dessert, healthy, veggies, vegetables, chocolate, cake, vegan, vegetarian, baking

Gather your ingredients.

Healthy Chocolate Cake
Yield: 1 9-inch round cake

  • 2-3 small beets
  • ½ cup cooked black beans, rinsed and drained
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour (use gluten-free flour if desired)
  • ? cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ? cup agave nectar (or other liquid sweetener)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ? cup applesauce
  • 1 tsp apple cider or white distilled vinegar

Chocolate Frosting

  • 1 10-oz package vegan chocolate chips
  • 1 12.3-oz package extra-firm silken tofu
  • 3 Tbsp agave nectar (or other liquid sweetener)

dessert, healthy, veggies, vegetables, chocolate, cake, vegan, vegetarian, baking

Roast Beets.

Preheat oven to 400F. Clean and trim beets and wrap in aluminum foil. Roast for 45-60 minutes until very tender.

dessert, healthy, veggies, vegetables, chocolate, cake, vegan, vegetarian, baking

Healthy Frosting.

While beets are roasting, make the frosting. Melt the chocolate chips in a microwave or double boiler, stirring occasionally until smooth and silky. Combine tofu, agave, and melted chocolate in a food processor and puree until all of the tofu is incorporated. You may have to stop and scrape down the sides a few times. Once smooth, transfer the frosting to a glass bowl and park in the refrigerator to thicken.

dessert, healthy, veggies, vegetables, chocolate, cake, vegan, vegetarian, baking

Veggie Puree.

Once the beets are soft, set aside until cool to the touch, and push off the skins gently with your thumbs.

In a food processor, combine roasted beets, black beans, and water. Puree until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl periodically.

dessert, healthy, veggies, vegetables, chocolate, cake, vegan, vegetarian, baking

Prep the pan.

Lower oven temp to 350F. Oil and flour a 9-inch round cake pan. Take out extra insurance against sticking and cut a round of parchment paper to place in the bottom of the pan, then spray with oil and sprinkle flour over the top.

dessert, healthy, veggies, vegetables, chocolate, cake, vegan, vegetarian, baking

Batter time.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, agave, applesauce, vanilla, and vinegar. Stir until mostly combined.

dessert, healthy, veggies, vegetables, chocolate, cake, vegan, vegetarian, baking

Add the veggies.

Pour in the veggie puree and stir until there are no more dry spots, scraping down the sides of the bowl. The result will be a bright reddish-brown batter that is the same consistency as other cake batters you might have worked with in the past.

dessert, healthy, veggies, vegetables, chocolate, cake, vegan, vegetarian, baking

Bake off.

Pour the batter into the cake pan, and level the top with a spatula. Bake 34-36 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Place on a cooking rack and cool in the pan for 2 hours or until cake is at room temperature.

dessert, healthy, veggies, vegetables, chocolate, cake, vegan, vegetarian, baking

Frosting on the cake.

Carefully remove cake from pan and transfer to a plate or cake stand. Use an offset spatula to apply a thin layer of frosting over the entire cake, then add a second, thicker layer. You’ll use about half the batch of frosting for this cake, so you’ll need to find another excuse to use the rest! (Hint: add a little additional sweetener to the remaining frosting and allow it to warm to room temperature, and you can call it pudding!)

dessert, healthy, veggies, vegetables, chocolate, cake, vegan, vegetarian, baking

Slice and serve.

After frosting the cake, you can serve immediately if you like. Alternatively, chill the cake for at least an hour before slicing and serving. This helps get nice, clean slices that really show off the cake’s crumb. Your kids probably won’t care about that part, but if you’re serving it to discerning adults, it’s an impressive sight!

Images via Cat DiStasio for Inhabitots.