This is the first recipe from Harry Eastwood’s book Red Velvet & Chocolate Heartache. I chose this because I wanted to try a recipe that uses vegetables instead of butter, this one for example uses beetroot. It was only when I started working my way through the ingredients that I realised it was gluten-free which makes this a great recipe to impress my father-in-law-to-be who is gluten intolerant.


For the sponge
3 medium eggs
180g caster sugar
200g topped, tailed, peeled and finely grated beetroot
1 vanilla pod, split lengthways and seed scraped out 2 squirts of vanilla extract
180g ground white rice flour I used brown rice flour as I didn’t have white
180g ground almonds
2 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
284ml buttermilk
1 tsp red food colouring

For the filling
6 fat tablespoons of nutella

For the snow meringue icing
170g icing sugar
2 tbsp water
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
white of 1 egg
pinch of salt
1 squirt of vanilla extract

For the sides/top
120g hazelnuts, chopped
60g pistachios, smashed with a rolling pin (optional)


Pre-heat the oven to 160c and grease 3 18cm loose bottomed sandwich tins. Line the bottoms with baking parchment and grease again.

Toast the hazelnuts for 10 minutes on a baking tray. Set a timer, because you’ll probably forget they’re in there.

NBBO - GF Red Velvet Beetroot Cake

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar together for 4 minutes until fluffy. Next beat in the grated beetroot, as well as the vanilla.

NBBO - GF Red Velvet Beetroot Cake

Add the flour, ground almonds, baking powder, cocoa powder and salt, and whisk until well combined.

NBBO - GF Red Velvet Beetroot Cake

Finally add the buttermilk and red food colouring. Whisk well and make sure everything is well combined.

NBBO - GF Red Velvet Beetroot Cake

Divide the mixture ‘evenly’ between 3 cake tins and place them in the oven for 30 minutes. They probably wont all fit in the middle of the oven, so make sure you rotate their positions in the oven.

When the cakes are cooked, remove from the oven, unmould and cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.

NBBO - GF Red Velvet Beetroot Cake

Whilst the cakes are cooling make the snow meringue.

Place all of the ingredients in a big mixing bowl over a pan of boiling water.

NBBO - GF Red Velvet Beetroot Cake

stir with a clean metal spoon rubber spatula (if you are worried about scratching your bowl) for exactly 2 minutes to dissolve the sugar.

When the mixture is warm and the 2 minutes are up, remove the bowl from the heat and whisk for 9 minutes until cool. You really won’t want to do this by hand! It should be fairly rigid in stiff glossy peaks. If you beat the icing for longer, it will just get harder and harder and no-one wants to break a tooth!

When the cakes are cold, spread 3 tbsp of Nutella between the first and second tiers.

NBBO - GF Red Velvet Beetroot Cake

Then put another 3 tbsp between the second and third tiers.

NBBO - GF Red Velvet Beetroot Cake

Cover the whole cake with snow meringue icing, and pat the hazelnuts onto the side of the cake. Be warned: THIS IS VERY MESSY!

NBBO - GF Red Velvet Beetroot Cake

If like me, you think the top of the cake seems a bit left out, dust it with smashed up pistachios. Wait a little while for the meringue to stiffen up a bit, then cut yourself a slice!

NBBO - GF Red Velvet Beetroot Cake

A really moist, lovely cake. I could really use some help on the presentation front and I may have gone a bit OTT with the Nutella as that’s the main flavour you get, but I think it’s amazing for a gluten-free cake!


NBBO - GF Red Velvet Beetroot Cake

1 Comment

  1. Celia Bartlett
    April 29, 2013

    Amazing gluten free cake? Absolutely!
    For someone who normally declines beetroot I couldn’t believe how tasty this cake was and to discover this was gluten-free too, well!

    I really think catering establishments should make a note of this cake and have it on offer as it is so impressive and makes us GF folk just a wee bit excited that were aren’t going to be offered fruit salad yet again 🙂

    As for himself- a big thumbs up. It took him a while to work out the ingredients but was seriously impressed. The pistacios were a stroke of genius they just set it off beautifully.

    Thanks so much for sharing it. I give it a big 10/10 for yummyness


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