Introduction: Healthy AND Delicious Chocolate Cake

About: I am a paper engineer, writer, maker and chemist wannabe. In addition to pop-up cards I design and build furniture, lights, costumes or whatever I happen to need at the time. Lipstick, a mixing studio, all-pur…

This is an amazing cake: it contains no fats such as butter, cream, shortening or oil, and no eggs. In spite of these limitations,  it tastes better than any cake mix and than most other chocolate cakes made from scratch.

Spread jam between the layers and decorate with powdered sugar, for a fat free, cholesterol free birthday!

Step 1: Ingredients and Equipment

1 large beet
1/2 to 1 cup apple sauce
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour  (alternate: 1 cup whole wheat & 1/2 cup white flour)
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 cup sugar
1 tbsp cornstarch
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon

You will need a blender or a hand held stick blender like the one in the picture.

Step 2: Instructions

Peel and dice beet into 1/2" cubes, and boil until soft. Drain the beets and puree in the food processor with 1/4 cup fresh water.

Preheat oven to 325°F

Put pureed beets into large measuring cup and mix in enough apple sauce to get 2 cups of beet and apple puree. Add vanilla, vinegar, and 2 tbsp water.

Sift all the dry ingredients together then combine with the beet mixture.

Pour in a greased 9" by 13" pan or two 8" round layer pans and bake for 35 minutes, or until a toothpick pricked into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Step 3: Decoration

I have a great recipe for butter icing enriched with egg yolks -- but it has no place here in the "Health by Design" contest. To keep this cake fat free (OK, OK, almost fat free. Cocoa powder does contain a small amount of fat) you can spread your favorite jam between the layers, then decorate with powdered sugar (which also goes by the names confectioners sugar, caster sugar or icing sugar).

Make a paper doily . Lightly place the pattern over your cake (no need to press down, that will only make it harder to remove) and powder the sugar over the doily. Carefully lift off the paper to reveal your beautiful cake.

One word of warning: powder your cake just before serving. The sugar pattern will be absorbed by this wonderfully moist cake and disappear completely if you decorate it ahead of time.

Step 4: Epilogue: a Cake With Nothing in It

I thought it would be amusing to try to make a fat, egg, gluten AND sugar free cake. My first test, replacing the sugar in this recipe with xylitol was, literally, a flop. Cakes involve very delicate chemical reactions, and granulated sugar has properties which aren't so easy to mimic.... I'm still planning on attempting a gluten free version though, when my kids get over the disappointment caused by this inedible cake.

To learn more about some other things I make, check out Make Anything and Make Anything Pop-Up.

Humana Health by Design Contest

Finalist in the
Humana Health by Design Contest