Mrs Simkins’ Red Velvet Brownies

Posted: January 22, 2015

Gorgeous at any time of year with a cup of your favourite Clipper brew, you could bake a batch of these tempting romantically-themed brownies for Valentine’s Day.
The magic ingredient (apart from the combination of cocoa and dark chocolate pieces, obviously) is beetroot: its naturally sweet and earthy taste enhances the chocolate beautifully, yet without any hint at all of actual beetroot.

Elaborate red velvet cakes have become increasingly popular in recent decades as a ‘groom’s cake’ at American weddings to complement the traditional bridal cake. Incidentally, beetroot helps keep your heart healthy: making these brownies even more perfect for Valentine’s Day! The American-style chocolate fudge frosting sets them off a treat.

A food processor makes mixing quick and easy. As with any brownies, don’t over-bake so they stay deliciously moist and squidgy.

Prepare the beetroot first; you will need around 225g fresh, unpeeled raw beetroot for the required prepared weight. Choose globes of similar size so they cook evenly.
Clean off any mud and trim away leaves and roots. Try not to trim too closely as the beetroot will ‘bleed’. Roast in an ovenproof dish, at 180C (fan oven or equivalent) covered with foil, for 1-1½ hours until tender when pierced with the point of a sharp knife. Peel whilst still as hot as you can handle: to avoid burnt and beetroot stained fingers, you can hold the beets in place with a dinner fork whilst you peel with a sharp kitchen knife. Chop roughly into chunks.

Cuts easily into 16 squares


  • 175g beetroot, see above
  • 175g soft dark brown sugar
  • 110g salted butter, softened
  • 150g plain flour
  • 25g cocoa powder
  • 1 level teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 level teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 3 medium eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 75g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids) chopped into roughly ½ cm pieces


  1. Preheat oven to 160C (fan oven) or equivalent
  2. You will need a greased 20cm square brownie tin lined with a piece of greaseproof paper cut to fit the bottom (draw round the bottom of the tin and cut inside the pencil marks)
  3. Tip the sugar into the food processor bowl; add the beetroot and whiz together until smooth.
  4. Add the butter to the beetroot mix and whiz to combine.
  5. Add the raising agents to the weighed flour and cocoa.
  6. Sieve half the flour mix over the top and add the eggs and vanilla.
  7. Sieve in the remaining flour mix and whiz again.
    (You may have to stop the machine a couple of times and scrape the mixture down from the sides with a flexible spatula.)
  8. Once fully mixed, add the chopped chocolate and give a quick turn of the blade to combine.
  9. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin, easing it into the corners and smoothing the top with a metal spoon (it’s easier if the spoon is wet).
  10. Bake for 20-25 minutes until a skewer inserted still shows faint traces of mixture.
  11. Cool in the tin.

American-Style Chocolate Fudge Frosting

If you’ve not made it before, American style ‘boiled’ chocolate fudge frosting is well worth adding to your culinary repertoire. This simplified version is perfect for brownies.

If you ever need to double up on quantities, boil for 1 minute.


  • 110g granulated sugar
  • 40g salted butter
  • 40ml semi-skimmed milk
  • 90g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)


  1. Combine the sugar, butter, and milk in a small heavy bottomed saucepan.
  2. Bring to the boil stirring constantly. Boil for 30 seconds, still stirring.
  3. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate. Stir until melted.
  4. As soon as the chocolate has melted, pour the frosting over the brownies immediately and, working as quickly as possible, smooth in place and into the corners with a flexible spatula.
  5. Once in place, do not disturb the frosting any further at all until it has set. Once the frosting has set, mark carefully into squares.
  6. Store in an airtight tin.

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