Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Hidden Veggie Cakes

The older my kids get, the more I think about exactly what I am teaching them to feed their own family some day. Slipping dark vegetables into everything I can, whether hidden or not, is becoming a habit of mine, so this Daring Baker's challenge was definitely a fun one! I'm familiar with using beets in baking, as well as carrots, zucchini, parsnips and potatoes. I also use squash and pumpkin in baking and cooking quite often. While I stick spinach into everything possible these days, it's never made an appearance in baking before this month. For this challenge, I made a puree of carrots, beets, tomatoes and spinach and baked 2 cakes with it.

Ruth from Makey-Cakey was our March 2013 Daring Bakers’ challenge host. She encouraged us all to get experimental in the kitchen and sneak some hidden veggies into our baking, with surprising and delicious results!

The first cake I made was a citrus glazed hidden veggie bundt cake.  I could taste a hint of beets with a slight tangy aftertaste of tomato in here so I wasn't sure how my daughters would react.  To my surprise, they went totally bonkers over it!  My favorite thing about this cake is its on the outside and brilliant orange on the inside.  I can imagine this would make a super awesome looking muffin!  Maybe paired with a cream cheese frosting?

Next I made this sweetened vegetable supper cake, based on a cake I make regularly using ground almonds and applesauce.  I swapped the veggie puree for the applesauce, and it was great!


This cake is made with wheat flour, almonds, veggies, and it's lightly sweetened with honey.  There is no granulated sugar and no butter or oil in this cake.  And it's completely delicious!  My favorite of the 2 cakes I made for this challenge, for sure.

Citrus Glazed Hidden Veggie Cake
This cake does taste mildly of beets with a hint of acidity from the tomatoes and buttermilk.  Some of the beets in the puree can be replaced with carrot, if desired.  There is virtually no flavor from the spinach that we noticed.  Adapted from ‘Barefoot Contessa Parties!’ via Smitten Kitchen.  Makes one large bundt cake.

1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs, at room temperature
3 cups cake flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Zest of one orange
1 cup vegetable puree*
1/2 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons orange juice

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour one large bundt cake pan.

Cream butter and granulated sugar in a large bowl using an electric mixer on medium-high for several minutes. Mixing at medium speed, add eggs, one at a time and beat for several minutes more until light in color and fluffy.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and zest in a bowl. In another bowl, combine vegetable puree and buttermilk. Using an electric mixer on low, add flour and buttermilk mixtures alternately to butter and sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour. Mix only until it's just combined.  Pour batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top, and bake for 1 hour, or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.

When the cake is done, cool 10 minutes in the pan. Remove from pan, move the cake to a wire rack and cool completely.

For a glaze, combine powdered sugar and 4 tablespoons citrus juices in a bowl, mixing with a whisk until smooth. Add more powdered sugar as desired to thicken it up.  Pour over the top of your cake, allowing the glaze to drip down the sides.  For a really clean look, set the cake on a wire rack set on a sheet pan.  Let the glaze drip into the sheet pan, then carefully move the glazed cake to a platter.

Sweetened Vegetable Supper Cake
No butter or oil, no white sugar...with whole wheat flour and vegetables!  Would you believe it's delicious?!  I call this a supper cake because it's sweet enough to believe it's cake but healthy enough to serve as a dinner dish.  Serves 8.

2/3 cup honey
1 cup vegetable puree, room temperature
3 eggs, room temperature
1 cup ground almond flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350F. Butter and flour a 10 inch oven proof skillet or similar sized baking dish.

In a large bowl, whisk together honey, puree and eggs. In a medium bowl, whisk together almonds, flours, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.

Stir dry mix into wet. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 35-40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Drizzle the top of the cake with honey when warm, if desired.  Serve warm, sliced into wedges.

*Vegetable Puree (makes 4 cups):
3 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
3 medium beets, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
1 1/2 cups canned tomatoes with juice (diced or crushed)
1/4 cup fresh spinach leaves, no stems

Steam carrot and beet pieces for 10-15 until barely tender.  Chop steamed carrots, beets, spinach and tomatoes in a food processor until smooth.  Add a bit of orange juice, as needed, to thin it out to the consistency of applesauce.



  1. That bundt cake is beautiful! And I'm all about cake for breakfast :)

  2. Fantastic job - I love the pink outer and orange inner - that's kitchen alchemy!
    The supper cake recipe has been added to my 'to bake' list, since low sugar low fat options are always good to have around. Thanks so much for taking part this month

  3. Both cakes are fantastic! I love that orange color in the bundt cake, too! I bet your girls did go bonkers for it, I would, too! :)


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