Beningbrough's frosted spiced beetroot cake

A twist on a passion fruit cake, this version contains grated beetroot and walnuts topped with a caramel frosting.

Cakes and bakes
Close up of a slice of cake with frosting
  • Preparation time 30 minutes plus cooling (prep. time)
  • Cooking time 24-30 minutes (cooking time)
  • Serves Cuts into 8 slices


  • 250/9oz chilled cooked beetroot, finely grated
  • 100g/3½oz carrot, finely grated
  • 40g/1½oz walnut pieces, chopped
  • 175ml/6fl oz vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 250g/9oz caster sugar
  • 250g/9oz self-raising flour
  • 1½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¾ tsp grated nutmeg
  • ¾ tsp ground ginger
  • Toffee frosting
  • 175g/6oz cream cheese
  • 40g/1½oz butter, at room temperature
  • 115g/4oz caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp walnut pieces, to decorate, if liked


  1. Preheat the oven to 180oC/350oF/gas mark 4. Grease two 20cm/8in sandwich tins with a little oil and line the bases with non-stick baking paper. 
  2. Add the beetroot to a sieve and press out excess liquid with the back of a spoon or using hands in rubber gloves (to prevent staining your hands). Then mix with the carrots and walnuts.
  3. Add the oil, eggs and caster sugar to the bowl of an electric whisk and beat for 5 minutes until very light and fluffy (or beat by hand).
  4. Mix the remaining dry ingredients in a third bowl. Gently fold the beetroot mix into the whisked eggs then fold in the dry ingredients.
  5. Spoon the cake mixture evenly into the tins and gently ease into an even layer, being careful not to knock out the air.
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the cakes are well risen, golden brown and the top springs back when lightly pressed with a fingertip. Leave to cool in the tins for 5 minutes then loosen the edge and turn out onto a wire rack. Peel off the lining paper and leave to cool.
  7. To make the frosting, whisk the cream cheese and butter together in a bowl until smooth. Add the sugar and water to a heavy-based pan and very gently heat until the sugar has dissolved. Don't be tempted to stir or you may crystallise the syrup. Increase the heat and cook for 3-4 minutes until a golden caramel. Whisk into the cream cheese mixture in a thin steady stream then cool in the fridge until thick.
  8. To finish the cake, put one cake on to a serving plate, spread with half the frosting. Add the second cake and spread the rest of the frosting on top then sprinkle with walnuts, if liked.

Cook's tip for the frosting

If you don't feel very confident about boiling sugar then make up the frosting by beating the cream cheese with the butter then stir in 115g/4oz icing sugar and 1tsp vanilla essence.