• Beetroot and apple cake with rose water cream cheese might sound like a strange combination for a cake, but beetroot is actually a naturally sweet vegetable that makes it a great addition to dessert, especially because of its beautiful colour! Its earthiness is delicious with the tartness of apple, and the sweetness of cream cheese icing brings both flavours together beautifully.


    Beetroot and apple cake with rose water cream cheese

    Serves: 16 - 20
    Cooking Time: 1 hour 45 mins


    • Cake

    • 150g butter, softened
    • 300g (1½ cups) brown sugar
    • 3 large eggs
    • 15ml (1 tbsp) vanilla extract
    • 240g (2 cups) cake flour
    • 10ml (2 tsp) baking powder
    • 1ml (¼ tsp) salt
    • 700g beetroot, cooked and peeled
    • 250ml (1 cup) Granny Smith apple, grated
    • Icing

    • 60ml (¼ cup) butter, softened
    • 250g (2 cups) icing sugar
    • 230g (1 tub) plain cream cheese
    • a few drops rose water, to taste
    • 1 tiny drop pink food colouring
    • Candied beetroot

    • 4 small beetroot, cooked, peeled and quartered
    • 200g (1 cup) sugar
    • 80ml (1/3 cup) water
    • 5ml (1 tsp) sesame seeds



    Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line 4 x 20cm cake tins with baking paper.


    For the cake, whisk the butter and sugar until pale and creamy, Mix in the eggs and vanilla. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt and mix the dry ingredients into the wet mixture.


    Purée the beetroot until fine but not completely smooth and mix into the batter together with the grated apple.


    Divide the mixture between the cake tins and bake until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean, about 25 – 35 minutes.


    Allow the cakes to cool in the tins for a few minutes before turning them out and letting them cool completely.


    For the icing, cream the butter and icing sugar together until pale and creamy. Gently whisk in the cream cheese (don’t over-mix or it may split). Add the rose water and mix in just enough colouring for pale pink icing.


    For the candied beetroot, drain the beetroot on paper towel to remove as much moisture as possible. Gently heat the sugar and water in a saucepan until the sugar has dissolved, then increase the heat and bring to the boil. Boil until golden and caramelised, about 10 – 12 minutes. Add the sesame seeds.


    Working quickly, dip each beetroot piece into the caramelised sugar with a fork, then place on a silicone baking mat or baking paper to cool.


    To assemble the cakes, sandwich 2 layers together with icing and ice the top. Serve with the candied beetroot, garnished with fresh mint if desired.