Chocolate and Port Wine Beetroot Cake Recipe

This sourdough chocolate cake recipe makes a great dessert for the holidays.

From "Sourdough: Recipes for Rustic Fermented Breads, Sweets, Savories, and More"
September/October 2016

  • This elegant cake is perfect to make during the holidays or any special occasion.
    Photo by Ngoc Minh Ngo
  • "Sourdough" by award-winning author Sarah Owens includes delicious recipes that encourage bakers to slow down and observe mindfulness.
    Cover courtesy Roost Books

This dense chocolate cake uses three garnet-colored ingredients that complement one another well. Served with candied cranberries, this rich holiday cake is an elegant but simple end to a meal. For a more decadent pairing, serve with vanilla ice cream and a side of wood-aged tawny port.

Note: This recipe from Sourdough contains ingredients measured by weight, which requires a kitchen scale. To measure ingredients by weight, place an empty container on a digital kitchen scale. Hit the “on/clear” or “tare” button on the scale to reset it, and then add the ingredient you’re measuring to the container. The number displayed on the scale is the weight. Makes one 9-inch double-layer cake.

Chocolate and Port Wine Beetroot Cake Recipe


For the Beet Puree:

• 400 g fresh beets
• 170 g ruby port

For the Cake:

• 215 g all-purpose flour
• 55 g barley flour
• 85 g cocoa powder
• 1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
• 1/2 tsp. salt
• 225 g unsalted butter, softened
• 240 g granulated sugar
• 3 large eggs
• Beet puree (see above)
• 150 g 100% hydration starter

For the Icing:

• 225 g bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small chunks
• 175 g sour cream

For the Garnish:

• Candied cranberries


Make the Beet Puree: Preheat your oven to 425˚F. Roast the beets whole until they are tender to a fork, about 45 to 60 minutes. Let cool until ready to handle.

Cut off the tops and tails of the beets and peel away the skin. Add 200 g of roasted beets to a blender or food processor along with the port wine and process until smooth, scraping down the sides as necessary. Set aside or refrigerate until ready to use.

Make the Cake: Preheat your oven to 375˚F. Butter and flour two 9-inch cake pans. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. In a separate large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until pale and creamy, about 5 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time followed by the beet puree. Using a fork, beat in the starter. Fold in the flour mixture in thirds, stirring after each addition just to combine.

Divide the batter between the two cake tins and bake for 20 to 22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center tests clean. Cool on a wire rack.

Assemble the Cake: Melt the chocolate in a bain-marie and allow to cool. Stir in the sour cream. The consistency should be thick and easy to spread. Stack and ice the cake, placing chopped candied cranberries in between the layers. Garnish with candied cranberries. This cake will keep for up to 1 week if refrigerated.

Check out Sourdough Culture for more great recipes. 

From Sourdough, by Sarah Owens © 2015 by Sarah Owens. Photographs © 2015 by Ngoc Minh Ngo. Reprinted by arrangement with Roost Books, an imprint of Shambhala Publications, Inc., Boulder, CO.