Susan Jane White’s “I can’t believe it’s beetroot!” Chocolate Cake


Anyone that knows me will know how much I love Susan Jane White and her recipes. When she released her debut cookbook last year “The Extra Virgin Kitchen” it was a breath of fresh air to be able to pick up a cookbook and try her recipes without any of my usual ingredient adjustments or swaps because all her recipes are wheat, dairy and sugar free! Win.

This chocolate cake is so simple to make. I prepped the date paste the evening before to save time but it takes a very short time to put everything together. Once cooked it is rich, dense and thanks to the secret ingredient beetroot, beautifully moist.


However – be warned.. Eaten, still warm from the oven, with fresh berries and coconut yoghurt having the self-restraint not to eat the whole cake is a task! In the recipe guidelines, Susan predicts this cake should serve 16-20 people… I would have to disagree with this. Unless perhaps they are 16-20 very small, non-chocolate-cake-loving, small-appetited people. See below the aftermath picture when just my sister and I hadhad our share! – Yep that’s about half the cake! I didn’t even get the chance to take a picture of the whole cake because we gobbled it so quickly!

Cacao beetroot cake S.J.White recipe


So what are the other secret ingredients??

2 cups pitted dates

125g cacao or cocoa powder

1 cup puréed beetroot (about

4 cooked baby beets (from a vacuum packet or cook your own)

2 tablespoons tamari (wheat free soy sauce available in health food stores)

4 medium eggs

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons vanilla extract (optional – I didn’t use this personally)

2 teaspoons baking powder

Fresh berries and natural coconut yoghurt or to serve

Serves 16–20 ( 12 is may be more reasonable)


How to put it all together.. 

Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/350°F. Grease a 20cm round cake tin or springform tin.

Boil the dates in a small saucepan with about 3cm of water for 10–15 minutes. Purée in a high-speed electric blender. This should yield about 1 ½ cups of date paste. The recipe only needs 1 cup’s worth, so freeze the rest or keep it in the fridge for using as a sweetener in smoothies.

Purée the cacao/cocoa powder, beetroot and tamari with the date paste until sumptuously smooth. Using pre-cooked, vacuum-packed beetroot (with no vinegar) saves much time here and the mess of cooking and peeling your own.

Blend in the eggs, oil, vanilla (if using) and baking powder until thoroughly incorporated. Immediately pour the batter into the greased cake tin.

Once the cake is in the oven, lower the heat to 170°C/150°C fan/340°F – an important step. Bake for 40–55 minutes. You’re looking for a moist, rich cake, not a dry, fluffy cake.

If like me all your mixture didn’t fit in the baking dish you are using – great news, pop in greased muffin tray and bake until a knife can be inserted and removed clean from them – approx 30-35 minutes.



 Allow to cool, making sure you give it enough time to chill before removing from its tin. Serve with plenty of coconut yoghurt, your favourite fresh berries and a large spoon!


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