I seem to find no oil Beet cakes but with sugar or the reverse ? Like this one!

Sue Skidmore April 25, 2017 at 8:31 pm

Have just made this. When combined the mixture seemed very dry! The recipe says pour batter into tin, which suggests it should be wet! What water should be used? The ingredients listed ‘water water’!! Here’s hoping it cooks out good.


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