When life gives you black beans, make chocolate cake.
It is really the only logical thing to do other than to throw them into my favorite soup or a maybe delicious cheesy skillet. But it’s been far too long since chocolate cake has shown up on this blog—maybe never, in fact *gasp*—and I owed someone chocolate cake.
The first time I saw Angelica Kitchen’s recipe for chocolate cake, I was fascinated by the frosting—it didn’t use any fat or sugar: instead, maple syrup, cornstarch and something called agar flakes, which it turns out, are a kind of sea vegetable that serves as a gelatin substitute (superfood #2).
When boiled with water, the flakes create a jelly-like concoction. When you add cocoa powder, maple syrup, vanilla, it turns into liquidy chocolate jelly and when you add some milk and cornstarch, it thickens up into a sludgy chocolate pudding which actually tastes pretty good despite my less-than-appealing description. The downside? You can definitely tell it’s fat-free—there’s a lack of richness that all the maple syrup in the world can’t make up for (and it calls for a lot of the world’s maple syrup: 2 ¼ cups! I cut this down.) So that’s the frosting. It wasn’t my favorite, but it worked with the cake and I’m posting it in case you are curious about a completely fat-free frosting. (And because I felt like you can’t post a cake recipe without a frosting recipe.)
Onto the cake: after a few scarring experiences with black bean baking, I never thought I’d be back for more, but this brilliant lady found a combination of ingredients that come together in a baked black bean creation that tastes exactly like chocolate cake that’s not too sweet and a tiny bit fudgy, but still mostly cakey despite the fact that it has zero flour! I think it only serves as a symbol of how muddled my mind is right now that I baked up a gluten-free cake with a vegan frosting. I suppose gluten-free folk would be able to eat the entire cake, but sorry vegans–I haven’t figure out a way to veganize black bean cake 🙁 Yet.
And now, I’m off to the airport tomorrow where my winter break shall be kicked off with an all-you-can-eat Asian buffet and a dinner party co-hosted by this lady, middled with Christmas and put to bed in LA at what will surely be the most hoppin’ NYE party in all of that tiny beach town. Whee!
Superfood Chocolate Cake
- For the cake:
- 1 15.5 oz can of black beans drained and rinsed (or: ~1 ¾ cups cooked black beans)
- 4 eggs separated
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 5 tablespoons olive oil OR butter or coconut oil at room temperature*
- scant 3/4 cup sugar
- 5 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- For the vegan chocolate pudding frosting:
- 6 tablespoons agar flakes
- 1.5 cups water
- ¾ cup cocoa powder
- ¾ - 1 cup maple syrup
- 1.5 teaspoons vanilla
- scant ¼ teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 6 tablespoons almond milk
- For the cake:
- Preheat oven to 350F and grease a 6-inch round cake pan.
- Blend the beans, two eggs, vanilla and sugar in a high speed blender until completely smooth.
- If using olive oil: add the olive oil and two remaining eggs and blend again. Add the cocoa powder, baking powder and baking soda and blend until smooth.
- If using butter or coconut oil: In a separate large bowl, beat the butter or coconut oil until fluffy. Add the remaining two eggs, beating well after each egg. Beat in the bean mixture until fully combined, then the cocoa powder, baking powder and baking soda. Beat for 1-2 minutes.
- Pour half of the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the top springs back.
- Let cool for 5 minutes before flipping the cake out onto a cooling rack. Let the pan cool completely before pouring the remaining batter into the pan. Bake until done. Let cool for 5 minutes. Allow for both layers to cool completely before icing.
- For the frosting:
- Simmer the agar flakes and water together for 3 minutes, then whisk in the cocoa powder, maple syrup, vanilla and salt.
- Whisk the cornstarch and almond milk in a small bowl and add to the agar mixture. Let simmer for five minutes until very thick, then remove from heat.
- Pour into a glass pan or measuring cup and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes, or until the cake is ready to be frosted. Whisk the frosting by hand or with an electric beater before frosting.