Chocolate-Beetroot Muffins or Cake

You want something decadently fudgey, but still light and airy – and gluten-free? Try this recipe, which always works for me.

Beetroot doesn’t add a specific taste, but it makes the mixture very moist (and healthy!).

Makes: 24 muffins, or 2 loaf cakes – but it’s easily halved (cooked beetroot is usually sold in 250g packages) if you need less



  • 500g cooked beetroot (make sure it’s vinegar-free if using a bought packet)
  • 1 lemon, juice only
  • 170g unsalted butter, softened
  • 300g golden granulated sugar (golden, or white, caster can substitute; use only 280g)
  • 6 large eggs (they should total 375g – 410g when weighed in their shells)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract (optional)
  • 400g gluten-free plain flour
  • 3 teaspoons gluten-free baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
  • 50g ground almonds
  • 80g cocoa powder (plus extra for dusting pans if making loaves)
  • 100g baking chocolate (dark or milk), chopped into small pieces
  • Butter or oil to grease tins if making loaves


  • Two 12-hole muffin tins (or, two 2lb loaf tins – see Loaf Cake footnote)
  • 24 muffin cases
  • Food processor, or stick blender
  • Electric mixer (hand-held or stand) if not creaming butter/sugar by hand
  • 3 large mixing bowls
  • Citrus juicer
  • Chopping board and sharp knife
  • Cooling rack


  1. Preheat oven to 180 C (165 C fan-assisted). Line muffin tins with paper cases.
  2. Drain the excess liquid from the beetroot, chop into smaller pieces, and puree in a food processor, or in a bowl with a stick blender, with the lemon juice.
  3. Cream together the butter and sugar in a separate bowl; add eggs one at a time, with the vanilla extract (if using), and beat until creamy and smooth. Pour in the beetroot puree and mix well to combine.
  4. In another bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, bicarb, ground almonds, and cocoa powder together with a fork. Add the chopped chocolate pieces and mix well to ensure all pieces are coated. (Coated chocolate pieces will not sink to the bottom during baking.)
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix well. Remember, this is gluten-free, so you don’t have to worry about over-mixing the dry with the wet. In fact, incorporate as much air as you can.
  6. Spoon the mixture into the muffin cases, filling only to 3/4 full to allow for a good rise. The mixture should ‘dollop’ i.e. hold its shape as it’s dropped.
  7. Bake for 18 minutes or so, turning trays halfway through for even baking, until a skewer inserted into the centre of a couple of muffins comes out clean. Remove from the oven, remove muffins from the trays and place them on a cooling rack.

Loaf Cake
You can make two 9″ x 5″ loaves from this recipe – grease two loaf tins and dust with cocoa powder, and increase baking time to 35-40 minutes, until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Remember with GF loaves to let them cool in the tin before turning out, as they can be quite delicate directly out of the oven.

Flavouring Options
You can add 1 tablespoon coffee or espresso granules/powder; 1 tablespoon almond or orange extract; or, the grated zest of 1 large orange for interesting flavour additions. Add to the butter/sugar creaming process in Step 3.

You can top these if you like with any icing, frosting, or ganache of your choice, or dust with icing sugar – just make sure they are completely cool first. You can also scatter the tops with mini white chocolate chips; if you do this, the muffins should be warm [not hot] so the chips stick but don’t melt into goo.


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