Chocolate Chickpea Cake

So the other night, I sat my body down and was all, “Look, body. You’re okay, but I’m tired of the self-hatin’. It’s time we drop these last ten pounds once and for all and just be happy with our perfectly normal, healthy BMI, k?”

And I swear my stomach rose up, took on a mind of its own, and was all, “Gurrrrl, u don’t know what ur gettin yo’self into. Like u could last one week without baking.” Like a total sassafras.

As Laura would say, my stomach is a handful and a half.

But it has a point. I bake for a number of reasons. Because it gives me a release from stress, the mindless stirring and mixing and pouring and waiting gives birth to a kind of creation that is at once a great release and a miracle. But um, mostly because I like to eat. And while that’s all fine and good, moderation and a baking hobby hardly go hand in hand. (More like excess + baking hobby = harmonious harmony.)

Plus, I like to make things for people. I think this is somewhat of a cultural thing, the belief that love is demonstrated to others through food. So I feed people that I love (or at least like a lot), basically. The baking is not going to stop. The sugar can.

So this low-sugar chickpea brownie is originally from the one and only Chocolate Covered Katie, meant to be her sugar-free version of her deep dish cookie pie which, let me tell you, is DELICIOUS. Coming from a person who grew up on traditional chocolate chip cookies, I do not think it tastes exactly like a normal cookie, but it’s moist and gooey and utterly delicious all the same. In order to reconcile my sassy stomach and stern mind to rest, I compromised in the form of this almost sugar-free chickpea cookie.

But look at that thing. Does that look like a cookie, I ask you? No. It looks like a fudge-y brownie. But it’s sort of more like cake. So here is what I’m calling a chickpea brownie chocolate chickpea cake recipe, should you also feel the need to make something healthyish that tastes totally, ridiculously not healthy at all.


Katie lists a totally sugar-free version using stevia, but since I’m still wary of any sugar substitutes, I used the real stuff–and a little more of it than she called for, because I was nervous. That was probably needless; you could cut back the sugar by a tablespoon, if you so desire.

She also tossed the dates into the food processor with the rest of the wet ingredients, I assume–I was unsure of my food processor’s capacities and thus used this date-softening technique found on The Muffin Myth that the author uses to make sticky date pudding. Katie (of the Muffin Myth) says:

“I remembered an old recipe I used to make for sticky date pudding (yum!) where dates are boiled with water and then a teaspoon of baking soda is added to the pot. The reaction between the baking soda and the hot water first causes a fun foamy reaction, and then, once it’s sat for a while, the reaction causes the dates to break down into almost a paste. Or a jam. A jammy paste.”

I am fairly sure using this technique was what helped save my food processor from an early death. So I recommend it, and have included this tweak in the directions below.

Lastly, I was tempted to skimp on the chocolate chips–don’t. This creation is gooey and moist and dense and sweet, but the chocolate really saves it and, in fact, shoots it up to a whole new level of mind-blowing. Because in the midst of it all, you may forget that you’re eating BEANS. (And dates.)

Chocolate Chickpea Cake
Adapted from Chocolate Covered Katie

1 cup pitted dates (I used the brand Costco carries)
2/3 cup water
1 teaspoon baking soda

1 15-ounce can white beans or garbanzo beans (drained and rinsed well)
1/2 cup quick oats
5 tablespoons sugar
1/3 tsp salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda, divided
2 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup milk (I used unsweetened Silk)
1.5 tablespoons oil (I used canola)
1/2 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 F, and grease an 8″ or 9″ round pan.

In a small pot, combine the dates and water and heat to boiling on high heat. As soon as the water boils, add 1 teaspoon of baking soda, and stir to combine. Mixture will foam alarmingly; let boil an additional 1-2 minutes, then remove from heat.

While date mixture is cooling, combine all dry ingredients (except chips) in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine applesauce, milk, oil, vanilla and cooled dated mixture. If you, like me, have a small food processor, add around 1/2 of the dry ingredients and 1/2 of the wet ingredients into a high-powered food processor like a Cuisinart (don’t try to use a blender) and blend until as smooth as possible (no date chunks!). Scoop out into a bowl, and repeat the process with the rest of the ingredients. (If you have a large food processor, you may be able to do this in one batch.) Stir in the chocolate chips, and pour into greased pan.

Bake 35-40 minutes (check around 30 minutes and remove early if you want a really gooey center.) Let cool at least 15 minutes before trying to remove it.

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46 thoughts on “Chocolate Chickpea Cake

  1. Pingback: DIY Cake Stand | The Pancake Princess

  2. Christine

    Mmm – did black bean brownies, so I’m game to try this. Do you remember the volume of your can of chick peas?

    1. erika Post author

      Ah–15 oz! Thanks for keeping me on my toes. What’s the standard size of cans in Canada?

      Also, do you have a go-to recipe for black bean brownies? I’ve tried several and was not in love with any of them. And yes, love the Muffin Myth!!

