Vegetarian food blog featuring delicious and nutritious whole food recipes, creative baking and luscious chocolate.

Kale Apple Cake and The Veggie Desserts Cookbook

Kale Apple Cake with Apple Icing

Kale may not be the most obvious thing to put in a cake, but as many of you will know, I’m all for adding nutritious ingredients to my bakes. Flavour and texture are massively important, but I do derive quite a bit of pleasure from a naturally colourful cake. This kale apple cake with apple icing hits the spot on all counts.

Veggie Desserts

Time to come clean: the idea and recipe for this kale apple cake are not mine. They come from the just published and very exciting Veggie Desserts + Cakes: carrot cake and beyond by Kate Keckworthy. Kate is a fellow food blogger who just loves baking with vegetables. She’s won many awards including the much coveted Soil Association BOOM award for Best Organic Blogger.  If she’s not already well known to you, I urge you to follow her blog Veggie Desserts, buy her book, or both. Kate uses vegetables of some kind or another in all of her bakes and desserts. Adding vegetables to bakes is nothing new of course, but Kate takes it to another level and gives us some quite extraordinary and creative recipes. This kale apple cake is her signature bake.

Veggie Desserts & Cakes Cookbook

The cookbook Veggie Desserts was published just two days ago, so this post is hot off the press. It’s a hardback with 144 pages of mouthwatering recipes and beautiful illustrations. For those of you who have a sweet tooth like me, but prefer to eat relatively healthily, this book is the business. Who needs food colouring when you can have purple beetroot and vanilla sorbet or green pea and mint cupcakes with rosewater buttercream? The vegetable-dyed rainbow cake sounds so much nicer than the artificially dyed ones that have become so popular recently. Vegetables add flavour, texture and nutrients as well as colour.

Veggie Desserts

The book has chapters for cakes, cupcakes, cookies, squares & tray bakes, pies & pastries, frozen desserts and more sweet treats. Veggie Desserts is not about sneaking a few vegetables into something the kids might eat, it’s a celebration of the vegetables themselves. It’s a positive dream for someone like me. I’m used to baking with root vegetables, but sweetcorn and white chocolate cookies, chocolate aubergine truffles or cucumber and lemon cake are a real surprise. There are plenty more where those came from. 

Veggie Desserts Cookbook

The Kale Apple Cake leapt out at me as just the thing to celebrate CT’s Birthday Cake. As a botanist, green is very much his colour and kale is one of the few veg we’ve actually grown this year.

Head over to Kate’s Virtual Book Launch page to find out what other bloggers have created from the book and what they thought of it.

Kale Apple Cake with Apple Icing

Kate’s Kale Apple Cake is the most popular recipe on her blog. It incorporates kale to give it a beautiful green colour and it also contains apple puree to cut down on some of the fat and sugar normally used in cakes. I made a brave effort to follow the recipe, but when it came to the flour I just had to use wholemeal. I made a few other tweaks too, but in essence I made Kate’s recipe. Mine turned out to be pudding like rather than cake like in texture which I put down to using some dodgy baking powder. But wow, it was so delicious and I like a pudding texture anyway.

Kale Apple Cake

We couldn’t really detect a kale flavour as such, but it did give it a slight umami flavour which complemented the tangy fruitiness of the apple very nicely. The apple icing, whilst rather on the sweet side had a wondrous flavour. And of course everyone was wowed by the vibrant green colour when I cut into the cake. I used our own homegrown kale, so it was super fresh and green. CT was absolutely delighted with his birthday cake – “a real winner” he said. I found the cake kept well for a couple of days, though by day two, a pool of apple syrup had formed on the plate. The recipe below is Kate’s rather than mine.

