Does anyone really need an excuse to bake a chocolate cake? I know I don’t. But it happened that I had a couple of ingredients at home that I was looking to use up. I was excited to discover a great recipe I could adapt to fit the bill.
I have an abundance of fresh mint from my herb garden. Drinking Mojitos with every meal seemed a little impractical, so I did the next best thing and combined my mint with chocolate. While scouring the internet for a basic chocolate cake recipe. I was so excited to find this great recipe from FatFree Vegan Kitchen that included an unusual ingredient: beets!
Beets are admittedly not high on my list of favorite vegetables. But a co-worker brought me some from his CSA and assumed the office vegan would know what to do with them. They’ve actually been sitting in my crisper for weeks, so I was quite happy I got to use them before they went bad. Here’s the (only slightly modified) recipe for this delicious cake, published with permission.
1 large beet (I used 2 smallish ones)
5 mint leaves
unsweetened apple sauce
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup unbleached white flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1 cup sugar
1 tbsp. cornstarch
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
Peel and dice your beet(s). Place the pieces in a saucepan with water to cover and boil until soft. Allow the beets to cool, and then drain them, reserving the red water. Put the drained beets into the food processor with 1/4 cup (clear) water. Give your mint leaves a quick chop, and add them to the beets. Process until pureed.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Oil or spray your cooking pan (mine was 8″x12″). Put the pureed beets into a 2-cup measuring cup. Add enough apple sauce to reach the 2-cup line. Add the 2 tablespoons of the red water, along with the vanilla extract, and apple cider to the beets and mix well.
Mix the dry ingredients together, and then add the beet mixture and stir until well-combined. Bake for 35-60 minutes, depending on the size of pan you use. (For my 8″X12″ pan, it took about 40 minutes.) Test by inserting a toothpick into the center; it’s done when the toothpick comes out clean.
Allow to cool completely and remove from the pan and put onto a plate. While it cools you can whip up the chocolate mint frosting — my own creation, and unfortunately not fat free:
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1 cup confectioners sugar
1 and 1/2 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tbsps soy or rice milk
6-10 large mint leaves
Allow the shortening to soften a bit before adding the sugar, cocoa and milk. Mince the mint leaves as finely as possible. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mash until you have a smooth, creamy consistency. Feel free to vary the amount of sugar depending on how sweet you’d like it.
Once the cake has cooled, spread the frosting across the top, evenly, with a butter knife. An 8″x12″ cake can be cut into 8 pieces. Garnish with a sprig of mint.
And if that hasn’t satisfied your sweet tooth, you can also check out these recipes:
Jennie Love’s Apple Dumplings (which can easily be veganized)
Beth Bader’s Slow Cooker Oatmeal (also easily veganized)
Jennifer Lance’s Blueberry Oat Muffins (via Eco Child’s Play)