A recipe for (unprocessed) Dark Chocolate Beet Bundt Cake

Now that we’re well into our challenge of no processed foods for the month of October, the cravings have kicked in something fierce. It may surprise you to know that sugar does not top my list of sought-after ingredients, instead it is cheese that is sorely missed from my diet. I’ve penciled in a wine & cheese for early in November; here’s hoping I can hold out until then.

So what is keeping the sugar cravings at bay? Well, a maple pumpkin pie has helped (recipe coming soon), honey in my coffee, homemade syrups on my morning pancakes, and this, this marvelous dark chocolate beet cake.

Dark Chocolate Beet Cake | Simple Bites

A few years ago I played around with chocolate beet cupcakes, but always wanted them to be darker, richer, and more decadent. This cake meets all the above requirements and more. Each forkful is deeply satisfying, in the way that only a chocolate cake can be.

It is prepared with half whole wheat flour (although you’d never guess) which makes it more substantial, and it’s easier to walk away contented with just one piece. Maple syrup, honey and the natural sugars of the beets sweeten the cake as well as contribute to a deeper depth of flavor.

You’ve made carrot cake and zucchini bread, now it’s time to give beets and chocolate a chance. They were definitely intended to be together – and I’m not the only one to think so.

You may pine for the weekend G&T’s, potato chips, or ketchup during the October unprocessed challenge, but there’s absolutely no need to pine for chocolate cake. Not when recipes like this are available.

Dark Chocolate Beet Bundt Cake

Cook the beets ahead of time and this cake will come together fairly quickly. You can boil, steam, or roast your beets whole, then peel and grate them. Recipe adapted from the Green Market Baking Book.
4.91 from 10 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Desserts
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 10
Calories: 425kcal
Author: Aimee


  • 3 medium beets cooked and cooled
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter melted
  • 1/2 cup light olive oil
  • 3/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup organic unbleached white flour
  • 1 cup organic whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt


  • Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter a 10-cup bundt pan and dust it lightly with cocoa.
  • Grate the beets on a box grater and measure them; you should have 2 cups of grated beets. Transfer them to a medium colander and allow them to drain of any excess moisture while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the melted butter, olive oil, maple syrup and honey until everything is well blended.
  • Add eggs, one at a time, and beat until smooth. Add the vanilla extract.
  • Sift together the flours, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Gently fold the flour mixture into the wet ingredients, but do not over mix.
  • Fold the beets into the batter until distributed, then scrape the batter into the prepared bundt pan and spread around until it is even.
  • Bake for about 35-45 minutes, until a wooden skewer comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool, in the pan on a wire rack, for a good 20 minutes.
  • Carefully invert the pan onto a plate, tap gently, and the cake will drop out. Serve warm or cool. Will keep for up to four days, well wrapped in plastic.


Calories: 425kcal | Carbohydrates: 54g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 73mg | Sodium: 379mg | Potassium: 316mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 30g | Vitamin A: 365IU | Vitamin C: 1.3mg | Calcium: 56mg | Iron: 2.5mg


What are you craving during October Unprocessed?

About Aimee

Cooking has always been Aimée's preferred recreational activity, creative outlet, and source of relaxation. After nearly ten years in the professional cooking industry, she went from restaurant to RSS by trading her tongs and clogs for cookie cutters and a laptop, serving as editor here at Simple Bites. Her first book, Brown Eggs and Jam Jars - Family Recipes from the Kitchen of Simple Bites, was published in February 2015.

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  1. I have wanted to try chocolate cake with beets, but haven’t yet. This recipe looks great though!

  2. I’ve been waiting for this one! I made a beet chocolate cake last week and it was fantastic, but definitely not unprocessed. I can’t wait to try this.

  3. thyme (sarah) says

    Its my son’s birthday…he picked out a cake from my cake cookbook. We’ve been doing so well moving towards a “whole foods” diet but I thought I would just go for the processed cake since its his birthday. But…then I see this recipe!! I’ll substitute this for the cake portion. I can’t wait to see how it turns out! T. you.

