Vegan Chocolate, Raspberry & Beetroot Cake

Ladies, gentlemen, we’re close to that day of the year when people go crazy for all things heart-shaped and love-themed… Yes, whether you’re a single pringle ready to mingle or happily married with a baby on the way (guilty), you can’t escape good old Valentine’s Day! I don’t personally see what all the fuss is about – surely we should show our love all year round rather than making a grand gesture once a year – but hey, let’s get in the mood for luuuuurve!

So to celebrate I thought I’d go a bit all out and create a vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free and no refined sugar chocolate cake layered with chocolate ‘butter’ icing and raspberry jam, topped with homemade raspberry-spiked raw chocolate hearts. Trust me, this recipe isn’t as complicated as it looks – and is well worth it! Definitely one to win over some hearts.

For the cake –

  • 150g plain flour (can be gluten-free, I used Dove’s Farm)
  • 50g cacao or cocoa powder (I used Bioglan)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 200ml almond or soya milk (I used Alpro)
  • 100g coconut sugar or stevia (I used The Coconut Company)
  • 100ml rapeseed oil or melted coconut oil (I used Lucy Bee)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons beetroot juice (I used CherryActive)
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

For the frosting –

  • 100g dairy-free margarine (I used Pure Free-From)
  • 250g icing sugar (try use a zero one if you can) (I used Sukrin)
  • 30g cacao or cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons no added sugar raspberry jam (I used Tesco’s own brand)
  • Large handful of fresh raspberries

For the raw chocolates –

  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup (I used Indigo Herbs)
  • 5 tablespoons cacao powder
  • 4 tablespoons freeze-dried raspberries

Get baking!

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C and grease and line two 18cm cake tins.
  2. First make the raw chocolates as these need time to set: Gently melt the coconut oil and maple syrup, then whisk in the cacao powder to form a smooth sauce. Scatter a shallow layer of freeze-dried raspberries over the base of 15 mini heart-shaped ice cube tray then pour over the chocolate sauce. Set in the freezer for at least 2 hours.
  3. Make the cakes: Mix together the flour, cacao or cocoa powder, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda in a large bowl and whisk to get rid of any lumps.
  4. Whisk together the milk, stevia/sugar, oil, vanilla, beetroot juice and vinegar until frothy then pour this into the dry ingredients.
  5. Gently fold to combine and form a batter but don’t overmix. Pour this between the two prepared cake tins and smooth out evenly.
  6. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until risen and firm to the touch. Leave to cool.
  7. Meanwhile make the frosting: Use an electric mixer to beat the margarine, icing sugar, cacao/cocoa powder and vanilla together until light and fluffy. Keep in the fridge until needed.
  8. When your cakes have cooled and you’re ready to assemble, carefully remove the cakes from the tin. Place one on the bottom of a serving plate and spread half the chocolate buttercream over it to cover.
  9. Now spread the underneath of the other cake with the raspberry jam, then carefully place on top of the cake.
  10. Cover the top of the cake with the remaining buttercream. Now arrange the raspberries on top of the cake along with the raw chocolate hearts (turn them upside down to show the raspberries off!) – now slice and serve immediately!

Keep any remaining cake (iced and decorated) in the fridge – best eaten within 2 days.