You Can’t Beet a Little Change

See what I did there? This is a post about using beets to ease some of the sugar in a cake recipe.

I am always trying to figure out ways to be able to indulge in all my favorite things in a more healthy manner. So this week I dipped my toe into subbing beets for sugar. I mean dipped. I subbed 1/4 grated beets for 1/4 cup of sugar. Hey it’s a start. I” do more next time, cause this worked well.

I chose to use a chocolate cake since the flavor really comes from the cocoa powder. If you or the recipient of the cake is freaked out by seeing the beets, the cocoa powder will hide them and they will never know.

I also used Blood Oranges for the frosting. I used both beet juice and Blood Orange juice. I wanted a specific color but the acid in the oranges can make it hard to get your frosting to hold up. TO amp up the flavor in the cake, I squeezed fresh juice into the hot cake. This gives such a fresh flavor to the chocolate

I hope you enjoy this cake. Let me hear from you!

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Chocolate Cake with Blood Orange Juice and Frosting

This recipe was inspired by a recipe from Brooklyn Supper. I used grated beets to reduce some of the sugar. I squeezed in Blood Orange juice to a hot cake to infuse more flavor.
Prep Time1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time1 hour 20 minutes
Frosting15 minutes
Total Time2 hours 40 minutes
Course: Endings
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Beets, Blood Orange, cake, chocolate
Servings: 8 slices


  • 9X5 Loaf Pan



  • 3-4 Medium Beets
  • 1-1/4 Cups All-purpose Flour
  • 3/4 Cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder, extra for dusting pan
  • 1 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp. Fine Sea Salt
  • 3 Large Eggs
  • 1-1/4 Cups Granualted White Sugar
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Cup Great Quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Zest of Blood Orange
  • 1-2 Tbs. Blood Orange Juice

Blood Orange Frosting

  • 4 ounces Cream Cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
  • 2 Tbs. Beet juice, reserved from grated beets, in cake.
  • 2 Tbs. Blood Orange Juice
  • 1/2 tsp. Orange Extract
  • 1/2 tsp. Fine Sea Salt
  • 3 Cups Confectioners Sugar, sifted



  • Preheat oven to 400°. Arrange cleaned beets in a baking dish with about 1/2 cup of water and cover tightly with foil.
    Bake until beets are tender, about an hour.
    Carefully remove from oven and remove foil. It will steam. Let beets cool enough to handle and then, while under running cold water, peel with hands.
    Grate Beets, unitl you have about 1-1/4 cups. Reserve the juice, for frosting. Set aside.
  • Reduce oven temperature to 350°.
    Grease a 9X5 loaf pan with butter, then dust, lightly, with extra cocoa powder.
    In a small bowl whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and sea salt.
  • In the bowl of a stand-up mixer, fitted with paddle attachment, beat eggs and sugar together until light and doubled in voulme, about 4 minutes.
    Add in grated beets and vanilla, stir until well combined.
    Fold in half the dry mixture then all of the olive oil. Finish with remaining dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Do not over mix.
  • Spoon into prepared pan and smooth top. Bake for 60-70 minutes. A tester should have just a few crumbs left.
    Immediately drizzle orange juice over hot cake.
    Cool in pan on rack for 20 minutes. Turn out and let cool completely before frosting.


  • In a stand up mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat together cream cheese and butter until well combined and light in texture.
    Slowly add in beet juice and blood orane juice, orange extract and salt. Beat on slow until combined and smooth.
    Gradually, on a slow speed, add sifted sugar until all is combined and there are no lumps.
    It may be soft. You can either spread it on the cake as is or refrigerate for about 15 minutes and then pipe onto cake.
    Decorate cake with blood orange slices and some zest.


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