Two days ago I found a lone beet languishing in the fridge. I vaguely remembered a beet-chocolate cake I had seen @ Fatfree Vegan Kitchen. Susan’s recipe uses cocoa powder and cinnamon. No butter. No oil. No eggs.

Chocolate cake sounded great, plus I wanted to try out the silicone mini-bundt molds from Target. I created this recipe as I went along and it ended up with melted chocolate, orange and nutmeg.

This month’s Heart of the Matter hosted @ Lucullian Delights calls for Slimmer Recipes. ‘Slimming’ as in ‘helping you lose weight’, the announcement says. Lose weight where? The waistline? The pocket book? It doesn’t specify, so I’m free to exercise my interpretive licence. Jai and I exercise and are trying to pay attention to nutrition. This cake certainly makes our conscience weigh less. So there you have it, a guilt-slimming chocolate cake. This one’s for you, Ilva.

I’m not in the ‘losing weight makes you fit’ camp. Weight loss is not synonymous with fat loss. It’s replacing fat with muscle that makes you fit and that process may actually make you heavier.

I’m at 118 lbs (53.6 kg) right now, with a body fat of 24%. That puts me in the ‘normal’ range for my height. When I am really fit (in the ‘athletic’ range) , I usually register around 19% body fat and weigh in the 125 lbs range. That means I need to replace 5% of fat with muscle and since muscle weighs more than fat, I need to gain a few pounds of weight, mainly through exercise. When I stop lifting weights, I start going below 123 lbs. That’s when I experience muscle loss (and fat gain).

You can tell I’ve been using my Inner Scan Body Composition Monitor. They didn’t pay me to say this, but it’s an awesome piece of equipment that helps you analyse a whole range of fitness parameters (like bone mass, metabolic age and visceral fat) that tells a more complete story than a weighing scale.

And think about this. Cocoa powder is much lower in fat than chocolate since it doesn’t have all that cocoa butter, but you need a lot of energy to chop the chocolate and to stir it as it melts. That cancels out the extra calories.

It does taste rich and moist for sure. And you’d never tell it has a beet the size of a baby’s head in it. Our vegan peanut butter-chocolate frosting would be great on this. We simply used powdered sugar.


** This batter gets very frothy like dhokla batter, rather than smooth and thickly pourable like cake batter. Hence, it’s much easier to make this as a single cake than in muffin or other smaller moulds. If making it as cupcakes or mini-bundt cakes, you will have to spoon these in and the batter will look all lumpy, but it will even itself out in the end.

** I measured only the flour, baking soda and beet puree and eyeballed everything else. Hence most measures in this recipe are approximate.

** I used 2 tsp baking soda and though the cake was really light and airy, I could taste the baking soda. I’ve reduced the quantity in the recipe.

** If you don’t have beets, try making this with apple puree or unsweetened applesauce. Just peel, steam and puree the apples as you would the beets, or use a combo of beets and apples. Carrots may work too. We need about 2 cups of puree/liquid.


(Makes about a dozen medium cupcakes or one single layer round/square cake)

The beet puree:
1 large beet (the size of a tennis ball)
1/4 cup water

Peel the beets, chop it in chunks, add the water and steam it on the stove top or microwave until tender. If using the microwave, use a partially covered glass or ceramic bowl and steam on HIGH for 7 to 8 minutes. Let it cool and puree fine with the liquid left in the bowl. Add orange/apple juice if you need a tad more liquid. We need about 2 cups puree. I got about 1.5 cups. I added

1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce and
1/4 cup orange juice

to make up the difference.

Heat oven to 325 F. Line a square cake pan both ways with foil, or grease a round cake pan and line the bottom with parchment. If using muffin moulds, line with paper liners or silicone.

Chop fine
6 oz dark chocolate (I used 72% cacao)

with a serrated knife and melt it on a double boiler or in the microwave. If using the microwave, use 70% power and stir every 30 seconds. Add it to the beet puree with

3/4 to 1 cup sugar
**depending on how sweet you like it. I used 3/4 cup organic raw cane (turbinado) sugar
1 tbsp Grand Marnier, Cognac or flavouring of choice
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
pinch salt
2 tsp organic orange zest
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg (optional)
2 tsp lemon juice

Mix together
1.25 cups whole wheat pastry flour
** or all purpose flour
2 tbsps cornstarch
**or potato starch/water chestnut powder/arrowroot powder
1 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1.25 tsps baking soda

Add it slowly to the liquid mixture and stir until just combined. The baking soda should make the mixture frothy. If it doesn’t, add 1/4 tsp more baking soda (no more) and 1/2 tsp lemon/lime juice.