    • Good decision! My boys are 4 and 7 and devoured this cake. I told them halfway through that there was beets in it, but that didn’t change their feelings! Happy birthday to your son, Sarah. I’m sure he’ll love the cake.

  4. I generally make things as unprocessed as possible – but your inclusion of ingredients such as cheese and sour cream on the processed list are confusing to me. Could you point me to a website or source that would detail why these are processed?

    Also, why is white flour ok? Because in my mind that’s processed. I’m not trying to be contrary by any means! I really just want to know.

    • I was wondering the same questions! Thanks, Aimee!

    • Regarding the flours, here’s Andrew’s FAQ on the subject: http://www.eatingrules.com/2012/09/unprocessed-faq-flour-grains/
      He says unbleached, unenriched flour will pass the kitchen test, so I’m going with that! I’m trying to avoid white flour as much as possible, but am using a bit of the ‘cleaner’ varieties.

      As far as dairy products, if there are ingredients I don’t recognize on the label, then I skip them. Often sour cream has thickening agents and cheese has coloring – just to name a few ‘processed’ ingredients.

      Everyone is interpreting October unprocessed a different way, and that is okay. I’m choosing to skip most dairy, but use a little white flour. Whatever works for you!

      • Aimee,
        Daisy brand and Aldi both only list “cream, enzymes” on their sour cream. 😉 In case you wanted to add something in. And yes, on the cheese, it’s awesome to get a 5-lb block of white cheddar. These guys are local (in-state) to me but also ship: farmcountrycheese.com/ I wouldn’t do well w/o cheese…and chocolate! 😉 Katie

        • Thanks, Katie. As I’m in Canada, I’ve never heard of those brands. 🙂 We’re getting along really well without, so I think we’ll be fine. Thanks, tho!

      • Thanks for your answer. 🙂 I went to the fridge and looked at my sour cream. I buy sour cream on such rare occasions, that it really is unusual that it’s in my fridge. BUT I read the ingredient list. Um, yeah. LOL

        The cheese – I’ll have to look into that one more.

    • I can’t possibly include flour as unprocessed. So much of the wheatberry has been stripped out, GMO’d and chemical laden, I don’t use it. I’m going to try this with almond flour which is made from pulverized whole amonds and some potato flour. The rest of the recipe looks wonderful!

  5. This looks delicious! When I get beets in the farm share I generally pop the greens into a smoothie and roast the beets for later use. I have bookmarked this recipe for one such later use.

  6. 5 stars
    I am absolutely kooky of any dessert that feature beets in them. They always taste so good! Keep up the amazing work. I’ve been close to unprocessed (90%).

  7. I’ve just very recently come around to beets on the savory side. When I roast them, they don’t taste like dirt to me! Woo hoo! And with a little goat cheese … yum. So I guess it’s high time I start wrapping my brain around beets in sweets. This amazing-looking cake is a great start!

  8. I have always been so fearful to even eat beets and now I see how well you have incorporated into cake- it makes my want to make the cake right now.

  9. This looks totally amazing!!!

  10. Totally stoked to see this recipe! I’ve never baked with beets before (wow, that was alliterative…) but I’m really excited to try it, especially in an unprocessed recipe. I wonder if you could use spelt flour or another “alternative” flour and have it turn out OK. I bought a bag recently and have been pondering uses for it.

  11. Yummm!! what a great recipe for October’s unprocessed month — I can’t get over how rich and delicious this cake looks – – and the fact that chocolate cake can be a little healthier – – well that’s just magical in my books 🙂

  12. Aimee,
    Any idea what measurement of beets this would be? I have some frozen in ice cubes but no idea how many beets it originally was… Thanks!
    🙂 Katie

    • Sure, Katie, about 2 cups. It says so in Step 2 of the recipe, but I should put it in the ingredient list also.
      I’m guessing you are in on the challenge? How is it going for you?!

