Beet, Seed, and Blood Orange Cake

 Even after all this time,

the Sun never says to the Earth,

“you owe me.” 

Look what happens with a love like that.

It lights the whole sky.

— Hafiz

The words can’t quite come together for this one. Better not to force it. Alas, there is cake. Beet Cake. A bit more on the earthy side then carrots are to carrot cake, the beet variety with the added texture of the seeds and sweetened with brown rice syrup makes a more lasting impression than the former. Add a drizzle of the orange-poppy glaze to make it dessert, or enjoy plain with coffee in the morning. Red beets immediately stain the batter, but once baked you’ll cut into a fabulous rainbow assortment of color and texture.

Beet, Seed, and Blood Orange Cake 

Adapted from Tender by Nigel Slater

  • 1 3/4 cups gluten free flour blend
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • scant tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup walnut oil
  • 1 cup brown rice syrup
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups raw red beets, shredded
  • juice of 1 blood orange
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1/2 cup mixed seeds (flax, sunflower, pumpkin)

Blood Orange, Poppy Seed Glaze

  • 1/4 cup brown rice syrup
  • juice of 1 blood orange
  • poppy seeds

Preheat the oven to 350′ and prepare a loaf pan with oil and line with parchment. Set aside. In a large bowl, beat together the oil and brown rice syrup. Mix in the eggs one at a time. Grate the beets and fold into the mixture, adding the blood orange juice, seeds, and raisins accordingly. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon. Slowly fold into the wet ingredients. Pour the mixture into the loaf pan and bake for 55-60 minutes. Test with a toothpick around 50 min to test for doneness. Let cool for 15-20 minutes before serving.

For the glaze, simply mix together brown rice syrup, juice and a bit of zest of a blood orange, and a few shakes of poppy seeds in a small jar. Set in the fridge while the cake bakes to serve chilled and thickened later.

  1. Margarita

    Beets in a cake and brown rice syrup… I just love how inventive your food creations are. And yes, that’s how love should be, free and unconditional.

  2. Kathryn

    Beautiful pictures, as ever and just a delightful combination of flavours and textures.

  3. Anna @ the shady pine

    Love the originality of this cake! And the pictures are gorgeous.

  4. Laura

    This blows every red velvet cake ever out of the water. Gorgeous, perfect. And walnut oil! Oooof.

  5. Sarah

    It is a week for citrus cakes.

    I love, love sufi poetry. This gets me in the gut.

  6. Emma Galloway

    I’ve seen a few versions of Nigels beet cake, but your one is awesome! Love it.

  7. ileana

    These are lovely pictures!

  8. hannah@ bake five

    this looks too good! 😀

  9. Stephanie

    This looks absolutely beautiful! Gotta try it next week when I get some beets! Thank You for the recipe :)

  10. Brian @ A Thought For Food

    Magic! Look at the textures and colors! And that dripping blood orange! My heart just went pitter-patter over this cake!

  11. Amanda Jane

    wow…the beet color is so beautiful!

  12. Kasey

    I’ve got beets and sunshine on my mind now….

  13. Dramatic Pancake

    Gorgeous! Looks so wholesome and satisfying, the kind of cake I could happily eat all day long… :)

  14. thelittleloaf

    Gorgeous! You actually managed to get an amazing purple colour in this cake too – I baked with blood orange recently and it didn’t really show in the final cake, but maybe it’s the beetroot that helps?

    • Kelsey

      Yes, the beetroot turns the batter pink immediately. When fully cooked, it takes on a more orange hue.

  15. Rachel

    Look at that color! You’re certainly not afraid to mess around with brightly colored foods. The result is stunning!

  16. Zita

    Beautiful photography and amazing cake. I love it so much! I will definitely bake it!

  17. Cathy @What Would Cathy Eat?

    Wow. First, your photos blow me away. Now, for the cake. So interesting, I can’t wait to try it. I’d like to find a way to include fewer eggs … we’ll see if I can make it work!

  18. amelia

    this is seriously beautiful. Nigel should be proud!!

  19. Veronica

    Oh Kelsey… to you, it may seem that the words aren’t coming together for this post, but I’m sure I’m not the only one who thinks this post is just as beautifully written and photographed as all other Happyolks posts… Your words – however little or large – always leave a beautiful presence of you in them. Perhaps this time, the cake did all the talking. I love beets (I’m originally from Russia, where beets are quite the staple!), and I’m looking forward to recreating this stunning, scrumptious creation!
    Hope your week is going well!
    Take care,

  20. Brandon @ Kitchen Konfidence

    I’ll have to agree with the others – such a beautiful color! I like the combination of beets and orange, but I usually have it in salad form.

  21. Jesica @ Pencil Kitchen

    such beautiful color!

  22. Anjali

    SO beautiful! One question though: how much walnut oil goes in the batter? 3/4 cup?

  23. Adrienne

    This is perfect, Kelsey. Can’t wait to try it.

  24. sarah

    These photos are so pretty! I can’t stop looking. gorgeous.

  25. Cookie and Kate

    You and your beets. :) I love incorporating colorful produce in recipes, especially in the dead of winter. Perfect poem selection—sometimes just a few lines speak volumes. No need for more words here.

  26. Fresh and Foodie

    I LOVE THIS! So unique and beautiful. Your recipes always blow me away.

  27. Let Me Eat Cake

    beet cake sounds so interesting, I’ve never made anything like it before but I like your flavor combos!

  28. Jill Mant~a SaucyCook

    I love beets and I love your blog! Your photos are outstanding and I can not wait to try this divine sounding recipe. Kudos!

  29. Whitney [eat sleep cuddle.]

    gosh, your photos are beautiful! would love to try this!

  30. Kimberley

    I’m so intrigued by this. I’ve just finally made peace with the fact that beets are not my favorite flavor, but wonder if that’s irrelevant when they’re tucked into a lovely bread like this. That color!

  31. Elizabeth

    I want to make this! I love that it’s earthy–seems right for the time of year.

  32. Ashlae

    What a beautiful color – and great flavors. Cannot wait to try this :)

  33. Jenny (VintageSugarcube)

    This cake looks fantastic. I’ve been wanting to try a beet cake recipe and yours looks like the best I’ve seen on the web. And your pics are TO DIE FOR!! Kudos, kudos and kudos!!!!

  34. Sarah @ studiofood

    That is the most beautiful cake I have ever seen. As soon as I move into a house with an oven I will be making this. Well, after I make lasagne. Obviously.

  35. a&b

    this looks absolutely gorgeous. That dark red color….mmmm….I can almost taste it!

  36. Jessica @ Garden Gastronomy

    This is beautiful. I love the deep red color of beets. The rest of my family aren’t beet eaters, but this may change that.

  37. Delphine

    I just made this last night, although mine was heavily adapted (could only find yellow beets, poppy seeds were sooo expensive). But it turned out so yummy! Super moist and tender without being heavy. Love it!

  38. Delphine

    I just made this last night, although mine was heavily adapted (could only find yellow beets, poppy seeds were sooo expensive). But it came out great! So moist and tender without being heavy. Love it!

  39. Kate Olsson

    Hi there, just wanted to let you know that I passed on the Versatile Blogger Award to you at

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful recipes!

  40. Kelly

    Brown rice syrup .. anything I can substitute it with? Coz we don’t get that stuff around here and really really Really wanna try this cake! -thanks

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