Try this healthier chocolate cake that’s free from refined sugar and packed with delicious natural ingredients, from Eat Smart, food blogger Niomi Smart’s new cook book.

“Don’t knock this until you try it,” says Niomi. “Even if you don’t like beetroot, you won’t be able to taste the earthiness once it’s mixed with chocolate – and the rich ganache means your friends won’t guess it’s plant-based. If you want to make a birthday cake for a friend, this will seriously impress.”

Beetroot cake with chocolate ganache

Serves 10


For the cake

  • 125ml coconut oil, plus extra for greasing
  • 100g rolled oats
  • 400g brown rice flour
  • 150g coconut sugar
  • 80g raw cacao powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 300g apple sauce
  • 500ml unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 medium beetroot, peeled and finely grated
  • A pinch of pink Himalayan salt or sea salt

For the chocolate ganache

  • 100g dark chocolate, 70% cocoa solids
  • 155g unsalted raw cashews, soaked overnight
  • 185ml unsweetened almond milk


  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4. Grease 2 x 20cm sandwich cake tins with coconut oil.
  2. Melt the coconut oil in a small saucepan over a low heat.
  3. Grind the oats to a flour in a food processor, tip into a large bowl and mix in the rice flour, coconut sugar, cacao powder, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda. In a separate bowl, mix together the melted coconut oil with the apple sauce, almond milk and vinegar.
  4. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and fold in the wet mixture until fully combined. Stir in the grated beetroot, setting aside 2 tablespoons for later.
  5. Divide the mixture evenly between the cake tins and bake for 30 minutes or until a knife inserted comes out clean. Carefully tip out onto a wire rack and allow to cool.
  6. To make the chocolate ganache, break up the dark chocolate and place in a heatproof bowl. Set this above a saucepan of water simmering over a low heat to melt.
  7. Drain the cashews and blend with the almond milk until smooth, then tip into a bowl.
  8. Stir the melted chocolate into the cashew and almond milk and place in the fridge to firm up for 20 minutes.
  9. Spread a third of the ganache onto one of the cooled cakes. Place the other cake on top and smooth the remaining ganache over the top and sides with a palette knife.
  10. Decorate with the reserved grated beetroot.


Extracted from Eat Smart: What to Eat in a Day – Every Day by Niomi Smart (Harper Collins, £20).

Want more low sugar cake alternatives? Try chef Olivia Wollenberg’s divine low sugar cheesecake.