Root Vegetable Cake


Friends, gather ’round to bear witness here to the near miraculous transformation of the humble root vegetable.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one. You know carrot cake? It can be made using pretty much any root vegetable! This one is made with carrots, beets and sweet potato; I brought it in to the Eyeopener this morning and made myself plenty of friends. The best part: I found mid-cake making that I was out of applesauce, and used instead a jar of baby food squash, and it worked just perfectly. (Generally I would use a cup of applesauce, but I got away with one 125 mL jar of baby food.) Canned pureed pumpkin would work as well, and both have far more nutrients than applesauce.

Root Vegetable Cake


March 10, 2009

This is just like a carrot cake - after all, carrots are root vegetables - but using any combination of beets, sweet potatoes and carrots you like. If you like, use baby food squash or sweet potato puree in place of the applesauce, or replace half of the oil with applesauce (use 1 cup oil and 1 ½ cups applesauce) or pumpkin puree, which is nutrient dense and goes well with grated root veg.

  • Makes: Makes 1 cake, serving 16.


3 cups (750 mL) all-purpose flour

2 cups (500 mL) sugar (I sometimes use half white, half brown sugar)

1 Tbsp. (15 mL) baking soda

2 tsp. (10 mL) cinnamon

1 tsp. (5 mL) salt

1 cup (250 mL) canola or vegetable oil

4 large eggs

1 Tbsp. grated fresh ginger (optional – or 1 tsp. dried)

2 tsp. vanilla extract

2 packed cups coarsely grated carrots, beets, sweet potatoes or a combination

1 cup (250 mL) applesauce (sweetened or unsweetened)

1 cup (250 mL) chopped walnuts, pecans, raisins, or dried cranberries, or a combination of dried fruit and nuts


1Preheat the oven to 325°F. Spray a Bundt pan or two 9-inch round cake pans with nonstick spray.

2In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.

3In a smaller bowl, whisk together the oil, eggs, ginger and vanilla. Add the oil mixture, grated vegetables and applesauce to the dry ingredients and stir by hand until almost combined. Add the nuts and dried fruit and stir just until the batter is blended.

4Pour the batter into the prepared pan(s). Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes for a Bundt cake, or for 40-45 minutes for layer cakes, until the tops are cracked and springy to the touch and the edges are pulling away from the sides of the pan.

5Cool the cake(s) in the pan for 10-15 minutes, then loosen the edge with a knife, and invert onto a wire rack to cool completely. If you decide to frost the cake, make sure it is completely cool first, or the frosting will melt and slide down the sides.


One Year Ago: Ham and Black Bean Soup



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23 comments on “Root Vegetable Cake

  1. Canuck Abroad
    March 10, 2009 at 5:21 pm

    Haha! A couple of weeks ago, I roasted up some beets in hopes of eating them with supper but, alas, was put off by the very earthy smell that they omitted!! After much consideration of recipes, it was concluded that if you can make cake with carrots, you can make cake with beets. That is was I did, using your recipe from “Starting Out”. The cake turned out so delicious! (BTW, I omitted the applesauce due to the surplus of beet puree.)

  2. Morgan
    March 10, 2009 at 6:33 pm

    That is exactly the kind of soup I love on a cold evening! I’ll have to try it out!

  3. Ricki
    March 10, 2009 at 6:35 pm

    That soup sounds spectacular! I adore sweet potatoes, in anything. I also do a mixed root veg muffin (carrots, beets, parsnip). I love the look of your cake–lucky co-workers!

  4. Erica B.
    March 10, 2009 at 7:54 pm

    4 o’clock? …the “freshest” food? OMG you have to be kidding! Ah well… it’s not always about the food 😉

    Thanks for the soup recipe, DH loves anything curried and I have the ingredients on hand. Woohoo!

  5. JulieVR
    March 10, 2009 at 9:42 pm

    Oh no, not kidding. We once went over for Chinese food to celebrate a special occasion… it came from the Safeway buffet. His sister went first thing in the morning to pick up the food (ginger beef, chicken balls, rice, noodles) so that she could get “the freshest batch”, then took it home and kept it in her fridge until 6pm, when they brought it out and nuked it. Now that’s fresh!

  6. Barb
    March 11, 2009 at 6:21 am

    It’s amazing that you can have such an effect on us and how we cook and have absolutely no effect on them whatsoever. Staggers the imagination!