Spoon the batter into the cake/muffin pans and smooth the top with a spatula. If using muffin pans, you may have to spoon the batter a little by little. Fill the moulds to the very top.

Bake at 325 for 20-22 mins in muffin pans or 35 minutes for a cake. The cake should pull away from the sides of the pan and not be gooey, but not too dry in the centre when tested with a toothpick.

for dusting
3 tbsps sugar powdered with 1 tsp cornstarch.
Grind these together to a fine powder in a spice grinder Or use confectioner’s sugar.

Let it cool, unmould and dust with powdered sugar or top with vegan peanut butter-chocolate frosting. Refrigerating for a couple of hours may make it ‘set’ better and may make unmoulding easier.

Beets from our summer garden

Event Details HERE

Photographer: Bee
Camera: Canon EOS 300D
Lens: 100 mm macro
Shutter speed: 3.2 sec
ISO Speed: 100
F-stop: f/32

DEADLINE: Jan 30, 2009

See you next Monday,
- bee

Filed Under: , , , , , , , ,



  1. Rashmi says:

    what a handsome cake!

  2. aquadaze says:

    If it weren’t for the title, I would have thought this was a molten chocolate cake! Looks really nice. BTW, I have just announced an event on my blog, and I would really be honoured to have you guys participate in it. Cheers!

  3. Uma says:

    No Oil? No Butter? No Eggs? Amazing! The cake looks so pretty and mouth-watering.

  4. veggiebelly says:

    I have only recently discovered that I actually like beets. Within a span of 2 weeks this summer, I encountered beets 3 times. In New York at the Kebab Cafe, chef Ali presented me with a plate of grilled beets and told me I will love them (I didnt ask for it!). A week later, I had a wonderful Kerala beetroot pachadi at the fabulous Rasa Samudra restaurant in London. And 4 days later, our hosts in Latvia made us a Lativia cold soup with yoghurt and beets. That was the most beets I’d ever had and thats when I realized I actually love the stuff! So I’ll defenitely be trying this cake! It sounds yummy and healthy :)

  5. Raaga says:

    I have some beets in the fridge. Maybe I should try this. Although, I’m cutting down on all things sweet. :-)

    I also have been gifted a silicone baking pan. Normal greasing and flouring as with other pans I suppose. Will try something soon.

    no greasing and flouring required for silicone.

  6. Manisha says:

    Gah. You stole my red.

  7. Meeta says:

    beets and chocolate cake is a perfect combination. i love the fact that it has no butter!

    nice red – mine will be coming soon!

  8. Happy Cook says:

    Wow bee you are so fit.
    I used to run 5km, but have not done from jully onwards.
    Must restart, but it is so cold here , i don’t want to go for running.
    I have gained 5kg after starting to blog.
    I do agree loosing weight don’t makes you fit.
    But have to admit, my confidence is far better when i am a bit less heavier.

  9. deeba says:

    Not a good time to talk weight…mmmmmmmm…lets talk beets instead! Very tempting. Ever since I made that double chcoclate zucchini cake, have had my eye on beets! Those grilled beets sound great too!

  10. sunita says:

    I am loving the sound of this cake :-)

    And yes, my weight is on an all time high(sigh!!!)…all my fault though…haven’t exercised since goodness knows when :-(

  11. Ricki says:

    I remember seeing the beet cake on Susan’s site and thinking it was so intriguing! This actually sounds decadent–love your additions of orange, nutmeg, liqueur. And I think I’ve even got my own lone beet in my fridge somewhere. . . yay!

  12. Aparna says:

    I love the idea of a cake with no eggs, butter or oil. Unfortunately, we don’t like beets either. :( This is one vegetable I haven’t bought in years.
    Carrots sounds interesting though.

  13. Mamatha says:

    Your vegan fruit and nut war-cake is a regular at home. Would love to try this one too. Hey, I’m all for chopping and stirring chocolate as exercise! I do have a bar of chocolate at home (that I got to make your triple chocolate brownie – I’ve been meaning to make it ever since you posted your recipe, but somehow the chocolate chips or the chocolate bar or the slivered almonds get eaten as is and I’m always short of one ingredient or other. Hopefully the stars align one of these days for me to have all of them. But I digress), just need to get some beets.

  14. ashwini says:

    wow, no eggs , no oil or butter. And with beetroot and chocolate,it looks really yummy..Thanks for the slimming receipe..Need it badly :-)

  15. chitra says:

    These type of cakes are necessary for everyone nowadays.lovely looking:).As a vegan,iam searching for these cakes only..

