Published on 17th July 2019


Afternoon Tea Week is just a few weeks away so it’s time to get practising with some delicious bakes to impress friends and family. We like this one from Lorna Rhodes – it’s gluten- and dairy-free and uses beetroot to give it a beautiful rich colour. Go easy though – it still contains sugar! 

Credit: Lorna Rhodes, nutritional therapist |

Prep Time: 20 mins

Cook Time: 40-45 mins

Serves: 8-12



  • 57 g sultanas
  • 2 tbsp dark rum
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 180 ml olive oil
  • 75 g xylitol (Total sweet)
  • 75 g coconut sugar
  • 100 g ground almonds
  • 115 g gluten-free flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate soda
  • 2 tsp mixed spice
  • 175 g finely grated beetroot (use a food processor)
  • 4 tbsp poppy seeds or chia seeds
  • 3 tbsp sunflower seeds
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • Grated zest and juice 1 orange



  1. Put the sultanas into a small pan, add the rum and gently simmer until the liquid has been absorbed. Pre-heat the oven to 180C/160Cfan/gas 4. Grease a 9”/23cm deep round cake time and line the base with baking parchment.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff, set aside. In another bowl beat the oil, sugars until combined, add the egg yolks and whisk again until creamy in appearance. Add the dry ingredients and, when well mixed, add the beetroot, seeds, sultanas and the orange zest and juice.
  3. Stir a large spoonful of the whisked egg whites into the mixture to loosen it, then add the rest and carefully fold together until mixed in.
  4. Transfer to the cake tin, level the top and bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes. Test with a thin skewer, which should come out clean when inserted into the middle of the cake.
  5. Leave to cool in the tin.  Turn out and dust with icing sugar if wished.

This cake keeps well for a few days in an airtight container.

ION tips:

  • If you don’t want to include alcohol, or don’t have any rum to hand, try using a mix of blackstrap molasses and water. 
  • You can also replace 25 g of the flour with cocoa.

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