Old-Fashioned Fudge Cake Recipe

A low fat version from Food Network chef Marisa Churchill. "This cake is similar to one I made on Top Chef that was also featured in Food & Wine magazine. In this version, a secret ingredient adds moisture and complements the chocolate’s earthy flavour: grated beets! Unless you tell your guests, they will be none the wiser — the beets practically melt into the cake as it bakes."


1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for coating the pan
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup unsweetened Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1-1/4 cups low-fat buttermilk
1 cup plain nonfat Greek-style yogurt
4 egg whites from large eggs, or 3/4 cup liquid egg whites
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2/3 cup (loosely packed) finely grated beets

8 oz. (1 cup) reduced-fat cream cheese
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
6 tbsp unsweetened Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 tsp nonfat milk



Step 1: Preheat the oven to 350°F with a rack in the centre position. Coat a 10″ round cake pan with pan spray and coat it lightly with flour, knocking out the excess.

Step 2: In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a large bowl, whisk the buttermilk, yogurt, egg whites, and olive oil together until the mixture is smooth.

Step 3: Stir in the beets, then the flour mixture, just until incorporated. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and bake for about 40 minutes, until the cake is slightly domed in the centre and a toothpick inserted near the centre comes out clean.

Step 4: Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool for 20 minutes. Then run a knife around the edge and invert the cake directly onto the rack; leave it for about 1 hour longer to cool completely.


Step 1: Using a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter on medium speed for about 1 minute, until the mixture is smooth. Sift in the powdered sugar and cocoa powder and continue to mix, starting on low and increasing to medium speed as the sugar is incorporated, until the frosting is completely smooth. Add the vanilla and milk on low speed, mixing until incorporated. (Alternatively, use a handheld electric mixer.)

Step 2: Use an offset spatula to frost the top of the cake first, starting at the centre and pushing the frosting out to the sides. Frost the sides. Cut the cake into 16 wedges. Refrigerate any leftover cake, covered, for up to 2 days.

See more recipes from Marisa Churchill.

Reprinted with permission from Marisa Churchill’s Sweet & Skinny (2011 Clarkson Potter).