Now is the season for fresh beetroot, so here is a beetroot cake recipe, from Nigel Slater’s wonderful book, Tender vol. 1.

It’s a bit like a carrot cake, only with grated beetroot instead.  The beetroot is quite discreet, and the cake went down well with the beetroot-hater in my house.  It uses oil instead of butter, so it’s also dairy free.  A cake I make often.

BEETROOT SEED CAKE (serves 8 – 10)


  • self-raising flour, 225g
  • bicarbonate of soda, 1/2 tsp
  • baking powder, a scant tsp
  • ground cinnamon, 1/2 tsp
  • sunflower oil, 180 ml
  • light muscovado sugar, 225g
  • eggs, 3, separated
  • raw beetroot, 150g
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • sultanas or raisins, 75g
  • mixed seeds (sunflower, pumpkin, sesame or linseed) 75g

for the icing

  • icing sugar, 8 TBS
  • juice of 1/2 lemon

To make

  1. Heat the oven to 180 C/Gas 4.
  2. Lightly butter a large loaf tin (20 x 9cm measured across the bottom, and 7 cm deep), then line the base with greaseproof paper.
  3. Sift together the flour, soda, baking powder and cinnamon.
  4. Coarsely grate the beetroot.
  5. Beat the oil and sugar together, using a hand held blender, until well creamed.  Add the egg yolk one by one, and continue to beat.
  6. Fold the beetroot into the mixture, then add the lemon juice, sultanas or raisins and the mixed seeds.
  7. Fold in the flour and raising agents.
  8. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until 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 loaf tin and bake for 50 – 55 minutes, covering the top with a piece of 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 twenty minutes before turning it out of its tin onto a wire cooling rack.
  9. To make the icing, sift the icing sugar into a bowl and add enough lemon juice to achieve a consistency where the icing will run over the top of the cake and drizzle slowly down the sides.  Drizzle it over the cake, and leave to set before eating.

Note: Nigel says to scatter poppy seeds over the top, but I don’t.

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