I love the retro trend of red velvet cakes, but don’t really like the idea of using artificial colorings in my recipes. So, I started looking at Mother Nature to lend a ruby hue to my cocoa-kissed, plant-based cake and stumbled across the good, old-fashioned beet! If you’ve ever cooked with beets, you know how powerful that deep ruby natural coloring is! Yet, in this dark chocolate cake, you would never guess that it has pureed beets in it (I served it at a party and nobody suspected!). The fresh raspberries and vegan cream cheese sauce brightens up this easy dessert, too.
Yields 16 servings
- 3 beets, cooked, chopped with 2 tablespoons reserved beet liquid
- ¾ cup unflavored, unsweetened plant-based milk
- ½ cup expeller-pressed canola oil
- 2 tablespoons chia seed
- 1 tablespoon flax seed, ground
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ½ cup maple or coconut palm sugar (may substitute with brown sugar)
- 2 cups flour
- ½ cup almond meal
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 8 ounces vegan cream cheese
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla
- 1 tablespoon beet juice (or pomegranate juice)
- 1 ½ cups powdered sugar
- 8 ounces fresh raspberries
- 2 ounces dark chocolate, grated
- Preheat oven to 375.
- Puree cooked beets with reserved liquid from cooking beets until smooth.
- In a mixer, blend together pureed beets, plant-based milk, oil, chia seed, flax seed, and vanilla. Mix for 2 minutes and allow to stand for 5 minutes.
- Mix in sugar, flour, almond meal, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa powder and salt just until smooth.
- Spray 2 round cake pans with non-stick spray and pour batter into bans—dividing the amount equally between both pans. Spread evenly onto pan. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Remove cakes from pan and allow to cool.
- To make icing, whip together cream cheese vanilla, reserved beet liquid or pomegranate juice, and powdered sugar to make a creamy, soft icing.
- When cake is cooled, place the bottom layer on a cake pan. Spread with a layer of icing, and ¼ of the raspberries.
- Top with the second cake layer.
- Ice top and sides of cake. Decorate with raspberries and dark chocolate and refrigerate until serving time. Bon appetit!
Recipe by Sharon Palmer, RDN, author of Plant-Powered for Life and the Plant-Powered Diet. sharonpalmer.com.