Beetroot Chocolate Cupcakes with Golden Syrup Buttercream (gluten free)

I fed Chris one of these cupcakes, well a bite (I’m still learning how to share), while he was still half asleep because I needed someone else to confirm the amazing combination of flavours. He concurred and promptly went back to his nap. I returned to the kitchen and ate the rest of the cupcake while watching the rainy night over the bay. I fell in love at first bite with these chocolate cupcakes, which are rendered unbelievably moist by the addition of a secret ingredient – beetroot! Yep, roasted, pulverised beetroot turns these easy chocolate cupcakes into fudgy decadent little cakes. I ate one straight out of the oven because I couldn’t resist an early taste test. Oh my.

Beetroot Chocolate Cupcakes with Golden Syrup Buttercream | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

I love beetroots, and Nigel Slater’s Beetroot Chocolate Cake is one of my favourite ways to incorporate the ruby root vegetable into a sweet dish rather than gobbling them down roasted and topped with hummus or in this dish for a quick couch-and-bowl dinner. Adding beetroot to a chocolate dish is the secret weapon to a moist and tender crumb, and the other secret that you must know is this: always add a little coffee to a chocolate creation. You will boost the chocolate flavour with the bitterness of the coffee, but in small amounts you can’t taste the coffee itself. Look at that: two secrets in one post!

Beetroot Chocolate Cupcakes with Golden Syrup Buttercream | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Even if you didn’t have the time to make the frosting, these Beetroot Chocolate Cupcakes would make a delicious simple treat. But, you do need to make the Golden Syrup Buttercream frosting at some point because the deep roasted sugar flavour of golden syrup buttercream pushes these cupcakes over the top from tea time treat to total dessert status. I couldn’t help but lick the frosting bowl after I was done – I think my favourite chocolate buttercream might have some stiff competition here! I know some US readers might have trouble finding golden syrup in stores, but I believe you can get it from Amazon and perhaps some specialty stores. Believe me, this buttercream is worth the trouble.

Beetroot Chocolate Cupcakes with Golden Syrup Buttercream | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

A few other secrets lurk in these cupcakes. I used a greater amount of brown sugar than white to increase the mud cake like texture of the cupcakes and oil rather than butter because it bumps up the moisture too. These are definitely not diet food, but they are good for the soul on a rainy night food.

Beetroot Chocolate Cupcakes with Golden Syrup Buttercream | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life


Beetroot Chocolate Cupcakes with Golden Syrup Buttercream

Gluten Free | Makes 16-18 cupcakes | Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days

Note: it is best if you cook the beetroot the day before. To roast beetroot: scrub well and wrap in aluminium foil. Place in oven heated to 180C (350F) and bake for 60-75 minutes or until the middle of the beetroot can be pierced easily with a knife. Allow to cool completely before using.


  • 1 medium beetroot, scrubbed (about 150g), roasted (see note)
  • 100 grams bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon instant coffee granules
  • 80 grams (2/3 cup) buckwheat flour
  • 80 grams (1/2 cup) brown rice flour
  • 80 grams (3/4 cup + 1 tbs) almond meal
  • 40 grams (1/3 cup) cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoon gluten free baking powder
  • 2 large eggs
  • 50 grams (1/4 cup) caster sugar
  • 100 grams (1/2 cup) brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil

For the Golden Syrup Frosting

  • 125 grams (1/2 cup) butter, softened
  • 375-500 grams (3-4 cups) icing sugar (ensure this is gluten free)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons golden syrup


  1. Preheat oven to 180C (350F) and place cupcake papers in 18 holes of two 12-hole 1/3 cup capacity cupcake tins.
  2. Peel beetroot and shop into large pieces. Puree in a blender or food processor until you have a smooth paste. Set aside until needed.
  3. Place chocolate into a small microwave-safe bowl and microwave in 20 second bursts until melted. Stir between each burst. Once melted, dissolve instant coffee in chocolate and set aside to cool.
  4. In a large bowl whisk together buckwheat flour, brown rice flour, almond meal, cocoa powder, salt, baking soda, and baking powder.
  5. In a medium bowl whisk together eggs, caster sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, milk, and vegetable oil until smooth. Slowly whisk in pureed beetroot and melted chocolate until smooth and fully incorporated.
  6. Switch to a wooden spoon and pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Mix until just combined.
  7. Spoon into prepared cases, filling them 2/3 of the way.
  8. Place trays in oven and bake for 20-22 minutes or until the tops of the cupcakes bounce back when lightly touched.
  9. Allow to cool completely before frosting.
  10. To make the frosting: place butter in a large bowl and using a handmixer beat until pale and fluffy. Add remaining ingredients and beat until frosting is fluffy and aerated, about 3-4 minutes. Spoon frosting into a piping bag fitted with your choice of tip and decorate cooled cupcakes as desired. You could also use a knife to frost cupcakes rather than a piping bag.

Beetroot Chocolate Cupcakes with Golden Syrup Buttercream | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

15 thoughts on “Beetroot Chocolate Cupcakes with Golden Syrup Buttercream (gluten free)

  1. Amy, the color of these cupcakes is gorgeous. I love the red tint they have! I recently started putting coffee in the chocolate cake I’ve been making for years and years and didn’t think could get any better… But boy was I wrong. That coffee really does make the slightest difference but puts the flavor over the top. I’m very intrigued by this golden syrup business… It sounds lovely!

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  3. I think beetroot is a perfect addition to chocolate, and how lovely do these look (you do the best icing Amy).

    Ditto on the coffee too! It just works somehow.

    Hope you’re having a good week 🙂

    • Thanks Jen, I thought the windowsill might be a little too much, but I kinda love it. Use what you’ve got, right?
      Let me know what you think of the flavour xx

  4. Oh my, these cupcakes look fabulous, I have heard of chocolaty desserts made with beetroot, but have not tried it for myself, definitely on my list of things to try, thanks for sharing, pinned!

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