Good morning dear friends!
We are still in Belgrade, enjoying the beautiful Spring days with our family and taking daily strolls with Luka and Zoe around the city.
Everything has been very quiet around here these past days because of the extended holiday of Labor Day and the Orthodox Easter, so the city, which is normally booming with energy, has had a lovely calm, leisure-like feeling, pretty much like the one you get on a vacation resort by sea. Really, really nice and relaxing 🙂
Today’s post, however, is not about Belgrade. It is a recipe I came up with in my quest to get my children to eat vegetables! I had seen online and read about different cakes and brownies made with veggies inside, but all the recipes I could find used dairy which, as you know, is an ingredient that Luka and I shouldn’t eat. So I decided to experiment a bit, and, after a few trials, I came up with this recipe. To make it even yummier, I also made a frosting that, instead of butter and tons of sugar, uses avocado and honey. And the best part? It tastes delicious!
I like to make this cake in a sheet cake or brownie pan because it’s ideal for cutting into small bites. One word of caution, though: The addition of the veggies makes this cake EXTREMELY moist, so make sure that it’s cold when you cut it. It is actually a good idea to put it in the fridge for 20 minutes before doing so, and to use a sharp knife dipped in hot water to do so.
And don’t worry: this cake does not taste like salad! If you let it cool down appropriately, you won’t be able to tell there are veggies inside. I advise you, though, to make it with your children because I think it is a good idea for them to get used to the idea that vegetables can be part of the food they like. The more they get used to you making vegetables a part of their diet, the more normal they will seem to them and, hopefully, they will be willing to try them in other ways as well.
Here is the recipe:
Chocolate sheet cake and frosting, with hidden veggies (dairy free, egg free)
Ingredients: 100 grs dark chocolate (70%), 1 cup vegetable milk, 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar, 1/3 cup oil, 1 cup sugar, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, 1 cup beet puree, 1/2 cup carrot puree, 1/4 cup spinach puree, 1 1/2 cups flour, 1/2 cup cocoa, 3/4 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt. For the frosting: 1 avocado, 1/2 cup honey (or agave), 2 tablespoons cocoa
1) Put the chocolate in a bowl, then place the bowl over a pot of boiling water and let it melt. Once it has melted, set aside and let it cool.
2) Put the milk in a bowl and add the vinegar. Wait a few minutes, until it curdles.
3) Add oil, sugar and vanilla and beat until incorporated.
4) Sift flour, cocoa, salt, baking powder and baking soda.
5) Add 1/2 the flour mixture to the liquid ingredients and mix well.
6) Add the vegetables to the batter. Mix well.
7) Add the rest of the flour. Mix well to incorporate fully.
8) Add the melted chocolate and mix very well for a few minutes.
9) Grease a pan and dust it with cocoa. Pour the batter in it, tap it against the counter to divide it evenly and remove any air bubbles, and place it in the oven, pre heat at 175 degrees celsius, for about 1 hour, or until a knife stuck in the middle comes out clean.
10)Once fully cooked, remove the cake from the oven and let it cool.
11) Make the frosting: Peel the avocado, remove the flesh and mash it with a fork. Add honey and cocoa and beat until light and fluffy. You may use an electric mixer if you have one.
12) Once the cake has cooled down, add the frosting on top. Place it in the refrigerator for 20 minutes, cut into small square bites and enjoy!
Do you hide vegetables in desserts? Which is your favorite recipe? Please share in the comments!
Looks amazing. Would never guess there are veggies in there!! do we just blend the raw veg to purée?
HI! No, I cooked the veggies first (steamed), then processed/blend them. I hope you like it!
Wow, I can’t believe something like this was possible! I guess there is nothing a mother can’t imagine for their little ones : )
Did you try the recipe and, if so, did you like it???
Hi, I just tried this recipe and I think that 175 degrees must be the Celsius Temp because my cake isn’t cooking 🙂 I will now try 350. Wish me luck!
Yes, it is celsius, so sorry I didn’t make that clear! I will add it now:)
So I made this and I really liked it. I need to add a little less spinach the next time around. I loved it after I had let it cool down with frosting and all in the frig. My 6 yr old gobble up the bit sized pieces of brownie/cake. Thanks for the recipe!
So happy to hear that! 😀
What is vegetable milk?
Vegetable milk is milk that doesn’t have animal origin. The most common ones are the ones made of soy, rice, nuts (almonds, hazelnuts), or coconut, or a combination of them.
I will try to make this very soon! I do have a chocolate frosting made from dates, cocoa, and almond milk that my kids adore. What kind of sugar and oil did you use in the cake batter?
I am so eager to make this first to test it on my niece! What a wonderful concept! Good for you!
If I may I be so bold ~Agave ‘nectar’, ‘syrup’, etc’ isn’t really what we think it is. It is an end by product that is a left ove once the Blue agave has been processed for the tequila. It is nutritionally equal to high fructose corn syrup. I will add just one of many articles, and am doing so because you have taken the time to create smart recipes for your family then share them with us. If I can help a little, I need to.
Hi! Thank you for commenting! 🙂
You are totally right about agave, and thank you for the link! I tend to use honey instead of agave for that same reason, but made the clarification for those who are strictly vegan. Do you have experience baking with alternative sugars such as yacon or stevia? I want to start experimenting with them…
Hi! I used sunflower oil and regular grabulated sugar because that’s what I had on hand. If you have coconut oil, it’s healthier and it tastes delicious, and you could also try using demerara sugar (I have used in the past and it tastes nice).
Oh shoot! I was planning on making this today and did not see the avocado. Something I could substitute perhaps? I don’t mind using an egg – just no dairy.
Oh- and this may sound silly- but, before I purée the veggies, do I steam or cook them in someway?
NM – I read thru the posts and I’ve got it. I am cooking veggies now. Will use dairy free butter instead of avacado. I’ll let u know!
Oh so happy that you found the answer! I’m sorry I couldn’t reply before!
Please let me know if you liked them!
Super yummy! We use our own frosting made of dates, cocoa, and almond milk but the cake- amazing! This will be my go to cake from now on! Both kids, even the picky one, loved it. My husband enjoyed it and couldn’t believe there was veggies in there! We made them into cupcakes for my sons 4th birthday party tomorrow. I’m excited to hear the reactions. Thank you so much for the recipe! Just FYI, we used coconut palm sugar, coconut oil, and 3/4 cup buckwheat flour and 3/4 cup brown rice flour. Also sweetened vanilla almond milk. Thanks again!
Sooooo happy that you liked it!
Thank you so much for sharing the variations you made, I will try it next time with that flour combination! And May I ask how do you make the frosting? It sounds delicious!
So happy that the cake turned out to be so successful!:D
We are on the same path: no dairy, no processed foods (as much as possible), and beginning to avoid gluten whenever we can. I’ll give your glaze a try, it looks super yummy, thanks for sharing! 🙂