Sunday, February 10, 2008

Veggie Love

While browsing through various blogs last week, I saw that SusanV is hosting another Vegetable Love competition in honour of Valentine’s Day. I’ve never entered a blog competition before; quite frankly, I’ve never felt creative enough. I nearly wrote off this one as well, as I read through the rules: entries must be healthy and low in fat, and must feature at least one vegetable. I thought that a large majority of the dinners we eat fit these criteria, and I just wasn’t inspired enough to come up with something competition-worthy.

But then I thought, why limit myself to dinner? We add fruit to savoury dishes—could I put veggies into a sweet? I thought through my options, and figured I’d be best with either carrot, pumpkin, or beetroot, or a combination. I narrowed it down to beetroot, because the colour seemed appropriate for Valentine’s Day. I googled some recipes, I thought about my substitutions. I chose four options and then let Andy decide which one I would ultimately make.

His choice: beetroot chocolate cake. I saw a few recipes for this, and I compiled them and veganised and fat-freeised and uniquised, and I think the recipe is pretty good—and definitely different enough to call my very own. A combination of beetroot, orange, cinnamon, and cocoa provides the flavour base for this cake. I expected a texture similar to carrot cake, but was pleasantly surprised to find that my recipe yielded a dense, rich torte.

I know, beetroot in cake sounds pretty weird. But, somehow, the healthy ingredients all combine to form a sinful-tasting treat. This is something to share with the one(s) you love without feeling bad about making them fat and unhealthy. Andy recommends serving it with some sort of cream or sauce or ice cream, because it’s so dense.

Here’s the recipe:

“I love veggies so much, I’m having them for dessert” Torte

What you need:


1 c. wholemeal flour
1 c. white flour
¾ c. cocoa powder
1 ½ T. baking powder
1 T. cinnamon
¾ c. raw sugar
2 T. orange zest
200 g. beetroot, peeled and grated (try to pick the smallest beets you can find as they are the sweetest)
2/3 c. apple sauce
¾ c. freshly squeezed orange juice
250 g. silken tofu (I used almond flavoured, which really just tastes slightly sweet. If you use plain, you might need to up the sugar.)


½ c. orange juice
¼ c. icing sugar
1 T. cinnamon

What you do:

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Spray your pan with cooking spray. I used an 8 inch springform, and then got 4 cupcakes as well. Or you could make just one in a slightly larger pan—say 9 or 10 inches. In a large bowl, sift together the flours, cocoa, baking powder, and cinnamon. Stir in sugar, beetroot and orange zest. In a separate bowl or a food processor, combine apple sauce, orange juice, and silken tofu. Blend (I used my handy stick blender) until smooth. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry, and pour the batter into the prepared pans. Bake for 1 hour and test with a skewer—if cake is still gooey inside, cook for up to 90 minutes total. We left ours a bit gooey, because Andy hates dry cake. While the cake is baking, whisk together the ingredients for the glaze. When the cake is removed from the oven, pour on the glaze and let cool for an hour before removing from the springform pan. Store in the refrigerator.

I didn’t want to leave Nacho out of the veggie-lovin’ fun, so I made her up some special cat treats. They combine her three most favourite foods—oats, pumpkin, and oil—with a bit of soy milk, wholemeal flour, and ground LSA for nutrition.

Pumpkin Oat Kitty Bickies

What you need:

1 ½ c. oats
½ c. whole meal flour
¼ c. vegetable oil
½ c. lowfat soymilk
1 T. ground LSA (that’s linseed/flax, sunflower, and almond)
2 T. mashed cooked pumpkin
Optional ingredients: nutritional yeast, catnip, veggie stock

What you do:

Combine all the ingredients. Form into kitty-sized biscuits and place on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake at 180/350 for 30 minutes. Store in an airtight container in a cupboard or the freezer.

My first blog competition proved inspiring; I think I just may have to do this again. And I think I’ll play around more with beetroot for dessert…


the pleasantly plump vegan said...

well done! and good for you for including Nacho!!! i've tried cooking for our dog Sweetpea but she didn't dig it.

Anonymous said...

this is so great!! the cake looks so good.

i think Nacho is a very happy cat with those yummy bites.

Liz² said...

that cake looks amazing! I'm really intrigued by the "torteness", and any cake that's better with ice cream than frosting is my kinda dessert. good luck with the competition!

the little one said...

Wow. That's some real creativity! I predict you'll kick some vegan ass. Best of luck!

Amy said...

Very creative--and yummy! Do you know red velvet cake? I wonder if that would be a good recipe to add beets to.

Theresa said...

Amy, I think probably cooked and mashed beets would make for the red-ness of a red velvet cake. Much better for you than all kinds of nasty food dye, and much cheaper than organic food dye!

SusanV said...

Now here's a dessert that I could really love! Thanks so much for entering the contest. You should enter them more often!

ChocolateCoveredVegan said...

I love the name! As a veggie-lover AND a dessert lover, this sounds like a great recipe to me!

Ashasarala said...

That sounds awesome. I love when ya can sneak a little veggie into something sweet and decadent. You're very creative!

I will eventually join in on the contests. Even though I never win anything! ::pout:: Oh, well. As they say, 'tis not about the winning, 'tis about the experience.

Ricki said...

I've made chocolate beet cake with great success, and this sounds like a step up from there! I love the combination of orange and cinnamon with the chocolate. Great entry!

Vegan_Noodle said...

Beets in a dessert? How cool is that! Now that's a way to trick your friends into eating their veggies. Good luck in the contest... and glad I discovered your blog!

jacquelina said...

Looks and sounds delicious! I wish I had checked sooner! I would have voted for you for Vegan Love! :)

M. said...

When I was a kid, I made beet cake with my grandma. It was great. My boyfriend's mother has also made quite tasty cake with zucchini(!).