Shredded carrots and zucchini added moisture and flavor to cakes, so why not beets? This recipe combines all three with ground hazelnuts, plenty of vanilla, a touch of ground cardamom, and the irresistible flavor of browned butter in a cake with a complex, intriguing flavor and light texture.

  • Yields: 12
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Total: 1 1/2 hours, plus cooling time
  • Active: 35 minutes

Ingredients (18)

  • 10 tablespoons (5 ounces) unsalted butter, divided, plus more for pan
  • 2 cups (8.5 ounces) all-purpose flour or whole-wheat pastry flour, plus more for pan
  • 3/4 cup (2.3 ounces) very finely ground hazelnuts with skins
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla, divided
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup (about 4.5 ounces) coarsely grated beets
  • 1 cup (about 5 ounces) coarsely grated carrots
  • 1 cup (about 4 ounces) coarsely grated zucchini
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • Toasted, husked, chopped hazelnuts to garnish (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Butter and flour a 10- or 12-cup bundt pan.
  2. Melt 8 tablespoons of the butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, then let it cook until it’s golden brown, scraping up the solids so they don’t stick to the bottom or burn. Pour the browned butter in a heatproof mixing bowl and set aside. Whisk the flour, hazelnuts, baking powder and soda, salt, and cardamom in another bowl and set aside.
  3. When the browned butter has cooled for a few minutes, whisk in both sugars, then the eggs and 2 teaspoons of vanilla. Stir in half the dry ingredients, followed by the buttermilk, then the rest of the dry ingredients. Fold in the grated vegetables. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.
  4. Bake the cake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. Cool in pan on a rack for 15 minutes, then invert on a rack and cool completely.
  5. When the cake has cooled, make the glaze. Sift the powdered sugar into a bowl. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat and let it cook until golden brown. Whisk the butter, milk, remaining 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla, and a pinch of salt into the powdered sugar. Put the cake on a plate and spoon the glaze over the top. Sprinkle with hazelnuts if you like. Allow the glaze to set before serving.