  3. Pingback: Black Bean Chocolate Cherry Cookies | The Pancake Princess and the Protein Prince

  4. Lisiya12

    Food = love…it MUST me a cultural thing. I’m Asian and I can’t remember a time I was at any relative’s house without some kind of snack in front of me. I totally connect with you on that one!

  5. Bailey

    I’ve been eyeing some chickpea chocolate chip cookies that I found on Pinterest a while back, but brownies are so much more chocolatey and good! I’ve never worked with dates before though, so that makes me nervous!

    1. erika Post author

      Oh my goodness the deep dish chocolate chip cookie pie that I made from Chocolate Covered Katie was supah incredible. I highly recommend it. If you’ve never made chickpea-anything before, I think I’d recommend starting out with sguar…but when you try dates, I promise you can’t taste them!! (it just takes a good food processor to make them disappear :))

      1. aroundtheworldin80bakes

        Thank you! And I’m really enjoying your blog! You’re a fabulous baker and photographer! *drooling into my keyboard as I type* Is it lunch time yet? :)

  6. jess

    wow chickpeas! will definitely give this a go.

    totally agree with avoiding stevia/artificial sweeteners though – I reckon they just taste awful.

    1. erika Post author

      Aw yay! Let me know how you like it if you try it!

      And yes–actually, I never noticed a huge taste difference when I used stevia (I always used at least half stevia/half sugar), but other people definitely noticed a difference. I do think that artificial sweeteners are just things that you don’t want to put in your body, though, and even stevia is supposedly natural, I think the verdict is still out on certain health factors!

    1. erika Post author

      Thank you Uru!!! You are toooooo sweet :) I think you are quite inspiring as well, in fact, with the ENORMOUS blogging community that you’ve built up!

  7. Keep Calm and Eat On

    How interesting is this recipe! As soon as I read Chickpea brownies I thought of chickpea flour which is so common in Indian cuisine. But this uses whole chickpeas! And it is so healthy compared to the original brownie.

  8. Bam's Kitchen

    Erika, your a lifesaver! I am always on the lookout for diabetic friendly
    and here is a great one. It looks so moist and your photos are just gorgeous. On a side note I just love that crackled pottery plate of yours…. Take care, BAM

    1. erika Post author

      Aw yay! I’m glad I could help :) This was soo good–I don’t think it tastes like it was designed for any specific diet, which I LOVE! And thank you so much for the kind words!

  9. The Healthy Flavor

    Oh yes, I’ve seen that recipe!! Haven’t tried it though. I’ve tried black bean brownies and did NOT like them but I think I could handle chickpeas! Looks delicious regardless! How does it smell when baking?

    1. erika Post author

      Really? What recipe did you try? I’ve been wanting to try black bean brownies for the longest time!!

      Hmm I have to say, I can’t remember a distinguishable smell while it was baking, but I can at least tell you it wasn’t bad! :) And it tasted great….in my opinion :)

  10. Profiteroles & Ponytails

    I’ve made black bean brownies, so I imagine this is very similar. I couldn’t taste the black beans at all! However, I really like the idea of also adding pitted dates. I’m betting that makes them even richer and add to the fudgey like texture?

    1. erika Post author

      You’re right! I’ve made a version with sugar instead of dates and it was a tad less moist, if I remember correctly. I felt like you could hardly call this a cookie–it totally is super fudgey like a brownie! Thanks for stopping by :)

    1. erika Post author

      Hahaha Kayle BELIEEEEVE!!! It really does taste chocolatey and delicious! Especially with ice cream. Even my brother ate it!! As long as you don’t think about what you’re eating and you’re cool with a little texture (in the case of my food processor, anyway)…

  11. jmcvl

    I’m a lover of baking but have never really strayed that far into the healthy realm… Is it an easy transition? As the winter draws closer I find myself baking more and more, so I might need to mix it up with some alternatively healthy bakes if I don’t want to be the size of a HOUSE by spring! I look forward to reading more of your recipes xx

    1. erika Post author

      DEFINITELY! I love, love, love healthy baking. I actually co-taught a student-taught course at my university on “modified baking” and there are SO many things you can do! For example, I think there’s no reason to ever use a cup of oil in a quick bread. They can turn out perfectly moist and flavorful with a quarter of that amount of oil plus added moisture from yogurt, applesauce or milk…and you can boost the nutritional profile of so many things with ground flaxseed or chia seeds…or use 1/2 white whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose…there are a lot of small changes that you can gradually work into your baking as you get used to them!

      Anyway. I totally agree with you–I think I’ve been heavy on the unhealthy bakes recently and I need to switch over to some healthy recipes soon!! Thanks so much for stopping by :)

      1. jmcvl

        Sounds so inspiring that such small changes can make such a difference! I will be eagerly reading your blog for more ideas… and most probably back with more questions soon too!!


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