When you think about, beans really are a neutral tasting vegetable, and depend a lot on how we season them. So when I was looking for a way to make a gluten free cake, I wondered about beans as a flour substitute. Beans have a few distinct advantages over white flour:
-- they're a high protein, whole food.
-- they're high in a kind of soluble fiber that helps stabilize blood sugars. This is great for everybody but especially for diabetics and pre-diabetics.
-- in my area, they are grown locally, while wheat is not. So since I try to eat locally and in season, I'm trying to cut down, and perhaps eliminate, flour products.
-- they're great for people with gluten intolerance.
I've made this cake three times and even served it to company. It's dense, moist, and rich with no hint of "beaniness" at all. There are no weird, non-food, chemical ingredients -- all simple, whole foods. And it is extremely easy and fast to make.
Mouthwatering Black Bean Chocolate Cake
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
To prepare the cake pan:
Grease a 9" cake pan with butter, then dust with cocoa powder. Line pan with parchment paper cut to fit bottom of pan.
To prepare the batter:
In a blender, combine 1 and 1 quarter cup rinsed black beans, 3 eggs, 1 tsp vanilla, 1/2 tsp salt, 6 tablespoons cocoa powder, 1 tsp baking powder, and 1/2 tsp baking soda. Blend until there are absolutely no lumps.
In a bowl, whip until smooth, by hand or with electric beater, 1/2 c honey and 7 tablespoons butter. Add 2 eggs and whip until smooth.
Pour butter mixture into blender with bean mixture and blend until incorporated.
At this point, the batter should look glossy and smooth and very much like any traditional chocolate cake batter.
Pour batter into pan. Thump pan on the counter several times to smooth batter and dissipate air bubbles. Bake for about 45 minutes.
Allow the cake to cool in the pan for ten minutes, invert onto a plate, and then turn over again onto a cooling rack.
Allow the cake to finish cooling completely on the rack -- the longer it cools, the better the texture will be. I usually cool mine overnight.
The cake is great on its own, but I my family likes it best with honey sweetened whipped cream and a sprinkling of pecans. And, I confess, I've also iced it with traditional powdered sugar chocolate icing -- not all that healthy, I know, but company was coming and I panicked.
One more note: I've recently been seeing recipes using beans as a flour substitute all over the internet. Many, if not most, use some form of artificial sweetener instead of honey, and many also use oil instead of butter. Other use no fat at all. I suppose this is an attempt to reduce calories or carbs, but because I'm not crazy about fat free recipes, and because I'm not crazy about artificial sweetener, I haven't tried any of these versions.
**Also posted at Real Food Wednesday**