While a black bean chocolate cake probably sounds anything but delicious, I’m here to change your mind! This cake is not only gluten-free and dairy-free, but packed with protein and fiber from the black beans and eggs. Yet the olive oil and cocoa powder provide richness and decadence for a light but fudgy texture that will make you forget that this cake is not your conventional butter-laden cake. The cake itself is super easy to make with just 8 ingredients you probably already have at home!
It’s also topped with a vegan, fat-free frosting! While I’ll always go for a conventional buttercream, this is a great option if you have friends with dietary restrictions. More below!
What does black bean chocolate cake taste like?
Coming from someone who loves chocolate cake, this tastes exactly like regular chocolate cake with a tender, moist crumb that’s a little fudgy and not too sweet. I promise you won’t taste the black beans at all!
What ingredients are in vegan frosting?
This frosting is inspired by Angelica’s Kitchen which uses a few unusual ingredients:
- Maple syrup: to sweeten!
- Cornstarch: to help thicken
- Agar flakes: a sea vegetable superfood that serves as a gelatin substitute. When boiled with water, the flakes create a jelly-like texture.
- Cocoa powder: for chocolate-y flavor
- Vanilla: for enhanced flavor
All of these ingredients combine to form a frosting with the texture of chocolate pudding. You can tell it’s fat-free thanks to a lack of richness, but it’s a nice light frosting that will be safe for vegans and gluten-free folk alike.
The Best Black Bean 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*
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 5 tablespoons cocoa powder (Dutch-process preferred)
- 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
Make 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.
Make 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 to fluff up before frosting the cake.