This cake is one of my favourites to bake (and eat actually!) The recipe is by Nigel Slater

This tastes no more of beetroot than a carrot cake tastes of carrots, yet it has a similar warm, earthiness to it. It is less sugary than most cakes and the scented icing I drizzle over it is purely optional. The first time I made it, I used half sunflower and half Fairtrade brazil nut oil. Very successful it was too, not to mention boosting everyone’s zinc levels.

Serves 8-10

self raising flour - 225g

bicarbonate of soda - half a teaspoon

baking powder - 1 scant teaspoon

ground cinnamon - half teaspoon

eggs - 3

light muscovado sugar - 225g

sunflower or brazil nut oil - 180ml

raw beetroot - 150g

juice of half a lemon

sultanas or raisins - 75g

mixed seeds (sunflower, pumpkin, linseed) - 75g


for the icing:

icing sugar - 8 tablespoons

lemon juice or orange blossom water

poppy seeds

Set the oven at 180˚/Gas 4. Lightly butter a rectangular loaf tin (20cm x9cm x 7cm deep, measured across the bottom) then line the bottom with baking parchment.

Sift together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and cinnamon. Beat the oil and sugar in a food mixer until well creamed then introduce the beaten egg yolks one by one, reserving the whites for later.

Grate the beetroot coarsely and fold into the mixture then add the lemon juice, raisins or sultanas and the assorted seeds.Fold the flour and raising agents into the mixture whilst the machine is turning slow. Beat the egg whites till light and almost stiff.   Fold gently but thoroughly into the mixture using a large metal spoon (a wooden one will knock the air out).

Pour the mixture into the cake tin and bake for 50-55 minutes, covering the to with a piece of tin foil after 30 minutes. Test with a skewer for doneness. The cake should be moist inside but not sticky. Leave the cake to settle for a good 20 minutes before turning out of its tin on to a wire cooling rack.

Make the icing. Sieve the icing sugar and stir in enough lemon juice or orange blossom water to achieve a consistency where the icing will run over the top of the cake and dribble slowly down the sides (about 3 teaspoonfuls), stirring to remove any lumps. Drizzle over the cake and scatter with poppy seeds. Leave to set before eating.

I made this one for my friends Mexican birthday party so I used cream cheese icing tinted with voilet and sprinkled edible gold stars all over. The ceramic skull decoration came from Cherry Blossom in Narrabeen.


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