Beetroot and Apple Cake

    Servings: 10 – 12                    Time: About 1hr 40 min                       Difficulty: Quite easy

This is a really tasty and interesting cake. The beetroot adds colour (lots of colour) and moisture; the apple gives it a tangy flavour without diminishing the lovely sweetness.

Credits: This was my adaption based on an original recipe by Mike Wallis in the excellent book “A Year of Cake” by Lynn Hill of Clandestine Cake Club fame.


For the cake
– Juice of one lemon, or slightly more if needed
– 1 tbsp icing sugar, or slightly more if needed
– 1 medium beetroot, peeled and grated (*see tip below)
– 2 eating apples (e.g. Cox’s Orange Pippin or similar) peeled and grated
– 120g unsalted butter, softened
– 120g light muscovado sugar
– 2 large eggs
– 140g self-raising flour
– 1/2 tsp baking powder
For the apple puree
– 1 large cooking apple (e.g. a Bramley), peeled, cored & cut into small pieces
– 1 tbsp caster sugar
– A pinch of ground cinnamon (or a little more if you wish)
– 2 tsp butter
For the filling/topping
– 300g full fat cream cheese
– 150g icing sugar
– 125ml whipping or double cream
– 1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Make the apple puree first. Put the Bramley apple pieces, sugar and cinnamon in a saucepan and cook over a low heat until the apple has broken down completely and is very smooth when beaten.
2. Take pan off the heat and beat in the butter. Leave to cool completely. (NB This can be made ahead and kept in the fridge for a few days.)
3. Some time prior to making the cake, mix the lemon juice and icing sugar together, then add the beetroot and the eating apples. Leave for 20 – 30 minutes to infuse and macerate.
For the cake itself
4. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C (fan 180)/Gas 6.
5. Grease and line a deep 20cm/8″ round cake tin, ideally loose bottomed.
6. Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Drain the grated beetroot and eating apple (Keep the liquid) and fold into the mixture. Sift the flour and baking powder into the mixture, a third at a time, and fold in to combine.
7. Pour the lovely pink mixture into the prepared tin and bake for around 50 minutes. Leave in the tin for 5 minutes to cool, then turn it out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
For the filling/topping and assembly
8. Lightly whip the cream cheese until smooth, then sieve the icing sugar into it. Beat them both together.
9. Add the cream and vanilla extract (or other flavouring if preferred.) Beat again until you achieve your desired consistency. (If necessary, carefully add extra icing sugar for a thicker consistency for piping.)
10. There are a number of options for finishing and decorating this cake. I chose to slice it in half horizontally then pipe half the cream cheese mixture in rosettes around outer edge of the lower half, like a dam, which I filled in with the Bramley apple puree. The rest of the cream cheese mixture I coloured with the reserved beetroot juice and piped on the top cake.

* Tip: Wear a pair of light rubber gloves when you handle the beetroot – unless you want to be “caught red-handed”.