Heart Healthy Desserts!

Our latest (yummy) blog post hails from our nutrition department: Laura Kraus and Amanda Grigg!  

Keep your heart healthy, and what better way to do this than to give yourself the heart healthy fats your body needs in the form of dessert. Yes!

I’m talking about avocados. If you have been paying attention to the media lately you will have heard of the benefits and acclaim for avocados. Some have even latched onto the idea of “The Avocado Diet”; which really just means incorporating one avocado a day into your routine. Avocados have monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, zero grams of salt, and other vitamins and minerals that are good for our overall health.

The benefits of healthy fats such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated on our heart have been gaining momentum in cardiovascular research fields.  Monounsaturated fat helps to increase our HDL (high density lipoprotein) and decrease our LDL (low density lipoprotein). By doing so, this increases our blood health and ultimately our heart and vascular health; lowering our risk of disease.



Vegan Beet Cake with Chocolate Avocado Frosting

Adapted from Food and Nutrition Magazine- Michaela Ballmann, MS, RD, CLT

*photo courtesy of Food and Nutrition Magazine

Cake (wet ingredients):
1 cup roasted beets, pureed (about 3 to 4 small, .75lb raw)
1 cup unsweetened soy or other non-dairy milk
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1⁄3 cup coconut oil or butter, melted
3⁄4 cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Cake (dry ingredients):
1 1⁄2 cups whole-wheat flour
1⁄2 cup unsweetened, natural cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1⁄4 teaspoon salt

2 medium ripe avocados, peeled and pitted
1⁄2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (alkalized/Dutch for deep chocolate color)
1⁄3 cup maple syrup or other liquid sweetener
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons coconut butter, melted, optional for a stiffer frosting


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Clean and scrub beets, trim ends and dry. Wrap in foil and roast for 50-60 minutes. Allow to cool. Puree in a food processor or using an immersion blender.
  3. Reduce oven to 350°F. Grease two 8-inch cake pans (or one 9-inch spring form pan).
  4. Add vinegar to milk and stir. Set aside to curdle.
  5. In a large bowl, sift together dry ingredients and set aside. In a separate bowl, use a hand or stand mixer to cream coconut oil and sugar.
  6. Add pureed beets, milk and extract. Mix until smooth.
  7. Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients and stir just until combined. Pour into the greased pans.
  8. Bake for 20-25 minutes (up to 30 minutes for a 9-inch cake) or until cake pulls away from the sides and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  9. Allow to cool in pan for 5 minutes. Turn out onto cooling rack to cool completely before frosting.
  10. Assemble and top with cacao nibs if desired.
  11. To make frosting:Add all ingredients to a food processor or bowl with mixer. Process for several minutes, scraping down sides, until completely smooth. Chill in fridge to thicken for 15 minutes or until ready to serve.

Cooking Note:

  • While roasting beets is preferred for a sweeter flavor, the beets also can be peeled, cut into chunks and boiled for 30 minutes or pressure cooked at 15psi for 4 minutes.

Nutrition Information
Serves 16
Serving size: 1 slice (1⁄16 of 8-inch, 2-layer cake)

Calories: 186; Total fat: 9g; Saturated fat: 5g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 217mg; Carbohydrates: 27g; Fiber: 5g; Sugars: 16g; Protein: 3g


By removing the crust from this apple pie, you are able to decrease the amount of unnecessary fat, and enjoy the full flavors of the slow-cooked apples. Butter, although high in saturated fat, is not considered evil. As long as fats are consumed in moderate quantities, they can be a part of your diet.

cakeCrockpot Apple Pie

*Adapted from A Beautiful Mess Blog http://www.abeautifulmess.com/2014/09/crustless-apple-pie.html

4 apples (any variety you prefer such as honey crisp, Granny Smith, or Fuji) Serves 8.

1/3 cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons bourbon (or you can substitute with 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

3 1/2 to 4 cups water

1 tablespoon arrowroot or corn starch

  • Cut the butter into a few cubes and place in your slow cooker on low. Let the butter melt while you prep the apples.
  • Keep the peel on the apples to include fiber and phytonutrients, remove the cores, and cut in half. I like to submerge the cut apples in water as I work so they don’t turn brown during the process. Use an apple corer to get core from apples.
  • Once the apples are peeled and the butter has melted (or mostly melted), add the sugar, maple syrup, bourbon, and cinnamon, and give that a whisk so it all combines well. Add in the apples. Then pour in enough water so the apples are 2/3 submerged. The amount of water you need varies based on your slow cooker size.
  • Cook on high for 2 hours. Once done, remove 1 cup of the liquid to a small pot and whisk in the tablespoon corn starch over high heat (if using arrowroot, you need to dissolve in a small amount of COLD liquid prior to adding to the hot mixture). Cook for a minute or two until the mixture thickens into a sauce.
  • Serve with the sauce drizzled over the apples with almond or coconut ice cream on the side. If you want to look like a pro, garnish with a cinnamon stick and sliced almonds for some added protein.

Nutrition Facts 8 Servings, 1 serving is equal to ½ of apple: Per Serving without ice cream: Calories 117: Carbs 22: Fat 3g: Sugar 18g

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