Kale Apple Cake with Apple Icing
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Kale Apple Cake with Apple Icing

The most popular recipe on Veggie Desserts, this cake incorporates kale to give it a beautiful green colour. It also uses apple puree to cut down on some of the fat and sugar normally used in cakes.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Afternoon Tea
Cuisine: British
Keyword: apples, baking, cake, kale
Servings: 12 slices



  • 200 g fresh kale leaves woody stems discarded
  • 3 large free range eggs
  • 100 ml vegetable oil I used rice bran oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract I omitted this
  • 100 g apple sauce
  • 175 g granulated sugar I used cardamom sugar
  • 2 eating apples - peeled and grated I didn't peel mine
  • 250 g plain flour I used wholemeal flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt

Apple Icing

  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter I used 30g
  • 2 tbsp apple sauce
  • 250 g icing sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract I omitted this
  • Blueberries optional



  • Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease and line two 20cm/8in round cake pans (I used silicone ones).
  • Steam or boil the kale leaves for a few minutes until tender. Refresh under cold water, drain and squeeze out any excess moisture. Use a hand blender to purée.
  • Beat the eggs, oil, vanilla, apple sauce and sugar together in a large bowl.  Beat in the kale and grated apple.
  • Sift in the flour, baking powder and salt and gently combine.
  • Divide the mixture between the two pans and bake for 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  • Leave to cool for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Apple Icing

  • Beat the butter and apple sauce in a large bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and beat until smooth. Store in the fridge until ready to use.
  • Sandwich the cakes together with a quarter of the icing, then spread the rest over the top and sides of the cake.
  • Top with blueberries to finish.

Other naturally green cake recipes you might like

Keep in Touch

Thanks for visiting Tin and Thyme. If you make this kale apple cake, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below or via social media. Do share photos on your preferred social media site and use the hashtag #tinandthyme, so I can spot them. For more delicious and nutritious recipes, follow me on TwitterFacebook, Instagram or Pinterest.

Kale Apple Cake. PIN IT.

Kale Apple Cake with Apple Icing


I was sent the book for review purposes. Opinions are, as always, my own. The post contains affiliate links. Buying through a link will not cost you any more, but I will get a small commission. This helps keep Tin and Thyme blithe and blogging.

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  1. johanna @ green gourmet giraffe

    5th August 2017 at 2:44 pm

    kale cake is such an exciting colour – I have bookmarked this cake but when I made a kale cake years ago we used a different recipe – but I love the white frosting on the green here and the blueberries – who could resist all the wonderful colour and a bit of good nutrition as well

    • Choclette

      8th August 2017 at 9:08 pm

      Well exactly Johanna. It’s irresistible. The green goes rather well with the fruity apple flavour and the blueberries definitely add something too.

  2. Galina V

    5th August 2017 at 5:39 pm

    I have noticed the release of this book, there was a competition on Twitter to win one of the copies. Your cake looks very festive and pretty. Grated apple – yes, kale -perhaps not for my fussy family. 🙂

    • Choclette

      8th August 2017 at 9:07 pm

      Oh the book is definitely worth getting hold of. Not everything is green – honest 🙂

  3. Angie@Angie's Recipes

    6th August 2017 at 5:36 am

    Such a unique and delicious looking cake! I love the gorgeous green colour.

    • Choclette

      8th August 2017 at 9:06 pm

      Thanks Angie, it’s a very special cake and tastes delicious.

  4. Kate | Veggie Desserts

    7th August 2017 at 3:17 pm

    Thanks for such a lovely review of my cookbook! I love your pictures of the kale cake and your tweaks sound really nice. I’m so pleased that you all liked it. 🙂

    • Choclette

      8th August 2017 at 9:02 pm

      Thanks Kate, glad you liked it. Your book is just brilliant and I’m looking forward to trying out some more or your recipes 😀

  5. Emily C

    9th August 2017 at 9:53 am

    Aamazing! Her recipes on Instagram always look incredible and this looks delicious too. Feeling inspired x

    • Choclette

      9th August 2017 at 10:04 am

      Yes, Kate is a genius when it comes to baking with vegetables. The cake was delicious and we loved the colour.

