Beetroot Chocolate Loaf Cake (V)

This Christmas period I have so far cooked four enormous meals in four different houses as four Christmas presents for friends and family – in mutual opinion and after the shitty bank fraud episode that still isn’t quite sorted, it’s the best Christmas present I can offer – swooping in to someone else’s kitchen and taking the stress out of catering for large groups of people, repurposing the leftovers into a pile of ready meals for the freezer, before packing my suitcase and moving on to the next one. It’s been a marvellous way to spend the week – I have so far slept in six different beds in as many days and made a lot of new friends, drunk a lot of wine, lost two knives along the way and had glorious fun. I have made a host of new recipes along the way – nothing gets my creative juices flowing like other people’s sparse storecupboards or a host of dietary requirements – and this was one of the winners. Faced with a stinking hangover from the night before’s foray into home made cranberry and orange vodka, a young guest with severe egg allergies, and a limited supply of ingredients, I chanced upon a beetroot, threw it unpeeled in the blender, added it to a vegan chocolate cake recipe I had up my sleeve, and this was born. And oh, so sumptuous, so delicious, so gloriously purple, and the grateful grin from a little girl who can rarely eat cake at other people’s houses made thinking through my hangover well worth it.

Served 10:

2-3 raw beetroots (the hard vegetable kind not the pickled-in-vinegar kind)
2 ripe bananas
120ml cooking oil
200g coconut cream
275g plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
50g cocoa powder or 100g dark choc
100g-200g sugar depending on taste (even at the 200g end, this is barely 2 tsp sugar each per slice)

First preheat your oven to 180C and slice your beetroot, and toss into a blender with the bananas, oil, bicarb and coconut cream. Pulse to a vibrant pink paste, and scrape into a mixing bowl.

Add the flour, cocoa powder and sugar and mix well, adding a splash of water to loosen the mixture if required. Mix a bit more, and a bit more, to a glossy maroon batter. I fell in love with it at this point – the colour, the sweetness of the coconut milk and banana, the earthiness of the cocoa and raw beetroot; having never made a beetroot cake before now, I was pretty much blown away when I licked the spoon.

Lightly grease a loaf tin and scrape the batter mixture in. Pop into the oven on the middle shelf for 45 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the centre comes out clean. And enjoy!

Jack Monroe. I’m on Twitter, Tumblr & Instagram @MxJackMonroe


  1. This is a great idea. I think they used beetroot in cakes during the war. I’ve always wanted to try one. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I bet you made her day. I hope her Mum has taken note of the recipe …. she’ll be wanting another one for her birthday ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Jack, any chance you could do a question & answer session some time? I understand it is impossible for you to answer all our questions. But, how about giving your followers a chance to communicate with you occasionally. Just a suggestion.

  4. I’ve made plenty of cakes with veg in, but never a beetroot one. Might try this one. Is there any reason you specify uncooked beets? They are harder to get than the packaged cooked ones.
    DD2 gave me a hamper with anything she could find that she didn’t know what to do with. Dried purple yam powder was one such. The only things I could find online were all cakes, still looking for a non-cake thing to do with it as I don’t really want to make cakes. I only eat them!

  5. You might think this sounds gross but you can puree in some cauliflower in there too – makes for a really light moist cake

  6. Not that I want to wish hardship on you, but when you’re in it you are creative, dynamic and tell me great stuff about how to deal with life.

    I hope the fact that I and all the others) are out here listening is a help.


    P.S. May your knives find their way back. Losing tools is miserable.

    P.P.S. Of course, may the bank stuff be sorted in your favour too.

  7. brilliant as I have beetroots and bananas to use up, but any suggestions to substitute for the coconut (as I have an allergy to it), doesn’t need to be vegan, I’m wondering if plain yoghurt would do?

      • Sorry! I made 2 loaves, all gone now! Tasty, didn’t come across as worthy and vegan (if you know what I mean) and not as bananarey as my usual cake I made when I have them left over. Easy to make. Next time I would grate the beetroot before adding to the food processor as there were bits in my mix. I used a bit less cocoa powder than suggested as that was all I had, but it was green and blacks which is really strong so that was fine. The finished cakes came out a little dense in the middle, I wonder if I could have cooked it a bit longer, but I have a new oven I’m still getting used to so it could be that too. Anyway, I would definitely make again.

  8. So picking up some beetroot, lidl has some cheap, and making this. I think I have everything else. Can’t wait for the new book if everything’s as yummy as this sounds.

  9. I’ve used beet in cake and agree 100%! It’s like the first time I used olive oil in brownies…a level of richness that no one can identify and everyone loves ๐Ÿ™‚
    And I can’t think of a nicer more unique and wonderful gift than a meal created by a friend. So a huge meal catered by YOU and providing leftovers for subsequent meals as well? That would be a dream come true!

  10. I’m batch cooking today and usually make a banana bread ( I always have frozen brown bananas on hand) but thought I’d give this a go as I had some sad looking beet roots lurking in the fridge. I’ve been making soup and 1 of the recipes called for half a tin of coconut milk so I scraped the thick bit of the top and used it in this with a bit of yoghurt. In the oven now so fingers crossed. I found your blog a few months ago and have made so many of your recipes since. I bought my sister your book ( first one) for Christmas and she’s already tried a few recipes. Please keep doing what you’re doing, you are my food hero!

  11. I tried the recipe last week, something went wrong, and after 90 minutes in oven, it still wasn’t baked. I used baking powder instead of bicarb.of soda and coconut milk instead of coconut cream. I’ll try it again sometime later. But the batter (before cooking) was lovely. I just love that beetrooty / blackberry colour.

  12. …..nice to see people discussing the important things in life…….like good healthy food ……..!

  13. Just made it, delicious and moist. Couldn’t find cocunut cream so I used the creamy bit from a tin of coconut milk and added some of the milk after to make up the amount, just took a bit longer to cook. The raw batter had quite an obvious banana taste and coconut but after cooking there was less of those and more of the beetroot came through which I like but if you don’t want as much beetroot coming through I’d recommend adding a bit more cocoa as the Choc flavour isn’t at all overpowering in the original recipe. Yummy and healthy too. I used 150g sugar and it was sweet enough but not too sweet.

  14. This sounds delicious, I love beetroot! Can you suggest an alternative to coconut cream as I am intolerant. You suggested yogurt in an earlier post but I am intolerant of cow’s milk too and also have to avoid soya products due to thyroid issues. Really difficult to find healthy treats for my restricted diet but this sounds great if it can be adapted slightly.

  15. I have lots of beetroots to use and I’m always unsure what to do with them, other than roast them or pickle them, so this recipe is brilliant. Will have to give it a try. Thanks

  16. Umm. I ran the calculation on the sugar and at 200g total it’s actually 5 teaspoons per slice for ten slices. Sorry! But it was still utterly gorgeous ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. Thanks for this recipe, it came out quite moist and very nice tasting! I used about 75g cocoa, and added the zest and juice of half an orange, and just a little cinnamon. Will definitely make again – perhaps adding berries next time. ๐Ÿ™‚

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