“The beet is the melancholy vegetable, the one most willing to suffer. You can’t squeeze blood out of a turnip…” Tom Robbins

Dark Chocolate Beetroot Cake with Peanut Butter Filling

A Dark Chocolate Beetroot Cake with Peanut Butter Filling seemed the best way to hide my gardens bumper crop of this earthy red vegetable. Veggies in my cakes are not new. I’ve made a Chocolate Beetroot Cake in the past, as also Tartines Zucchini & Orange Marmalade Tea Cake, and a Double Chocolate Zucchini Cake. However, the kids have grown up and are pretty much smarter now. They instantly pick the veggies out. More often than never, the poor beet gets the boot.

Dark Chocolate Beetroot Cake with Peanut Butter Filling

Ruth from Makey-Cakey was our March 2013 Daring Bakers’ challenge host. She encouraged us all to get experimental in the kitchen and sneak some hidden veggies into our baking, with surprising and delicious results!!

Dark Chocolate Beetroot Cake with Peanut Butter Filling Beets in soup didn’t work; the son hated the red even as my heart sang at the colour. Beets in veggie juice was given a thumbs down … “Do you have to Mama?“. Even the roasted beet salad that I love, didn’t work. Beet greens though went down happily in these Lamb & Beet Green Calzones.

Dark Chocolate Beetroot Cake with Peanut Butter Filling  Getting the veggies down isn’t as much a battle any more actually. The daughter LOVES char-grilled broccoli. Pizzas are made with a mushroom sauce, topped with an abundance of balsamic roasted thinly sliced veggies – bell peppers, onions, zucchini  eggplant. Chicken and mozzarella play saviour! No one ever figures out what lies beneath!

Carrot Walnut Cake with Mascarpone Frosting Funnily enough, I made an absolutely delicious carrot cake in the first week of March. I hadn’t seen the challenge then. The veggies in that case were also home grown and not hidden in the cake. That was the best carrot cake we’ve ever eaten!

Dark Chocolate Beetroot Cake with Peanut Butter Filling  6 Dark Chocolate Beetroot Cake with Peanut Butter Filling  Obviously I was in sixes and sevens as I bravely made a beetroot cake. The Dark Chocolate Beetroot Cake wasn’t easy to ‘declare‘ and in many ways the fear was within me. I kept thinking of ways to make something good better!

Dark Chocolate Beetroot Cake with Peanut Butter Filling  The cake baked nicely in just under an hour. I contemplated filling and frosting, tossing peanut butter and chocolate in my head. Peanut butter frosting was new to me, but one suggested in the recipe. Chocolate ganache was safe, simple and always welcome.

Dark Chocolate Beetroot Cake with Peanut Butter Filling  I settled for both. Peanut butter frosting to sandwich the cake, and dark chocolate ganache for the top. It felt safe. I left a single slice for the lad, muttering that I made something in a hurry and he could have it if he wished. Dark Chocolate Beetroot Cake with Peanut Butter Filling  Came back to find both the slices on my cake platter which I had just set up for photographs gone! Crumbs!! He announced, “It was really good Mama. Was that peanut butter inside? Really nice cake!

Dark Chocolate Beetroot Cake with Peanut Butter Filling  Day 2:Is there any cake left Mama. Oh yum! It’s really nice you know. I never thought a peanut butter frosting would taste so nice”! Of course I contemplated {read forever} if I should let the beet cat out of the bag. Nah!! Decided against it. What they don’t know can’t hurt them, but the cake is going to be on the table often!

Dark Chocolate Beetroot Cake with Peanut Butter Filling

Do stop by here and check out some novel ways of hiding veggies in your baking the Daring Baker way! Thank you Ruth for the really novel challenge. Thank you as always Lisa of La Mia Cucina and Ivonne of  Cream Puffs in Venice for hosting this fab kitchen!!


