Heartbeet Kitchen
Chocolate Beet Cake with Naturally Dyed Pink Buttercream Frosting
February 13, 2014 in Cooking Techniques · Fall · Featured Recipes · Seasonal · Sweets · Winter · 27 Comments

Chocolate Beet Cake with Natural Pink Buttercream Frosting (gluten-free)

I was going to make this cake to celebrate my new blog logo and redesign (which is coming very soon!) but I couldn’t wait. I mean a Chocolate Beet Cake to celebrate the new look of Heartbeet Kitchen would be quite fitting. But then again a chocolate cake with naturally dyed pink frost (sneaky beets!) to celebrate love is just as good in my books.

Chocolate beet cake, gluten freeTo

Brian, my love and best friend:

We’ve never really celebrated Valentine’s Day, as you’ve said many times, “It isn’t about just one day and a bouquet of flowers. It should be shown all the time, with unexpected acts of kindness that mean so much more.”

The first time you mentioned that I knew I was with the right person. It’s the little, yet big things you do for me that signify the deeper love we have.

Like spending 3 hours putting in the new dishwasher in (hooray!) when we could have paid someone to do it.
Like finding me the perfect birthday gift that I didn’t even hint about.
Like letting me make a complete mess of the kitchen every single day and being okay with it.
Like sending an “I really miss you” text when you’re on vacation with the guys.


You’re always there to ground me,
to calm my nerves,
to wipe my tears, both happy and sad.

You make me feel valued,
and beautiful…..
Things that I admittedly have trouble doing on my own sometimes.

Neither of us may be romantics, but I do know this: Our relationship brings me happiness and contentment that I never quite imagined and for that I will be forever grateful.


Chocolate Beet Cake with Natural Pink Buttercream Frosting (gluten-free)
Vanilla Buttercream

About this cake: My inspiration to make this cake was not because I wanted to secretly incorporate beets to make it healthier. Why do that when this tiny purple gift from the soil and a dedicated farmer’s hands has so much to give? Not that beets aren’t nourishing, but I wanted to create something that glorified all of their beauty – color, texture and moisture. Does it taste like beets? Well, they make themselves known but only barely, with the loveliest slightly earthy flavor that sets this cake apart. It’s kind of like a faint herbal flavor in any sweet and savory dessert, like these Rosemary Apricot Bars. This cake is extremely moist and midnight black, but not too sweet. It’s one of the most perfect vehicles for rich vanilla buttercream that I couldn’t help but dye naturally pink using the color from the beets.

Gluten-Free Chocolate Beet Cake | with naturally dyed pink buttercream frosting

Chocolate Beet Cake with Naturally Dyed Pink Buttercream Frosting


Makes a two layer, six-inch round cake.


  • 3 small to medium beets
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 7 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 205 grams Cup4Cup Gluten-Free Flour or 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon espresso powder (optional)


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Thoroughly wash beets under running water, and trim their leaves, leaving about 1/2 inch of stem.  Place clean beets in a piece of foil.  Drizzle with just a bit of vegetable oil.  Seal up foil.  Place on a baking sheet in the oven.  Roast until beets are tender when pierced with a knife, about 1 hour.

Remove the beets from the oven.  Open the foil and allow beets to cool completely, then peel. Using a box grater, grate the peeled beets on the finest grating plane.  Measure 1/2 cup of grated beets for the cake and 2 tablespoons for the frosting. Set aside.

Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees. Use butter to grease bottom and sides of a 6 in round springform pan. Trace a piece of parchment paper so it is the same size as the bottom of the cake pan. Cut it out and place inside the cake pan. Butter the parchment paper.

Using a stand or hand mixer, cream together butter and sugars, beating on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes.  Beat in eggs, one at a time, for one minute after each addition. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Once eggs are incorporated, beat in beets and vanilla extract until thoroughly combined.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add half of the dry ingredients to the butter and egg mixture. Beating on low speed, slowly add buttermilk. Once just incorporated, add the other half of the dry ingredients. Beat on medium speed until milk and dry ingredients are just incorporated. Cake batter will be thick, not pourable like other cakes you may have made. Bake for 45 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean and sides are slightly starting to pull away from pan. Let cool for 5 minutes, then unmold from pan and set on wire cooling rack. Let completely cool.

I used this vanilla buttercream frosting recipe, reserved 1 cup of it and set aside. I then beat in the two tablespoons of reserved grated beet into the remaining frosting and set aside. I cut the cake in half, spread the white frosting on top of one half, placed other half on top and proceeded to frost the rest of the cake with the pink stained frosting. And then I made a heart with chocolate sprinkles. :)


Recipe Notes

Adapted from Joy the Baker's recipe.


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27 thoughts on “Chocolate Beet Cake with Naturally Dyed Pink Buttercream Frosting

  1. Pingback: Beet it! - Amusée

  2. Pingback: Dancing to the Beet | Wild Skillet Blog

  3. Ramona

    Sounds good. Do you think a person could use gluten free flour in place of cake flour ? I have a recipe for roasted beet ice cream that will go great with this cake. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Amanda Paa Post author

      Hi Ramona! This recipe actually does call for Cup 4 Cup Gluten-Free flour so you’re on your way! You can use whichever gluten-free flour blend you normal do, just make sure it is weighed the same. Enjoy!

  4. Alicja

    So, I’m trying this now… It’s been in the oven for 50 mins and it’s still gooey in the centre when I pull out the toothpick. I don’t want to keep opening and testing it, but I don’t see any other way to do it. Any suggestions?

    1. Amanda Paa Post author

      hi alicia! i would keep baking it for 8-10 minutes. It’s okay to keep opening it and putting the toothpick in. It will still continue to bake a little as it sits, so once it is just moist coming out from the toothpick you should be good. The baking time can vary because of the moisture of the beets, and ovens are often not calibrated correctly. Hope that helps!

      1. Alicja

        Thanks! I did exactly as you recommended, and the cake came out beautifully! I ended up cutting off the rounded top to make it flat to accomodate the decorations for my mother’s birthday. It is scrumptious and lookks amazing!

        1. Amanda Paa Post author

          Alicja, I’m so glad it worked out! Cakes can be a little tricky with baking time so sometimes its just a matter of feel. And happy birthday to your mom!

  5. Carolee

    I Can’t wait to make this!! But better than the cake was your Lovely Heartfelt Message for your Sweet Husband! I enjoyed that the Most!!

  6. Sarah

    I would love to make this cake but don’t have a 6 inch spring form pan. Can I use another cake pan instead or is a spring form pan needed?

    1. amandapaa Post author

      Yes, you could use an 8 inch cake pan. It just won’t be as thick, and the layers will be thinner. I would cut the bake time down to 25 minutes, check it. And then increase time from their, until toothpick comes out just clean.

    1. amandapaa Post author

      Hi Liz! For gluten-free baking, I really suggest using a scale because all of the different flours are not the same weight, thus can affect the end product. They’re a great $10 investment! That being said, I only use weight measurements, rather than cups so that recipes turn out correctly.


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