      • Oof, sorry – I even read the comments to see if anyone had asked, but I didn’t read all the instructions. (Typical.) 😉

        I’m sort of in…but so busy, I just keep falling back on the few “processed” things we always had around, although they still have fairly decent ingredients. I hoped I might learn to make tortilla chips finally, but I can’t pass up the last few weeks of fresh salsa season – it’s so short, and I just didn’t make my own yet! *shrug* You’re all in, so awesome. I think I’d do better in Feb/March when there aren’t fun seasonal things to make…
        🙂 Katie

  13. I have to avoid several foods right now, what are your recommendations? No eggs, dairy, (gluten intolerant) to begin with, almonds, corn or refined sugars.
    BTW~ The cake looks amazingly yummy!! 🙂
    Thanks for any ideas you may have!

  14. Aimee, do you think this recipe would work with any beets? i have golden ones on hand, but thought i’d ask before going for it. thanks!

  15. Yum! This cake does look fabulous, Aimee! I just got a bunch of beets in our CSA box this morning, so if I can muster the energy to do some baking, I am going to make this cake… If not, I’m saving the recipe for post-baby 🙂

    • Jen, I wish I could bring it over!! I can’t believe you are thinking of baking. You must be exhausted. Save your energy, friend. Beets will be here all winter long. xox

  16. A former coworker made chocolate beet cupcakes and they were divine! (He also made saguaro blossom muffins and prickly pear jams… he was amazing). But anyway, I’ve been meaning for months to try to get in touch with him and get that recipe – now I think I’ll just use yours. 🙂

    • I think these would make great cupcakes! Beets are around for the winter..you can be sure I’ll be testing that theory. 🙂

      • For anyone wondering, these really DO make great cupcakes. I just tried it, and they are delicious! The recipe made 2 dozen. I did sub sprouted pastry flour for all of the flour and melted coconut oil for the olive oil. Cook time ended up being about 40 minutes. These are a hit! Thank you for the inspiration, Aimee. 🙂

  17. this looks yummy- I’m bookmarking it to use when my CSA box gives me beets! Should be soon…

  18. I love your beet cupcake recipe — I top it with a thin layer of dark chocolate ganache, rather than cream cheese frosting, so it’s plenty intense! It’s my son’s favorite cupcake! I’ll try this one with the next load of CSA beets.

    • That is just genius, Jeanne. I’m totally going to give that a try. Good thing beets are here for the whole winter. Plenty of time for recipe testing!

  19. 5 stars
    I don’t know if I can make something like this. It looks absolutely amazing. Maybe I could give it a try…

  20. Wonderful sounding.
    Again, I wonder about using almond meal instead of wheat?
    Any ideas? Lmc

  21. How is cocoa powder not processed? and it comes from the other side of the world? the cake i am sure is amazing…

  22. Wow! This recipe looks great…and an added bonus? Getting my husband and toddler to eat beets! I have to try this out.

  23. I’ve been eyeing up Nigel Slater’s chocolate beet cake, but the idea of this one with honey and maple syrup is so tempting! It looks incredibly moist and gives me a good excuse to get out my bundt tin. Thanks for the recipe!

  24. This kind of recipe is really amazing…Looks incredible kind of cakes…I really want to try this chocolate cakes..

  25. I never realized how much I enjoy beets until this year, and this cake is looking mighty fine! Can’t wait to try it. 🙂

  26. I love the green market baking book, but I’ve missed this one. No one likes beets plain in our house so I always have to sneak them into a dessert of some sort. Who can argue with chocolate?

  27. 4 stars
    I made this last week (with a few alterations for not having maple syrup on hand and living in the desert) and posted it on my blog. So good.

  28. 5 stars
    It is a great cake, I made it in the cake tin. But I was just wondering what the size of bundt tin you used.
    Thanks in advance . I am a huge fan. Keep up a good work!
    Your site gives us a taste of Canada, while we are so far from home.
    Greetings from Switzerland!

