Yes, you read the title correctly. This decadent, fudgy chocolate cake is made from vegetables!
And you don’t have to tell anyone—especially not the kids.
Sneaking vegetables into dinner meals is not a new trick. Parents have been doing that for ages. Finding ways to sneak healthy veggies into desserts, however, is a whole other thing. It’s easy enough to hide a handful of greens in a delicious smoothie, but did you ever think you’d be able to hide full servings of vegetables in a chocolate cake?
Unlike other veg-based desserts like black bean brownies, the texture of this cake is no different than your child’s favorite mix. The cake itself is fluffy and moist, thanks to the addition of black beans and roasted beets, and the tofu frosting is rich and creamy. Using agave nectar keeps this cake low on the glycemic index, but you can use any sweetener your family likes.
This cake recipe is accidentally vegan, not relying on any dairy or eggs for its amazing texture. You can also make this recipe gluten-free by substituting your favorite all-purpose gluten-free flour blend.
This yummy, healthy cake is a perfect treat for any special occasion. It requires some advance preparation, but it's all worth it in the end. If you like dramatic cakes, double the recipe to make two cake rounds and layer them!
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
- 1 10-oz package vegan chocolate chips
- 1 12.3-oz package extra-firm silken tofu
- 3 Tbsp agave nectar (or other liquid sweetener)
Preheat oven to 400F. Clean and trim beets and wrap in aluminum foil. Roast for 45-60 minutes until very tender.
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.
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.
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.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, agave, applesauce, vanilla, and vinegar. Stir until mostly combined.
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.
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.
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!)
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.