  16. Asha says:

    Oh, I love this cake. I made it (not vegan though) for 2007 new year.

    Beet and chocolate are great together, good one bee.

  17. Soma says:

    I wrinkled my nose when i saw beet & chocolate together, But it did sound good reading thru it!

    Can’t say enuf about ur pics.. kinda getting bored myself saying the same things over again;-) will go look for some new adjectives.

  18. Madhu says:

    Beets and chocolates go very well with each other, this is nice recipe to try using them.

  19. Cham says:

    Looking your BMI , you re pretty fit, of course all ur recipe reflect…
    Beet and choco seems a great combo definetly a low fat dessert!

  20. anudivya says:

    Seriously! Where did I go wrong! I was experimenting with beets and chocolate the other day and trying to convert those into one big pot of beet chocolate pudding/kheer. It was terrible. I added loads of cashews and raisins in the hope of making it better… but only ended up throwing the whole concoction into trash.

    I wonder what else I could have done with it… feed it to my neighbors plants maybe! Next time…

  21. Johanna says:

    Yum – this looks like just my sort of chocolate cake – I have made chocolate beetroot cake years ago and keep seeing ones on blogs that inspire me to try again – this is one of the best I have seen so will bookmark your recipe for when I do get to make one!

  22. Bharti says:

    Looks great. Goes in my to try recipes list from your site. And I completely agree, chopping chocolate takes a lot of energy. Of course it negates any extra calories ;-)

  23. arfi says:

    i went down the hill today, and i had to go slowly when i climbed back up. gosh, i thought, where my fitness has gone? i felt so ashamed of myself. now, it is summer, time for me to shaping up with swimming. i am not fat, with 165cm height and 60kg weight. i don’t have fat on my under arms as i am doing gardening a lot. thanks for that information you’ve provided there. i shall be in a routine now!

  24. Navita Hakim says:

    Guess what Bee…back at home, my mum makes Beet Halwa (very much like Gaajar ka halwa..only looks bloddy
    which is soooo tasty n healthy.
    Loved the vegan and healthy twist to beets. I can eat them their sweetness.

  25. Manasi says:

    That isone healthy cake & U are one fit babe!!! I’m Jealous!!!

  26. ilva says:

    Thank You so much, this is a beautiful HotM entry in all senses!

  27. Pooh says:

    For some reason, the comparison between the beet and the baby’s head made my tummy churn. You come up with the craziest comparisons bee!

    I think I’m going to make your muffins for a dinner event tomorrow. I was planning to make beetroot halwa anyway and this sounds sooooooooo much easier! Great timing, thanks!

  28. Victoria says:

    Looks yummy, although I’m trying to avoid desserts for awhile. Have you tried this weird but delicious beet mousse recipe from Artsy-Foodie:

  29. Alka says:

    The moment i read the title of post,i thought u guys are weirdo….i mean a beet+chocolate+ cake + VEGAN …sounds anti-bon vivant to me…but after scrutinizing the recipe i can only say….u rock baby !

  30. neroli says:

    Best of the new year to you, dear Bee and Jai!
    Leave it to you to take two beautiful and beautifully beneficial things to create one lovely little wonderful.

  31. Madhuram says:

    I have also seen that recipe in fatfree. I love your version too Bee. I have also made brownies from Sinfully Vegan, which uses applesauce and no added fat or eggs.

  32. sandeepa says:

    never had beets in a cake, looks gorgeous

  33. Pooh says:

    The muffins were pretty good guys! I used milk chocolate instead of the dark variety and Gosling’s dark rum. They were much spongier than regular cakes but rose beautifully in my little ramekins. I’ll have to write a post about it soon. :)

  34. Jeanne says:

    “but you need a lot of energy to chop the chocolate and to stir it as it melts. That cancels out the extra calories”

    You are my hero forever :)

  35. Kalai says:

    Un-freaking-believable! What will you come up with next?? Bee, I have a strong urge to come over and give you a huge hug for this idea! :)

  36. Lakshmi says:

    Loved the cake for it’s color, no butter and no egg reasons. I will sure give it a try probably without beets ;)

  37. Jude says:

    I need to get me one of those body composition monitors. you’re absolutely right — weight loss is definitely not an indication of fat loss.

  38. Sophie says:

    Such an interesting way to use beets. I really like how healthy this is; I’ve used applesauce before but not in a chocolate cake, sounds like a good idea :) .

  39. Manggy says:

    Eerk! I think a body composition monitor would be like a depression machine for me :P I can perhaps drown my sorrows with more (healthy, heh heh) beet-chocolate cake :)

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