Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Daring to do it: Hidden Veggies!

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!
I really like Ruth.  She is a lot of fun to read, and I love her style.  But this challenge was an interesting one for me.  See, as some of you might know, I worked at a bookstore for a long time.  And I loved it.  I was working when the "Deceptively Delicious" craze hit, so I saw a bunch of people learning to hide veggies in their kids' food.  Part of me loved the idea of making sure that kids got their healthy foods, and that their treats could be more healthful.  But a lot of me really doesn't like the idea of lying.  Because that is what it kind of feels like to me.  Yes, I know there are picky eater out there who won't eat certain foods.  Heck, my father is one of them!  (He won't eat asparagus.  He hasn't tried it.  He saw it once, and he doesn't like it.  Really?!)  But hiding the foods just feels...  I don't know... like I am lying.  I try very hard with my daughters to introduce them to foods as they are, and to honor what they say then don't like.  So far I have been very lucky and I have two kiddos who still think broccoli and cucumbers make great treats!
But this challenge had me thinking.  How can I make something with the veggies hidden?  I then remembered that I had one lonely beet in the house.  I seem to be the only one in the family who likes them.  So I decided to use it in a chocolate cake.  A chocolate sourdough cake, actually.
Step one: cook and mash the beet:
Step two: add the mashed beet to the bowl, look at the pretty color:
Step three: mix, ooh and ahh again:
Step four: add the chocolate, and some red and black chocolate chips to help disguise the texture of the beet that didn't get mashed as smoothly as I might have liked:
Step five: bake, enjoy the yummy smell:
Step six: glaze:
Step seven: cut.  I was a little let down that the cake didn't retain nearly as much of the redness as i had hoped, but it was all good.
The cake was moist, chocolaty and yummy.  You couldn't tell that there was a beet in there, but I knew that the secret ingredient added a little to the sweetness, a lot to the moisture and a good dose of health.  (ok, a little dose of health...)  And my dad, who was visiting, and who doesn't eat beets, either, had no idea.  He thought the secret ingredient was cherries...  Nope!
This was a fun challenge.  It might not be something I will do regularly, but it was fun to have done it either way.
Take a look at some of the great recipes Ruth gave us for inspiration, then check out the amazing desserts created by my amazing fellow Daring Bakers!


  1. I agree with you about introducing the kids to real food, no hiding vegetables and when my kids were actual kids that's what I did. They became heathy eater adults. But every once in a while it can be fun and even if you don't hide it but make it more pleasing with certain veggies we don't enjoy that much, it's totally worth it, isn't it?
    Your cake looks fabulous!

  2. It is a running joke in our house that there is always something "hiding" in the food - I refuse to tell them what it is until after they have tried it. It done wonders in getting my fussy eater to expand her pallet.
    The beet cake looks great!

  3. Your cake looks great! I wish I'd thought of chocolate chips to disguise my, er, chewier bits of beetroot! That's a really good idea.