Beet and Poppy Seed Cake

A wholesome, not too sweet cake made with whole wheat flour, beets, and olive oil instead of butter. I think the combination of whole wheat and white flour is just the right balance. If want a lighter cake, substitute white flour for the whole wheat.

For the Cake:
butter, for greasing
168 g/ 6 oz eggs (3-4 depending on size)
200 g/ 7 oz light brown sugar
325 g/ 11 ½ oz olive oil
½ tsp vanilla extract
150 g/ 5 ⅓ oz whole wheat flour
60 g/ 2 oz all purpose white flour
pinch of salt
¾ tsp baking powder
¾ tsp baking soda
zest of one orange
2 Tbsp chopped toasted walnuts
2 Tbsp poppy seeds
227 g/ 8 oz grated raw beets

For the Candied Beets:
170 g/ 6 oz granulated sugar
2 small/ 1 large beet, sliced into 1/16″ rounds

For the Icing:
½ xl egg white
150 g/ 5 ⅓ oz confectioner’s sugar
squeeze of lemon juice


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Apricot Crumb Cake

This Apricot Crumb Cake is a low fat and low sugar cake. It can be made with blueberries, peaches, or other fruit of your choice. Just be sure to not use anything too wet. Taste the apricots first; if they are tart you might want to toss them in some sugar.

For One 9″ Round Pan

68 g/ 4 ½ Tbsp Butter
120g/ ½ cup Light Brown Sugar
3 g/ ¾ tsp Vanilla Extract
2 g/ 1 tsp Lemon Zest
128 g/ 1 cup Flour
2 g/ ½ tsp Baking Powder
96 g/ ⅜ cup Buttermilk
80 g/ 1 ½ Eggs
240 g/ 2 ¼ cup Apricots, thinly sliced

Crumb Topping:
45 g/ 3 Tbsp Butter
54 g/ ¼ cup Light Brown Sugar
77 g/ ½ cup Flour
1 g/ ⅓ tsp Cinnamon
1 g/ ⅓ tsp Baking Powder

Preheat oven to 175C/ 350F. Set rack in middle of oven.

Line pan with parchment paper and butter.

For the cake:
Cream butter and sugar by blending in a standing mixer with a paddle attachment at medium speed, or by hand initially blending with a fork then using a spatula, until lightened, about 2 minutes.
Add vanilla and zest, then beat in eggs until smooth.
In a separate bowl whisk together flour and baking powder. Add half the flour to the batter and mix at low speed. Mix in buttermilk. Then repeat with remaining flour.
Pour into pan, smoothing top as much as possible.
Gently press in apricots, distributing evenly.

For the crumb:
Stir butter and sugar together. Add flour, cinnamon, and baking powder. Mix. Using you fingers break into small crumbs.

Bake for 55 minutes, or you can poke the center with a toothpick and it comes out clean.

Cool cake on a cooling rack for 5 minutes. Invert onto a large plate. Remove pan. Then invert back onto cooling rack. Cool completely before slicing.

Apple and Zucchini Cake

One thing we haven’t seen much of in Portugal is teacakes. There are amazing pastries with lots of custard, but we sometimes want something less sweet. Based on a recipe from Nigel Slater’s Ripe (with a few modifications), this is technically a cake, not a teacake, since it uses baking powder, not yeast, but it accomplishes the same afternoon pick me up. It is great with tea or coffee. This cake is super moist; squeezing out the juice from the apples and zucchini is important. I was lucky enough to get moscatel (muscat) raisins to use, which are large, plump, and have a full fruity flavor. The cinnamon and lemon zest give it a lift, and the walnuts a pleasing crunch.

200 g/ 1 cup minus 2 tablespoons butter, softened
200 g/ 1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 small zucchini, peeled
2 small apples, peeled and cored
200 g/ 1 ½ cups flour
Pinch of salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
sprinkle of cinnamon
60 g/ ½ cup walnuts, chopped
80 g/ ½ cup raisins
Zest of half a lemon

Preheat oven 180C/ 350F. Butter and line a 20cm by 12cm (8 inch by 5 inch) loaf pan with parchment paper down the horizontal length, going over the sides to easily remove the cake.

Image of Butter and Sugar Creamed by Hand
Butter and Sugar Creamed by Hand

Cream butter and sugar until lightened and doubled in size. This can be done with a standing mixer. If you do not have one, mix the butter and sugar with a fork in a medium bowl. Then use a wooden spoon to push mixture against the sides of the bowl, rotate, and repeat.

Lightly beat eggs. Add half to the creamed butter, stir, and then stir in the remainder.

Image of Grated Apples and Zucchini Added
Grated Apples and Zucchini Added


Grate zucchini and apples. With your hands squeeze as much liquid out as possible. Add to butter mixture.



In a separate bowl, mix together flour, salt, baking powder, and cinnamon. Add to butter mixture in thirds, folding carefully after each addition. There should still be a few streaks of flour when you have finished.

Image of Everything Mixed In
Everything Mixed In


Add walnuts, raisins, and lemon zest all at once, and stir lightly.




Pour into loaf pan, leveling surface as much as possible.

Bake for an hour until firm to the touch.

Allow to cool for half an hour in the pan before removing.

Beet and Ginger Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

I crimped this recipe for Beet and Ginger Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting from David Lebovitz á la Yotam Ottolenghi. How could I resist with both their endorsements?

The cake came together really easily. The hardest part is grating the beets. Keep in mind when purchasing beets you need nine ounces of grated beet so you will need buy extra.

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