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Birthday Season

Robyn Openshaw - Aug 10, 2010 - This Post May Contain Affiliate Links

Some people have a holiday season. I have that, plus Birthday Season. As I’ve mentioned, all four of my kids were born within a couple of weeks of each other. A primetime TV show made hay about me having a combined birthday party. (The producers cooked up something about an obsession I supposedly have with efficiency.)

Unfortunately they failed to mention the proximity of the birthdays, and the fact that they get an individual “friend” party. They just get a combined party for my very large extended family who has to drive 45 – 90 minutes to get to my house.

Here’s what I did this year. I made whole-grain, naturally sweetened Chocolate Beet Cake for my kids and me. I made the usual stuff for everyone else. At the family party, I served my kids the healthy stuff. Then I put that cake in the fridge, serving everybody else cake-mix stuff they’re used to.

The next day at noon, I had Tennyson’s baseball party at the city park. Three hours after that was over, we had Libby’s water party in the back yard. I didn’t want to make two or three beet cakes. (It is easy, though.) As it is, I had to make cakes and cupcakes for 3 parties in 24 hours.

I got the leftover healthy cake out for my kids, for both “friend” parties.

See if you can tell which cake is which, in the photo below. (You can’t.) Also check out Ten’s birthday party–he’s the kid in the middle drinking a GS.

Maybe I’m obsessed with efficiency after all. But if so, let me plead my case here . . . it lends itself well to writing books that have REAL moms with REAL time-and-budget constraints in mind.

Not naming any names, but I’ve bought so many raw recipe books that have laborious instructions, expensive and exotic and hard-to-find ingredients. I’m not a gourmet, though I like food to taste good. I don’t love spending my whole day in the kitchen, though I’m willing to spend more than the average modern person’s 20 minutes in “food related activities.”

I’ve improved the chocolate cake and frosting recipes. Coconut sugar is better for you and has less impact on blood sugar than Sucanat (what’s in the original recipe in Ch. 11). The frosting is now more spreadable with the addition of hot water. Here they are:

Chocolate Beet Cake

3 eggs (organic, free range) or 9 Tbsp. water with 3 Tbsp. chia soaked in it

1 1/2 cups unrefined coconut sugar

3/4 cup coconut oil

1 tsp. vanilla

1 3/4 cup pureed, steamed beets (about 3-4 medium size)

1/4 cup baking cocoa (non-alkalized) or raw powdered chocolate

2 cups finely ground whole-wheat flour (soft white wheat is best)

1 1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. sea salt

Steam beets until soft, about 15 mins. Puree beets in a VitaMix or BlendTec until you have 1 3/4 cups. Add eggs, sugar, oil, and vanilla and blend until smooth. Add chocolate and other dry ingredients. Bake in 9″x13″ greased pan at 350 degrees for 30 min.

Fudge Frosting

1 cup unsweetened non-alkalized cocoa or raw powdered chocolate

2 cups coconut cream concentrate (soft, room temp or slightly warmed)

2 cups coconut sugar, blended in dry blender container until “powdered”

¼ to ½ cup hot water, to make frosting spreadable

Cream together all ingredients by hand until smooth. This frosts a 9″x13″ cake and leaves some extra for a treat.

Tennyson's birthday party

Birthday party

Posted in: Recipes

11 thoughts on “Birthday Season”

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I’m curious as to which show you’re talking about–I’d like to see it. Thanks! Also, where do you get your coconut sugar, coconut cream and cocoa? Thank you

  2. Robyn Openshaw says:

    All at health food stores, or Amazon and elsewhere online. 🙂

  3. Anonymous says:

    Obviously I’m really new at this–thanks for the obvious answer! I am loving your blog and website…hope to join the class ASAP

  4. Anonymous says:

    I think the cake on the right (the photo right) is the beet cake. I’ll have to start looking for those ingredients. Everytime I’ve made the cake, the frosting is grainy and the cake isn’t as fluffy. But it was good! I’m willing to try again!!

    1. Robyn Openshaw says:

      Chris, the cake is more dense to be sure (also more rich) than a cake-mix cake. But the frosting doesn’t have to be grainy if you blend it well to “powder” it, in the blender first. (Make sure the container is dry.)

  5. Anonymous says:

    Robyn, I love the commitment you have to your families health. I just don’t have ANY idea how you find the time to prepare and shop ingredients for your wonderful food. If I can get one big green smoothie for the family made in a day, I have to chalk it up to success. But my desire is to make a great dinner each night, too. PLEASE tell me when/how you find time to prepare all that food. I have a 2 and 5 year old and don’t even have to work outside the home… I strive to do this food prep better… I don’t know if it’s lack organization skills or what… it seems unmanageable. I strive to do this better– I’m just feeling like I MUST be missing something. How do you do it?

    1. Robyn Openshaw says:

      Stacy, it’s just thinking ahead. It’s getting in the habit of grocery shopping for the right things. It’s having an arsenal of EASY things that are quick, using small windows of time, and forcing yourself to make good food by not having bad/convenience food in the house.

      It is a learning curve that I believe requires a year of commitment to changing habits and learning new recipes.

      I often cook while talking on the phone to someone who has been needing to talk to me. In other words, multi-tasking. I put the phone on speaker, on the counter, while I chop veggies or put stuff in the blender. People who talk to me know I ask for a timeout to turn the blender on, sometimes! (Not to mention to talk to my kids if they come in and say something.)

  6. Anonymous says:

    Hi Robyn, I was wondering if you buy your coconut creme concentrate in bulk or just by the jar. The only place here in Utah county that I could find that sold it was Good Earth in Orem, and they wanted nearly $20 for a 32oz bottle. If the frosting calls for two cups, that’s a pretty pricey topping. By the way, my wife and I love the 12 Step program.

  7. Anonymous says:

    great vegan version (w/the chia)- now how to turn it into edible,workable gluten free 🙂 😉

  8. Anonymous says:

    Wow! This cake is delicious! Only I used regular sugar because it’s what I have. I also just scooped the cream off the top of the liquid from a regular can of cocout milk because coconut cream isn’t sold where I live (I used the cream from a little less than three cans of coconut milk and just used the extra liquid in place of water in my smoothies).

  9. Tricia O. says:

    Thank you for posting your Chocolate Beet cake recipe. I’ve been looking for an all-natural cake to make for my son’s upcoming 1st birthday. This recipe looks great. One question–does the Baking Cocoa have caffeine in it? If it does do you have a suggestion on an appropriate substitute or have other cake recioes ? Thanks so much!!

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