Saturday, June 14, 2014

Green Velvet Cake

I don't think I could be prouder than I am today - this past week has been such a flurry of accomplishments! Firstly, I got to watch "my" kids at school perform spectacularly at their end of the year performance - as a new teacher, there's nothing as heartwarming as seeing the transformation of those young balls of energy from being totally unable to walk in a line to demonstrating exceptional poise and control in front of a crowd. Then there were the successes in my real family - my baby sister (all 23 years of her) was awarded her university degree in Bio-Resource Management after slogging long and hard for 4 years, and after having passed my final teaching exams I became a full fledged Montessori Casa teacher. Nothing can describe how happy I was for my sister (and my parents) since she was actually able to do something I couldn't - finish a full university program (I went to college a few times instead). Now I can't wait to see what she does with it!

This week, we're all about winding down into Summer mode, which basically means that any and all "teaching" is pretty much out the window in favour of Sports Day, class parties and outdoor time. One of the last "hurrahs" I wanted to do with my class before the year let out was harvest our "garden" - essentially a windowbox of radishes in varying degrees of growth (and disrepair). Sadly, even though our little plants had huge leaves, there were no roots to speak of! There went my grand plans of a "community salad" where everyone brings an ingredient from home - but I had heard a few months ago that the greens themselves were edible, as prickly and bitter as they are. So I got to thinking.
Green Velvet Cake
The first idea I came up with was a radish green pesto pasta salad, but knowing our kids in general, cold pasta probably wouldn't go down well no matter how cool it looked and how good it tasted! I got to wondering about a sweet application, though... and cake got lodged in my mind. After all, we can make cakes with carrots, beets, zucchini, green tomatoes and even kale - why not radish greens? I didn't want to hide the vibrant, lush greenery that we had worked so hard on all year though, so I knew a chocolate cake wouldn't do. I wanted a green cake.

After doing a bit of Googling (thank goodness for Google!), I stumbled across the most gorgeous (sweet) application of greens I could imagine on The Cracker Box Kitchen. Jessica's recipe took fresh spinach and olive oil and packed it into a fairly standard vanilla cake for an absolutely stunning presentation - you have to see it for yourself!

Of course, I had to make my own modifications - I can't follow a recipe no matter how hard I try :-). Obviously, I used our radish greens in place of the spinach, but I also used Sucanat for a little caramelly aspect, bumped the vanilla flavour waaaaay up with both extra extract and vanilla pudding mix, swapped in some applesauce for part of the oil and added half whole wheat pastry flour for a little touch of nutrition. I originally thought I'd have to add a touch of green food colouring for the full effect to show, but as you can see no colouring was needed! I include it as an optional ingredient in case your particular greens aren't as lively, or if you want a reaaaaalllly green cake.

Green Velvet CakeNow don't get me wrong - even though this cake has vegetables, whole grains, applesauce and an unrefined sweetener, it is in no way health food. It made a fabulous end-of-the-year treat for the kids though, and my proud parents thought it was darn yummy too!

Green Velvet Cake
Makes one 9x13" cake, 24 pieces
3 eggs
2 tbsp pure vanilla extract
1 ½ cups Sucanat (or sugar)
1 ½ cups fresh radish greens, beet greens or spinach
½ cup canola oil
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
½ tsp green food colouring (optional)
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 cup flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 pkg instant vanilla pudding mix
1 tbsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
frosting or icing sugar, for decoration (I suggest a tangy cream cheese or French vanilla frosting)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F and grease a 9x13” pan.
  2. In a food processor, combine eggs, vanilla, sugar, greens, oil, applesauce and lemon juice. Process until smooth.
  3. Add the flour, pudding mix, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Pulse to mix in.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes.
  5. Cool in the pan before frosting or serving dusted with icing sugar
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 140.8
Total Fat: 5.4 g
Cholesterol: 23.6 mg
Sodium: 66.6 mg
Total Carbs: 21.6 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.8 g
Protein: 2.4 g