  6. Angela / Only Crumbs Remain

    9th August 2017 at 2:44 pm

    I absolutely love the sound (& most definitely the look) of this Choclette! I have to admit that I don’t use veg in my bakes anywhere near as often as I should do – I think a copy of Kate’s book would definitely help put that to rights. Thanks too for joining in with #BakingCrumbs 🙂
    Angela xx

    • Choclette

      9th August 2017 at 4:50 pm

      Well there’s no should about it, but they do often make a very good and interesting addition. Kate’s book is great for ideas.

  7. Ceri Jones

    9th August 2017 at 3:03 pm

    Such an amazing colour, though interesting you couldn’t try taste the kale! i hope to make it soon!

    • Choclette

      9th August 2017 at 4:48 pm

      There’s definitely a different taste there, but it’s pleasant and I think it would be pretty hard to identify.

  8. jenny paulin

    9th August 2017 at 8:47 pm

    I love seeing Kate’s colourful recipes and being in awe of her creativity. Thank you for featuring my recipe too x

    • Choclette

      16th August 2017 at 5:46 pm

      Thanks Jenny. Kate’s creations are all so exciting. I really enjoyed trying this one out.

  9. Jemma

    10th August 2017 at 12:31 pm

    I’m so excited for this book. Love the bright green colour of the sponge.

    • Choclette

      11th August 2017 at 8:28 am

      It’s a really exciting book Jemma and even more so as it’s from someone we know.

  10. Lucy

    10th August 2017 at 12:52 pm

    This is one of the cakes I have bookmarked to try too from Kate’s book! the apple flavour sounds amazing and the green of the sponge is so deep.

    • Choclette

      11th August 2017 at 8:27 am

      It’s a delicious cake and well worth making. Plus it has a wow factor with the green. I guess it depends on the kale you use.

  11. Janice

    11th August 2017 at 7:28 pm

    I can’t believe how brilliant that Kale and Apple cake looks! Such clever ideas in this book.

    • Choclette

      14th August 2017 at 9:34 am

      I loved the green of the cake, but it also tasted gorgeous. Kate is wonderfully creative.

  12. helen @

    11th August 2017 at 10:35 pm

    I’m not sure my family would forgive such a green cake! Sounds like a great way to use kale though 🙂

    • Choclette

      14th August 2017 at 9:35 am

      Oh try them Helen. They might be taken in by the sheer fun of it.

  13. kellie@foodtoglow

    12th August 2017 at 12:10 pm

    What a stunning recreation of Kate’s recipe! I adore Kate’s book so much and have tried two recipes – Avocado Chocolate Cupcakes with Cherry Icing *and* Sweet Potato and Salted Hazelnut Cookies. In fact, I’ve made three different sorts of tweaky batches of the latter! I just know that anyone who buys this book will get a lot of use – and joy – from it.

    • Choclette

      14th August 2017 at 9:37 am

      Kate’s book is fantastic and I’m looking forward to trying a few more of the recipes. You’ve been busy. Those hazelnut cookies sound wonderful and cherry icing? Who could resist?

  14. Jane

    13th August 2017 at 8:58 am

    Love this book SO much! Gorgeous cake Choccy 🙂

    • Choclette

      14th August 2017 at 9:41 am

      Thanks Janie. It’s a wonderful book. I’m looking forward to getting a lot of use from it.

  15. Anca

    15th August 2017 at 2:37 pm

    The cake looks amazing, I love that intense green colour. It’s so different. I never made a cake with kale, so I should try it.
    I saw a couple of recipes from Veggie Desserts cookbook and I think I should buy it, it’s really great.

    • Choclette

      15th August 2017 at 3:26 pm

      I have to confess, this was the first ever cake I made with kale. I was really pleased with it though and loved the colour. The book is a definite boon to any baker’s bookshelf.

  16. Julie McPherson

    17th August 2017 at 7:03 pm

    Wow, the green colour sponge looks incredible. It’s an amazing cake you’ve baked Choclette. Well done Kate, you are a blogging inspiration. Commenting as BritMums Baking Round-up Editor. 🙂

    • Choclette

      18th August 2017 at 8:44 am

      Thanks Julie. Kate is a real inspiration and the cake was delicious.


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