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Red Velvet Chocolate Beet Cake

Just by the name, you can tell this is not the original red velvet cake. This red velvet chocolate beet cake is real chocolate, sweet with honey and sugar, moist with vitamin beet, and frosted with chocolate glaze.

Red Velvet Chocolate Beet Cake | Letty's Kitchen

I never did feel the love for that other red velvet cake—the one made with a 2-ounce bottle of red food coloring and 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder. All that red food coloring grosses me out. We’re talking red–bright red!

Back in my pastry chef days, I tinkered to improve the classic red velvet cake recipe. I bumped the chocolate up to something you could taste, and used beet powder for the red. Those cakes tasted okay, and the color was less garish, though some thought the color wasn’t red enough to be red velvet.

I kept thinking, why couldn’t you start with a chocolate cake and fold in fresh grated beets, like you fold grated carrots into carrot cake batter?


Red Velvet Chocolate Beet Cake | Letty's Kitchen

This red velvet chocolate beet cake is just what I imagined. It comes out tender, fragrant, subtly red, and chocolatey. I know the very thought of beets turns some people off–just don’t tell them. The grated beets disappear into the chocolate and they won’t even know they’re there.

Start with a ribbon of eggs, honey, and sugar, and a bit of light molasses to soften the sweetness. Next, stir in oil, vanilla and melted chocolate, and then whole wheat flour sifted with baking soda and baking powder. Just before the batter goes into the pans, fold in grated raw beets.

While the cakes bake, melt chocolate with coconut milk and maple syrup for the fill and frost, and if you wish, candy beet matchsticks for a finishing sprinkle.

Red Velvet Chocolate Beet Cake | Letty's Kitchen

Red Velvet Chocolate Beet Cake recipe notes:

  • The chocolate glaze keeps the sugar quotient down. If you like, frost your red velvet beet cake with cream cheese frosting, which is a popular red velvet cake frosting. Deer Valley’s carrot cake is frosted with cream cheese frosting—the recipe is in my cookbook, Chocolate Snowball. Evidently I gave a ski instructor the recipe a long time ago.
  • This recipe makes plenty of chocolate glaze. If you have some left, chill and scoop into round little truffles.

candied beets for Red Velvet Chocolate Beet Cake | Letty's Kitchen

  • Candied beet matchsticks are a pretty but optional decoration. They take about an hour of cooking time, so prepare them ahead, or while the cake bakes and cools.

Wishing you a fabulous week–get in the kitchen and bake something chocolate!

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5 from 1 vote
Red Velvet Chocolate Beet Cake | Letty's Kitchen
Red Velvet Chocolate Beet Cake
Prep Time
1 hr
Cook Time
50 mins
Total Time
1 hr 50 mins

Tender, moist, chocolatey and subtly red, this cake is a winner. Makes one (9-inch) cake, serves 12 to 16.

  • 4 (1-ounce) squares unsweetened chocolate
  • 4 eggs
  • ¾ cup organic cane sugar
  • ¾ cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons light molasses
  • 1/2 cup grapeseed oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pound red beets trimmed, peeled and grated (about 4 cups)
Chocolate Glaze:
  • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
  • ½ cup coconut milk beverage
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
Candied Beets for garnish:
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 red beet cut in 1/8-inch matchsticks
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush two 9-inch round pans with melted butter and dust lightly with flour, or spray generously with cooking spray. Line the bottoms with circles of parchment paper.
  2. Melt the chocolate in the top of a double boiler, over gently simmering water; upper pan should not touch water. Keep warm.
  3. Whip the eggs, sugar, honey, and molasses with an electric mixer for 5 to 10 minutes, until the mixture is noticeably thicker. Add the oil, whipping until it is incorporated. Add the vanilla and melted chocolate and scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl.
  4. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add to the egg mixture and mix on low speed until well-mixed, stopping to scrape the bowl. Stir in the grated beets and mix well. Pour into the prepared pans. Bake until the center of the cakes spring back when touched with a finger, 40 to 50 minutes. Cool completely.
Chocolate glaze:
  1. Melt the chocolate with the coconut milk and maple syrup in the top of a double boiler, over gently simmering water; upper pan should not touch water. Stir to make a smooth glaze. Remove from heat and let cool but do not let harden. You want it to be the consistency of spreadable frosting.
Candied Beets:
  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Bring water and sugar to a boil in a small saucepan, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Stir in beet matchsticks. Reduce heat to very low and simmer until slightly translucent and most of the liquid reduces to a syrup, 20 to 25 minutes.

  2. Arrange on a baking sheet lined with a nonstick baking mat. Bake 15 to 20 minutes. The beets will still be soft, but will harden when cool.

To assemble:
  1. With a serrated knife, trim the dome from both cakes so they are flat, not rounded.
  2. Put one of the cake layers on a cardboard circle or a flat serving plate. Spread some of the glaze about ¼-inch thick. Gently flatten the second cake layer on top.
  3. Frost the sides and top of the cake with a thin layer of glaze. Refrigerate the cake for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, place the remaining glaze in the top of a double boiler. Place over gently simmering water; the upper pan should not touch the water. Stir while heating, just until the glaze is about the consistency of heavy cream. Pour it evenly over the top of the cake; use a spatula to smooth out any glaze that runs down the side.
  4. Decorate the glazed cake with the candied beets.


  • JeanieC

    LOVED this. I made it for Valentine’s Day as a treat for my daughter, since she’s been begging me for years to make a red velvet cake and I always refuse, saying “it’s too toxic.” The beets were great fun (the kitchen carnage makes for good times) and the cake turned out beautifully. A hint of beet came through on day 1 but I’m not noticing it this a.m. (had to check – delicious with coffee). I’ll definitely make it again. Thanks for the great recipe! Reply · 15 February, 2017

    • Thank you Jeannie! Kitchen carnage–love it! I know, that’s why I usually roast beets–because you can peel them after they’re cooked–keeping the red color carnage at bay! Reply · 15 February, 2017

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