  7. Jen C
    March 11, 2009 at 6:55 am

    This soup sounds amazing – especially for the cold temps we’ve beein having lately!!! Is there another herb that I could use in place of the Curry? It’s not one of my fave’s at all, unfortunately….

  8. JulieVR
    March 11, 2009 at 6:58 am

    Sure! Maybe try using some thyme?

  9. Elaine
    March 11, 2009 at 7:24 am

    Oh. My. Lord.

    It never occurred to me to substitute root vegetables for carrots in a carrot cake (one of the very few dessert-type foods I enjoy). This epiphany is going to render me useless for the rest of the workday.

    I made a huge pan of roasted root vegetables on Sunday, not knowing that beets are the one food my hubs won’t eat, so I turned all of the veg into soup and have been plowing through that all week. But taking veggies in cake form? That would shake things up a bit, to be sure.

    Thank you, once again, for sharing these fabulous ideas!

  10. Fiona
    March 11, 2009 at 7:58 am

    Wow, I’m going to have to try that root vegetable cake. That sounds fabulous. Do you think you could put parsnips in, or would they be too strong?

    Also, the soup! Yum. I already love curried sweet potato soup, so adding red lentils is even better. I think I’ll make a batch and give my grandfather some for the days Meals on Wheels doesn’t come.

  11. Nancy G
    March 11, 2009 at 8:03 am

    Julie, Is that grated raw beet just like you would use a raw carrot for carrot cake? Does it need to be peeled first. Cake sounds and looks wonderful. I came across a recipe for icing using yogurt cheese and icing sugar that might work well with this –kind of like a cream cheese frosting. Has anyone ever tried this?

  12. Kathy
    March 11, 2009 at 1:09 pm

    The curried root soup is right up my alley now due to dental work I need “soft foods” for a few days.

    The cake looks delish and would be an excellent way to get some vegetables into kids (and adults) that don’t normally eat/like vegetables.

  13. Carolann
    March 11, 2009 at 4:36 pm

    Reply to Nancy – yes, I use drained yogurt instead of whipping cream adding vanilla to it. You won’t know the difference – promise. Just whip up the drained yogurt and add your icing sugar to it.

  14. Vivian
    March 11, 2009 at 6:22 pm

    To answer Fiona’s question, there was an article in the Edmonton Journal awhile back that talked of a “white carrot cake” made with parsnips. I’ve not tried it but it was served in a trendy little bistro restaurant and they said it was very popular. Worth a try?

  15. Nancy G
    March 11, 2009 at 6:48 pm

    Carolann –thanks I’m going to give it a try –I am really into this yogurt cheese thing! It seems very versatile and low fat 🙂 If you have any other ideas on how to use it, i would love to know.

  16. JoJo
    March 11, 2009 at 8:25 pm

    To Fiona and Vivian – I have made the “white carrot cake” from the Journal, and it is quite fine. The parsnips are peeled, sliced and roasted, covered, until they soften and caramelize. They are then mashed and added to the batter. So worth it.

  17. Carolann
    March 12, 2009 at 4:45 am

    Well Nancy – I’m using the drained yogurt (without gelatin added of course) in the ice cream recipe that JVR gave me. Since I’m an addict to ice cream I can’t keep it in the house so using the san gelatin yogurt works for me. I use the Balkin yogurt since it’s the only one I can find without gelatin added. Good luck.

  18. Nancy G
    March 12, 2009 at 5:08 am

    Carolann –Thanks!

  19. Fiona
    March 12, 2009 at 7:23 am

    Vivian and JoJo – thanks! I’m going to give it a try the next time I have some parsnips. I love them, but I can never get through a whole bag in time.

  20. Charmian Christie
    March 13, 2009 at 8:07 am

    I make a very similar soup. Love how the red lentils dissolve to make a lovely thick texture.

    As for the cake, I’ve played with pumpkin and added beets to a velvet cake. Love the idea of mixing things up a bit wit sweet potato. Could this possibly be a way to make turnips tolerable? Only one way to find out!

  21. heather
    January 27, 2011 at 9:14 pm

    Please put the curried red lentil, sweet potato, and carrot soup on your sight again. I cannot find it anywhere else.

  22. Jean Guarino
    November 18, 2019 at 7:01 pm

    I see it calls for 2 cups of sugar. It seems a lot (for me). Has anyone reduced the amount of sugar? Thank you.

    • Julie
      November 22, 2019 at 2:02 pm

      You could definitely reduce the sugar. Take out 1/2 cup and then go from there if it’s still too much.

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