Recipe: Dark Chocolate Beetroot Cake with Peanut Butter Filling
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Summary: A Dark Chocolate Beetroot Cake that is earthy, moist, dark and delicious. The peanut butter filling compliments the cake really well, and can be doubled if you wish to frost the top of the cake with it too. We did love the extra dark chocolate ganache lavished on top though! Minimally adapted from  NZ Woman’s Weekly

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes

  • Chocolate beetroot Cake
  • 200g vanilla sugar
  • 125g neutral oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 120g plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 35g cup cocoa
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 125g peeled and grated raw beetroot
  • 75g dark chocolate chips
  • Peanut Butter Filling
  • 50g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 100g peanut butter
  • 115g icing sugar
  • 1-2 tbsp chilled milk {if required for correct consistency}
  • Chocolate Ganache Topping
  • 100g dark chocolate chips
  • 100g low fat cream
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • Grated chocolate for garnishing


  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Line the base and sides of a 7″ round baking tin.
  2. Place the sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla extract in a large bowl and whisk well with a balloon whisk.
  3. Sift the dry ingredients together.
  4. Mix the grated beetroot and chocolate chips.
  5. Alternatively add the flour mix and grated beetroot in 3 lots.
  6. Mix together lightly and place in the tin. Bake for an hour/ until a tester comes out clean.
  7. Cool completely, then slice horizontally.
  8. Peanut Butter Filling
  9. Place all ingredients in a large bowl and whip until smooth. Add a tbsp or two of chilled milk to correct the consistency if required.
  10. Also, taste and adjust sweetness if required.
  11. Sandwich the cake with the filling.
  12. Chocolate Ganache Topping
  13. Place the dark chocolate chips, cream and honey in a heat proof bowl. Microwave 1 minute at a time until the chocolate has melted, stirring well each time. Whisk until glossy and cool a little. Pour over the cake.
  14. Pipe rosettes of any left over peanut butter frosting on the ganache once slightly set, grate chocolate over the top if you wish. Enjoy!


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“I talked to a calzone for fifteen minutes last night before I realized it was just an introverted pizza. I wish all my acquaintances were so tasty.
Jarod Kintz

Calzones with lamb & beet greensCalzones, Pizza Pies & Popovers with lamb & beet greens. Pizza dough many ways because minced lamb was all that I had in the freezer. I toyed with the idea of meatballs…but NAH, too much effort! So I made pizza dough, with some whole wheat thrown in for good measure! One batch went a long way. Deliciously too. With mince lamb and beet greens, we had calzones one day, pizza pies the next, and popovers for snacks. Never a hungry moment! Pizza Pies with lamb & beet greensWhat is it with teens? Forever hungry! “What’s for fooooooood”  echoes through the house every weekend. Why do weekends seem so long? Why are so many meals involved? Why are ‘they’ so hungry? So many questions … one answer. Something pizza!

Pizza Pies & Popovers with lamb & beet greensCalzones, Pizza Pies & Popovers with lamb & beet greensIt gives me a sense of security and comfort to have a slow rising dough in the fridge. If all else fails, there is always margarita! Make ahead is good stuff! Made ahead pizza dough, even better!Beets and carrotsI’ve grown some beets and carrots in my little patch this year. When the first beet surfaced I was thrilled. MY FIRST BEET EVER! The gardener {lazy inefficient man that he is, quite good for nothing but non stop banter} was even happier. “Photo?” he queried. The camera obliged! Beets and carrots We had the little beets for salad and I didn’t know what to do with the greens. There were loads of them. Sent them for Man Fridays rabbits to munch {Coco didn’t take to them unfortunately though she loves peas and brocolli}. Then spoke to Sangeeta who suggested using the greens in salad etc since they were edible. Kanji... a fermented nutritional drink Kanji... a fermented nutritional drink A few beets and carrots also went into a fermented drink, kaanji, which is highly nutritional and a result of bacterial fermentation. The deep colour comes from ‘black carrots’ or ‘kaali gajar’ which is the star of the drink. Black carrots are available for a brief period in winter in North India. Calzones with lamb & beet greens The kaanji recipe can be found on Sangeeta’s blog. It turned out to good to be true; full of nostalgic memories of the years gone by. Fermented products are an acquired taste, and interestingly, most cultures have something to contribute.

Fermentation in food processing typically is the conversion of carbohydrates to alcohols and carbon dioxide or organic acids using yeasts, bacteria, or a combination thereof, under anaerobic conditions. Fermentation in simple terms is the chemical conversion of sugars into ethanol. The science of fermentation is also known as zymology or zymurgy.

Kanji... a fermented nutrional drinkFermentation usually implies that the action of microorganisms is desirable, and the process is used to produce alcoholic beverages such as wine, beer, and cider. Fermentation also is employed in the leavening of bread (CO2 produced by yeast activity); in preservation techniques to produce lactic acid in sour foods such as sauerkraut, dry sausages, kimchi, and yogurt; and in pickling of foods with vinegar.

