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7 Healthy Cake Recipes Filled with Vegetables

The Sweetest Way to Eat Your Vegetables

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Is a salad healthier than a cake? Sure. "But if dessert helps you eat more veggies, then go for it," says Natalie Rizzo, M.S., R.D.. Adding vegetables to dessert is a great way to make your favorite sweet dishes a little healthier while adding some unconventional flavors. "Just keep in mind that you still need to watch your portion sizes." (Here, a few veggie-packed desserts for inspiration.)

Photo: David Malan / Getty Images

Cherry Coconut Cauliflower Ice Cream Cake

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Who knew cauliflower could be sweet instead of savory? When paired with creamy coconut and black cherry jam, this cruciferous vegetable will satisfy your sweet cravings while offering a major nutritional punch. "When mashed or puréed, cauliflower provides a creamy texture that will blend nicely into a dessert," says Rizzo. "Plus it's loaded with fiber." Cauliflower has pretty mild taste, so it's incredibly versatile in terms of baking. (Related: Discover other interesting ways to cook with cauliflower.)

Get the recipe: Cherry Coconut Cauliflower Ice Cream Cake

Photo: Unconventional Baker

Kale and Apple Cake with Apple Frosting

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As a superfood favorite, kale is everywhere, and now it's even made its way into a cake. "Kale has a slightly bitter taste, so if you use it in dessert, you may need an extra tablespoon of honey or agave to even out the flavor," says Rizzo. "But it's huge in the nutrition department, with tons of vitamin C, A, and K, and antioxidants." Plus, here's a tip: If you're struggling to break down that tough, fibrous kale, use a bit of applesauce to help with the puréeing process. At only 349 calories a serving, this cake is well worth the effort.

Get the recipe: Kale and Apple Cake with Apple Frosting

Photo: Veggie Desserts

Pumpkin Orange Mini Cakes with Powdered Sugar

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Put down that pumpkin spice latte and use the real veggie for a healthier, antioxidant-rich dessert. "Pumpkin has a nice sweet taste, and it's loaded with fiber and vitamin A," says Rizzo. "It's great mixed with fall spices like cinnamon and nutmeg." This pumpkin cake blends pumpkin purée with cinnamon and vanilla, plus citrus from navel orange zest. It's the perfect balance of sweet and savory, and a little bit of sugar on top helps finish it off. (Beyond cake, there are so many other healthy ways to use pumpkin in your cooking.)

Get the recipe: Pumpkin Orange Mini Cakes with Powdered Sugar

Photo: Always Order Dessert

Chocolate Beet Cake with Beet Cream Cheese Frosting

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Roasted beets are delicious, and pre-workout beet juice has been shown to boost endurance, but beet cake takes the root veggie to a whole new level. Pair beets with chocolate for a sweet but still healthy dessert, as beets offer tons of nutrients such as potassium and fiber. "This dark red root veggie has a ton of anthocyanins, aka antioxidants, to fight off inflammation and promote heart health," says Rizzo. "It will also add an earthy flavor to desserts."

Get the recipe: Chocolate Beet Cake with Beet Cream Cheese Frosting

Photo: Joy the Baker

Blueberry Zucchini Snack Cake with Lemon Buttercream

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This recipe might contain zucchini, but just looking at this yummy cake, you'd never know about all those health benefits lying within. This light and airy cake has a bit of tang thanks to the tart blueberries and lemon buttercream frosting. "Not only is zucchini packed with vitamin C, but it adds moistness to bread and muffins," says Rizzo. "Plus, it has a very mild taste, so you won't even taste it in your dessert." Store it in the fridge before digging in, as chilled frosting makes this healthy cake taste even better. (Check out more healthy zucchini desserts that taste amazing.)

Get the recipe: Blueberry Zucchini Snack Cake with Lemon Buttercream

Photo: The View from Great Island

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Maple Pecan Frosting

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Carrot cake is the OG of vegetable cakes and for good reason—it's delicious. This recipe adds pineapple, which makes the cake super moist and swaps in Greek yogurt to help boost protein and calcium. "Naturally sweet and full of vitamin A, carrots are a great addition to any dessert—especially when puréed or mashed," says Rizzo. Spices such as nutmeg, vanilla, and cinnamon will give this cake tons of flavor, too. (You can also try ginger with this candied ginger carrot cake recipe.)

Get the recipe: Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Maple Pecan Frosting

Photo: The Food Charlatan

Parsnip Pear Hazelnut Cake

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Not only does parsnip make this cake healthier, but it's also a raw, vegan, and grain-free recipe, so it's great for those who have food intolerances or certain dietary restrictions. "Turnips are like potatoes, but a bit sweeter and earthier," says Rizzo. "They blend well into a batter and are full of immune-boosting vitamin C." This recipe boasts a balance of flavors and textures from pears and ginger, which provide sweetness and spice, and hazelnuts that give the cake a bit of crunch. (Related: Gluten-Free Rhubarb Recipes for Delicious Baked Goods)

Get the recipe: Parsnip Pear Hazelnut Cake

Photo: Nirvana Cakery


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