Rich Chocolate Black Bean Cake

by feastonthecheap on March 13, 2012

Mariel here. I had promised this recipe ages ago, but somehow it slipped off my radar, despite the fact that I’ve made it many, many times.

This dish was first brought to my attention by an editor friend over at Epicurious, who had requested it when I hosted her for dinner one evening. In its original iteration – via Serious Eats – it contained chickpeas, bittersweet chocolate and 4 eggs so the consistency was fairly crumbly (it’s still a touch crumbly, but far less).

In its new form, it boasts semi-sweet chocolate and only two eggs, but a heaping 1/3-cup of peanut butter to help tack everything together without the aid of butter. I also swapped out chickpeas, which I find to be a bit mealy, in favor of silky black beans. Their naturally smoky color intensifies the color of the cake making it all the more appetizing. We eat with our eyes first, after all.

You could indeed enjoy this for breakfast – albeit a decadent breakfast – and it pairs beautifully with a healthy dollop of homemade jam. If you’d rather take it farther in the dessert direction, try topping it with frosting. My favorite way to dig in? With a dusting of confectioner’s sugar and a smattering of fresh berries. It looks sinful, but with all those hearty black beans, it’s not your average sugar bomb.

For another fiber-filled dessert, try these Gooey Zucchini Brownies or Five-Grain Chocolate Chip Cookies.

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Rich Chocolate Black Bean Cake
Serves 6
Inspired by Serious Eats

Butter, flour and cocoa for prepping the loaf pan – stock
5-oz of semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted – $3.00
19-oz can of black beans, drained and rinsed – $2.39
2 large eggs – stock
1/3 cup of peanut butter – stock
½ teaspoon vanilla extract – stock
½ cup granulated sugar – stock
½ teaspoon baking powder – stock
¼ teaspoon salt – stock
Grand total assuming well-stocked kitchen: $5.39
Cost per serving: $0.90

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (adjust oven rack so there’s one in the middle). Butter a 8.5-inch loaf pan (aka a 1lb loaf pan) then dust with cocoa and flour, tapping out any excess.

2. Melt the chocolate over a double-boiler (or melt in the microwave slowly and in 20 second intervals, stirring each time).

3. Puree the black beans, eggs, vanilla and peanut butter in a food processor or with an immersion blender until smooth, approximately 1 minute. Add the sugar, baking powder and salt and pulse for 20 seconds.

4. Add the melted chocolate and pulse until combined – this renders a pudding-like batter. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 50-55 minutes or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.

5. Cool for 15 minutes on a wire rack, then invert onto a serving platter. Cool completely before dusting with confectioner’s sugar or frosting.

{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

happyzhangbo-lovingfood March 13, 2012 at 11:26 am

What a great idea to use black bean for baking, I have never tried it before. Will have to give it a go. Thanks for the idea :-)


Sherry March 13, 2012 at 11:40 am

I heard about this and have been wanting to try it. Thanks for the reminder. I’m always trying to satisfy a sweet tooth without totally blowing my calorie count.


Cookin' Canuck March 13, 2012 at 1:15 pm

I tried a black bean pie last summer and was really surprised at home much I liked it. I’d imagine this cake would be just as good!


Amanda @ Once Upon a Recipe March 13, 2012 at 2:19 pm

How wonderful it is that you posted this Mariel. I came across a black bean chocolate cake recipe last week and have been eager to try it. However, the other recipe had a few funky ingredients in it that aren’t typically in my cupboard. I’m going to give this one a try!


feastonthecheap March 13, 2012 at 2:56 pm

You’ll have to let us know how you like it! It’s really quite dense and rich so you won’t even miss the flour, it’s just slightly crumblier than a traditional cake b/c of the beans. But I can live with that….


Mandy - The Complete Cook Book March 14, 2012 at 8:31 am

So pleased it appeared on your radar again – awesome recipe!
:-) Mandy


Charlotte @ weekends so sweet March 14, 2012 at 9:48 pm

Yum! So excited to see something rich and chocolatey that’s lactard friendly! Can’t wait to try it out.


Rhonda March 15, 2012 at 1:29 am

Seriously? Black bean and chocolate? So I can totally justify having chocolate now, thank you!


Baker Street March 15, 2012 at 1:46 am

Chocolate and black bean! Wow! Now that sounds like a cake that I ought to try.


Jeanette March 15, 2012 at 8:19 am

Now that sounds like a protein and fiber packed cake – I have yet to try black beans in cake, but I’m curious about it. I have seen black bean brownies too.


Krista March 15, 2012 at 6:48 pm

This is just a plateful of happiness! I love the addition of the black beans. I can imagine the richness from the chocolate and beans. Definitely breakfast food!


Kammie (Sensual Appeal) March 15, 2012 at 7:48 pm

Wow this looks simply beautiful. After reading the recipe and the cost, it looks more than beautiful – it looks perfect. I’m not usually a big fan of beans but I heard that if you include them in baking, they are barely even tastable. I will most absolutely try this recipe very soon. I’m not a fan of PB though, think using almond butter would make the same result?


feastonthecheap March 16, 2012 at 12:17 pm

Absolutely, the almond butter should yield the same result!


Jen @ The Scrumptious Pumpkin March 16, 2012 at 11:27 am

I think this looks incredible – so glad to have found your blog today :)


Megan March 16, 2012 at 1:24 pm

I haven’t tried black beans in baking before, but your picture has just convinced me that I really must give it a go!


Kiran @ March 23, 2012 at 1:34 am

I love adding unique combination of flavors in desserts. For example black beans and avocados are great in cakes and brownies ;)


Danijela April 8, 2012 at 1:21 am

this cake looks so elegant and soft. Rich chocolate cake and berries, perfect! :)
Happy Easter!


Cara@homespunkitchen May 2, 2012 at 11:28 am

Making this right now for my daughters 6th birthday!!


feastonthecheap May 2, 2012 at 11:35 am

You’ll have to let us know if she suspected any sneaky beans in there!


Cara@homespunkitchen May 4, 2012 at 9:10 am

They LOVED them!! Thank you for the recipe, although mine were more brownie like, SO good! I am making them for tomorrow’s Holistic Moms picnic:)


Cook With Altitude May 11, 2012 at 6:54 pm

This sounds wonderful! I can’t wait to try. Dusting the pan with flour and cocoa is an interesting idea. I always use flour, but I will have to try cocoa next time as well!


Angie May 27, 2012 at 9:18 am

This looks so good! I’ve been wanting to try a cake or brownies with black beans, but hadn’t yet.


HilLesha August 21, 2012 at 11:01 am



Amy September 22, 2012 at 10:57 am

I check out recipes online often, but I find it disappointing that people don’t post their results often enough. I stumbled upon your site while looking for a black bean chocolate cake recipe (I wanted to see what all the hype was about!), and I wanted to take a moment to THANK YOU for sharing your recipe. My three-year-old son got a kick out of keeping the bean ingredient secret from his dad until he took his first bite. High fives all around from our supper table. Your cake is scrumptious. :) We will most definitely be making it again!


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