A Chocolate Cake with Fruits & Veggies

“Eat your vegetables or you'll get no dessert!” is a battle cry sounded at dinner tables all across the country. I say it's time we end this antiquated culinary quid pro quo, which perpetuates the notion that vegetables are something yucky we must endure in order to get to the good stuff.

And while we're at it, let's stop using chocolate chips and potato chips as bargaining chips. Take a tip from Cookie”, the glossy new magazine for cutting edge parents and kids; the cover of the current issue bears the headline “Cut the Crap: Why bargaining with junk food is a bad idea.”

Cookie consulted a pediatrician and a child psychologist who explain why using sweets to bribe or reward kids is such a bad idea. The article recommends, instead, that we give kids “limited but reasonable access to sweets and junk and they'll learn to make good choices.”

In the interests of serving both the greater good and a tasty, healthy dessert, I have created a delicious dark chocolate cake with whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Seriously. I call it my “ABC Chocolate Cake:” “A” for applesauce, “B” for beets, and “C” for carrots.

I made this cake using no sugar at all, thanks to a strange new sugar substitute called sweet Peruvian mesquite flour, but those of you who don't happen to have any sweet Peruvian mesquite flour on hand (i.e. everyone but me) can use sugar instead. There's no butter or oil, either, but the end result is a rich, moist cake that's all good.

Kat's ABC Chocolate Cake:

1 cup barley flour (or whole wheat pastry flour)

1/4 cup soy flour

1/2 cup sweet Peruvian mesquite flour (or granulated brown sugar)

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (Valrhona, ideally)

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 large beet, peeled and grated

2 medium carrots, grated

1 egg white

1 egg

1/2 cup low fat or fat free buttermilk

1/4 cup honey (or maple syrup, or agave)

4 ounces applesauce

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon almond extract

2 tablespoons brewed coffee

1 ounce bittersweet chocolate, melted

1/4 cup bittersweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup fruit sweetened (i.e. no sugar) raspberry preserves

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and grease a 9” cake pan (unless, like me, you're using silicone).

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flours (and sugar, if you're using it), cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In a medium bowl, mix the grated beets and carrots with the egg white and egg, buttermilk, honey, applesauce, vanilla, almond extract, coffee, and melted chocolate (an electric mixer will make this easier.)

Add the wet ingredients to the dry, mixing till just blended. Fold in chocolate chips gently.

Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the cake center comes out clean. Cool, and spread raspberry preserves on top.


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