This gorgous chocolate cake recipe is perfect for summer days & first appeared in our Chococo Chocolate Cookbook published in 2011. This recipe actually came from the much missed, locally famous Steph Shepherd, who ran the Lobster Pot Cafe at the north end of Swanage beach for many years. Back in 2010 when Claire asked Steph for the recipe, she took a bit of persuading, but she was chuffed to see it in print and we all miss her, so it is lovely that her recipe lives on in our book and now here!
The Lobster Pot cafe was the summer birthday party location of choice for many local children and no party or trip to the Lobster Pot was complete without enjoying Stephs's equally famous cake. Steph liked to pile it high with fresh summer fruits and it was always demolished in minutes by young and old alike.
It is also delicious served with a dollop of creme friache or vanilla ice cream.
The beetroot helps keep the sugar levels lower than other cakes and it is also dairy-free, very moist and freezes well. There is no end to its talents!


250g cooked beetroot (the vacuum packed packets work fine if you dont want to cook from fresh)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
200m sunflower oil
3 eggs, beaten
175g self raising flour (wholemeal if you can get it will add to the flavour)
80g cocoa powder
160g golden caster sugar (or soft light brown sugar will work fine too)
1 teaspoon baking powder
c300g mixed fresh summer berries to decorate
icing sugar to dust

23cm springform or loosed bottomed cake tin, greased & base-lined with baking parchment
kitchen foil

Serves 8-10


Preheat oven to 180 C (350 F) Gas 4


Puree the  beetroot in a blender and then pour into a large bowl. Add the vanilla extract, oil & eggs. Mix together with a balloon whisk until blended.

Sift the flour and cocoa powder into another large bowl. Stir in the sugar and baking powder until all mixed together. Pour the dry ingredients into the beetroot mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until blended.

Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes.  Then put a foil 'top hat' on top of it to prevent it from overbrowning & cook for another 10 minutes.

Remove the cake from the oven and leave to cool before removing from the tin.

Once cool, pile with the berries, dust with a light sifting of icing sugar and enjoy!