Chocolate Beet Cake

It sounds like an unlikely pairing – dark red, earthy beets and chocolate. But trust me, it works. As part of my day job I work in the therapeutic area of oncology. Recently, I was lucky enough to visit Wellspring, a support service for cancer patients that operates in affiliation with Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto (www.wellspring.ca). These people are amazing, offering services ranging from financial planning (cancer is expensive), exercise, therapy, to nutrition (among other things). The morning we were there we started with a tour of the facilities (beautiful) and then sat down for a breakfast meeting. They served chocolate cake for breakfast. My kind of people.
I asked for the recipe, because it was moist, rich, a beautiful colour, and delicious. That’s when I found out the cake contained beets!
Here’s the recipe.
Puree until smooth:
2 cups cooked beets, peeled and chopped (I roasted my beets – refer to my beet and kale recipe for details on how to roast and peel beets)
½ cup applesauce (I use unsweetened)
Set aside once pureed.

 
Combine and mix until smooth:
1 ½ cups sugar (I cut this back to a little less than 1 cup)
½ cup vegetable oil (I used grapeseed)
½ cup yogurt (I use 0% fat Greek yogurt)
3 eggs
Add to beet mixture:
½ cup unsweetened cocoa
1 tsp cinnamon
1 ½ tsp vanilla extract (use real vanilla)
Puree for about 90 seconds.
Sift together:
1 ½ cups all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 ½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
Gradually sift the dry ingredients into the sugar, egg, yogurt mixture  and stir only until blended. 
Then add:
½ cup chocolate chips (semi sweet) (optional)
½ cup nuts (optional – I don’t put nuts in because my kids don’t like nuts)
Stir in. Pour batter into a square 9.5” x 9.5” x 2” pan that has been sprayed generously with cooking spray. If you don’t have a square pan this size, you can use a different sized pan as long as it holds the same volume (Google equivalent pan sizes).
Bake in preheated 350 degree F oven until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 40 to 50 minutes. If you bake in a convection oven, reduce the heat by 25 degrees and start checking the cake for doneness at about 35 to 40 minutes.

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