  29. arlene bartlett says

    Am I going crazy???? I’m not seeing where it say how much cocoa to use. My sons B’Day is Dec. 7th!!! THANKS

  30. Christina D says

    My 2 1/2 year old son LOVES this cake. He devoured an entire slice and then tried to eat the rest of mine, haha. I let him have an extra small piece because with all the healthy ingredients, I didn’t feel like it was really junk food 🙂

  31. 5 stars
    Thank you! This was so moist and chocolatey. It’s our new favorite chocolate cake. Thank you so much. Instead of grating the roasted beets, we just threw them in the processor and pureed them until smooth. We used a container of Fage Yogurt with Blueberry sauce in place of the oil. We also added a 1/2 cup of dark chocolate chips to the batter (we love the flavor of melted chips in our muffins). This was phenomenal! Thank you, thank you. My three-year old son thanked me over and over again, while his twin sister kept saying “mmmmm, mmmm, mmmm, this is de-lic-ious.” Thank you for helping me feed my family healthier alternatives to the traditional store-boxed variety.

    • Thank you for this idea. I was just going through the recipe where it says you can cook the beets ahead of time to save time but then the instructions say to grate the beets. Colour me confused! Then I saw your tip of using the processor and I thought…magic! Can’t wait to make this for the office pot-luck!

  32. 5 stars
    I made this for my birthday last year and it was devine. Making it again today (it’s my birthday again). Thanks for the great recipe.

  33. Is there any substitute for olive oil, butter, and honey? The recipe sounds great but there are three types of sugar – beets, honey and maple syrup. Yes, they are healthy but adding oil and butter, I’m afraid the calories are sky high.

  34. 5 stars
    This is a really great recipe. Tried it last week and everybody loved it! Baking another one soon. -)

  35. 5 stars
    I LOVE this recipe! I made cupcakes and they are perfect! How can this be healthy? YUM! My kids love it, too. Thank you so much for sharing. I got 28 cupcakes and cooked them for 22 minutes. I added a little cinnamon to the batter and then frosted them with whipped cream I made with honey and a little cinnamon. I also used all whole wheat flour and used organic ingredients… this is one of my favorite recipes! They are a little soft and fall apart a bit so I bet this recipe would be better as a cake or a bunt cake like you had in your recipe. The next time I make this I’m going to top with raspberries I think.

  36. Would this be okay in a 13 x 9 inch pan? Love to try it for my daughter’s 3 year birthday party.

  37. Janira B. says

    I know this is an older post but I had to comment on this recipe. I’ll be honest, I was skeptical because beets taste like dirt. No matter how I prepare them, my husband will not eat them. I will choke them down in my smoothie but that’s it. But I received about 10 red & yellow beets in my CSA box and I panicked. But I found this recipe and OH MY GOODNESS – this cake is AMAZING!!! The most chocolatey, moist, yummy cake ever. I followed the recipe to a T and came out perfect. Next time, I might just use all sprouted whole wheat flour for more nutrition. Thank you so much Amiee.

  38. 5 stars
    Delicious and very moist. No need for icing either. Everyone loved it!

  39. 5 stars
    This cake is perfect for that sweet tooth craving without killing the entire cardio workout you did that morning. I made this with unsweetened organic apple sauce instead of oil and one table spoon of oil only. I also added 3 personal size stevia packets in batch. And it turned out fantastic! Note I used vitamix to puree roasted beets and honestly they were a bit bigger than medium but I added them all. Mildly sweet but rich in chocolate flavor. We juice beets so this is a great way for me to get that pup in my diet. HAHA! Will add coffee next time. Thank you for sharing with us!

  40. Hi, I tried this recipe yesterday, and it came out beautifully. Thank you !
    Only thing was that the beetroot was still a little crunchy. Is that because it was not roasted enough? Maybe I can purée it and add it next time- any thoughts on that?
    My toddler loved it too- so perfect for that!!

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