Examples of fermentation across cultures include kimchi, soy sauce, miso, pickled cucumbers, quark, crème fraîche, sourdough bread, kombucha, idli, dosa, dhokla, sake, vodka, whisky, wine, fish sauce, chorizo …. the list is endless! Kanji... a fermeneted nutrional drink Sangeeta is very “fresh produce and ingredient informed“especially when it comes to local produce. She suggested that I could harvest the beet greens and use them as I like, leaving the beets below the ground. New leaves will keep appearing. Since beets are perennials, they will stay good for two years! This is what I love about food blogging. It’s a large hearted community which has the willingness to share and grow.Calzones with lamb & beet greens Then the possibilities exploded! I searched the net to find a whole load of folk do eat the beet greens, and happily so. The next bunch of leaves headed for pizza. Fingers crossed that the kids wouldn’t think I was ‘killing them with spinach‘ again. That has happened in the past which is why I shifted to purslane. It fared really well in Lamb & Purslane Pides{Turkish pizzas}!Pizza Pies with lamb & beet greens Threw in chopped onion, garlic and some sweet smelling marjoram from Sangeeta’s garden = BLISS. Life was certainly looking up suddenly. In went the chopped greens and they imparted a beautiful deep red to the onions. NICE! They wilted pretty soon. Once the lamb came into play, you couldn’t tell what ‘green’ was ‘going on in there‘.Calzones with lamb & beet greens Pizza Pies with lamb & beet greens The tiredness went, and the spices flew in. Before I knew it I was cooking up certain yumminess. Sweet paprika, smoked, adds huge flavour dimensions to minced lamb. Juberfam & Mittal do a really really nice one available locally. I LOVE it! Bell peppers went in next, basically whatever there was on hand. They were a hit!! Next time would possibly see finely chopped mushrooms too.

[print_this]Recipe: Lamb & Beet Greens – Calzones, Pies & Popovers 
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Summary: Lamb & Beet Greens – Calzones, Pies & Popovers …pizza dough three ways. One batch went a long way. Deliciously too with mince lamb and beet greens. We had calzones one day, pizza pies the next, and popovers for snacks. Never a hungry moment!

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour plus dough rising and resting time

  • Dough
  • 150g wholewheat flour
  • 350g all purpose flour
  • 1.5tsp yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp dried herbs
  • 1 tbsp pickled peppers
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 310ml warm water
  • Filling
  • 500g minced lamb
  • 1 onions, chopped fine
  • 5 cloves garlic, chooped fine
  • 1 small bunch fresh marjoram {or dried}
  • 10-15 beet greens, chopped
  • 1tsp sweet smoked paprika, Juberfam & Mittal
  • 2 tsp roasted cumin powder
  • Salt & pepper t taste
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 50g cream cheese
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 bell peppers, red & yellow, julienned
  • Mozzarella
  • Pimento olives


  1. Dough {I make it in the Thermomix}
  2. Place all ingredients except water in bowl of food processor and whiz for 1 minute.
  3. Add water and knead to a smooth dough.
  4. Place in a greased bowl and allow to rise for 1-2 hours, until doubled. At this point you can refrigerate the dough, else use it. I prefer using it after a rest in the fridge.
  5. Filling
  6. Heat the olive oil in a pan. Sweat onions, marjoram and garlic until light pink and fragrant.
  7. Add the beet greens and saute until wilted. Throw in the mince and cook on high for about 5 minutes.
  8. Add the paprika, cumin, salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce. Mix well.
  9. Cook open for about 15 minutes until the mince is cooked. Add the cream cheese, mix well and turn off heat. Cover pan and allow to cool completely.
  10. Preheat oven to 180C.
  11. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper for calzones, used ceramic dishes for pies, and muffin molds for popovers.
  12. Calzones: You can follow the basic recipe on the Roasted Bell Pepper, Mushroom and Ricotta Calzones. This recipe has a nice vegetarian filling option. Maybe some beet greens will do great in here.
  13. Pizza Pies: Roll out small balls of dough and place in ceramic pie dishes, leaving a border hanging out. Fill with filling of your choice, then frill the border back over part of the filling. Bake at 180C for about 30 minutes {until golden brown and firm to touch. Time will vary depending on size of pie}
  14. Pizza Popovers: Roll out small balls of dough. Place the filling in the centre and pull the sides up to form a sack. Twist gently to keep in place. I tied mine with a bit of marjoram. gently place in muffin tins and bake for about 25-30 minutes until firm to touch, crisp and brown.


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