• Never. Not in a million years. I’ve seen all of those Brownie recipes floating around the internet. You know the ones I’m talking about. The ones that feature beans. Black beans, to be sure. Lots of bloggers have made and sang their praises. Not me. I wasn’t going near a brownie recipe that contained beans. Come on, you gotta be kidding?! Beans in a dessert recipe? Beans and chocolate? Married? Couldn’t possibly be true.

    Until this afternoon, that is. Today marked a new chapter in my willingness to look at beans as baking contendors! Though today my bean of choice was not the black bean, despite the fact that I am partial to them whenever corn or flour tortillas are on my menu. But no, the beans I’m talking about are simple, uncomplicated chickpeas. Yes, chickpeas. And I’m not even talking about brownies. I’m talking decadent-as-decadent-can-get Chocolate Fudge Truffle Cake. Yup, the little round beany nuggets marched right in and knocked me over with a feather. The damn cake tastes like fudge. Pure, unadulterated fudge. Wait! Don’t run. Don’t panic. Don’t judge. Read on.


    I’ve looked high and low for a fudgy chocolate dessert that was gluten free, egg free, and dairy free. A tall order, to be sure. And then I discovered My New Roots, a lovely blog written by Sarah Britton. Her Chocolate Fudge Cake with a Secret recipe intrigued me. That is, until I considered one of the ingredients. Chickpeas. I could hardly believe my eyes. But after reading Sara’s description, I knew I had to give her cake a run. And I’m glad I did. It will be staple in my dessert repertoire from here on. First, because it’s delicious. Second, because it will allow me to indulge while maintaining a lower fat way of eating. SH! Don’t tell anyone. They won’t believe you.

    Chocolate Fudge Truffle Cake
    adapted from My New Roots blog Chocolate Fudge Cake with a Secret

    click here for printable recipe

    8 oz. dark chocolate, melted, preferably organic
    3 tbsp organic cocoa powder, preferably organic (I used cacao powder)
    1 1/3 c. garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
    1 c. applesauce, unsweetened
    1/2 c. maple syrup
    1/2 tsp baking powder
    1 large date, pitted
    1 tsp Grand Marnier, optional
    1/4 c. hot water

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease an 8″ round cake pan.

    Melt chocolate either in microwave or in a pan that is set over a pan of gently boiling water.

    In a blender, mix the cocao powder, garbanzo beans, applesauce, maple syrup, baking powder, date, Grand Marnier, and hot water until thoroughly blended and smooth. Add the melted chocolate and blend until incorporated.

    Pour into your prepared baking pan and bake for one hour. The original recipe called for baking it for 35 – 50 minutes. I tested it at 45 minutes and it was still pretty wiggly. I preferred giving it another 15 minutes, which I did in five minute increments. And even after an hour, the cake tester still came out a bit wet. Remove from oven and place on cooling rack. Once the cake reaches room temperature, cover with foil and place in freezer until frozen.

    To serve, remove from freezer and allow to sit on counter for about 10 minutes. Then slice and serve either with a sprinkling of confectionary sugar or strawberry sauce. Or both:). For the strawberry sauce, blend a bunch of strawberries in a blender with sweetener of choice and fresh squeezed lemon juice, if desired add some Grand Marnier.

    By the way, I tasted the cake when it came to room temperature, before putting it in the freezer. Um, well, it was ok, but not what I’d hoped for. But I covered it with foil and put it in the freezer for a few hours. And then I waited. And I waited. And when I could wait no longer, after about two hours, I ran to the freezer, pulled out the cake, fork in hand, and dug in. The cake was transformed, magically. But I don’t think it really needs more than about 10 minutes at room temperature before you dig into it.

    • Anonymous

      O.M.g. This'll be on our table Friday night.

      BTW–I tried to email you this question, but kept getting rejected:
      Got a recipe for a GF/vegan honey cake? Or, are you working on one, by any chance? I'm trying to work out one which, while heavy with honey, is not goopily heavy and yucky like so many GF/vegan cakes are.

      I'm thinking of starting with the Cherryhill yellow cake mix and maybe just drowning it in honey while still hot! :-)
      Barb

    • Holly

      Oh my. That looks great. I might have to give it a try…..I am also skeptical about the beans!

    • Valerie (m.)

      That looks AMAZING!!!!

      (Do I say that about all of your posts? I think I might.) :)

    • I Am Gluten Free

      Anonymous – no, I don't have a recipe for a GF/vegan honey cake. I'll put it on the list, though! Thanks for asking.

      Holly – I feel your pain. Totally! But ya' gotta try it!

      Valerie – you say the nicest things!

    • fudge recipes

      Wow, that looks heavenly to me! I will definitely give it a go. We love fudge and by 'we' I mean hubby, my 6-year old twin boys, my 3-year old little girl and me. I'm quite intrigue with your strawberry sauce, not to mention that it's gluten free. Anyway, thanks for sharing this. I will definitely try it this week.

    • Sophie

      Waw!! Chickpeas in a chocolate cake!!

      I have never seen that before,..Doesn't it make the cake too heavy? What about the taste?? The cake looks georgous though!

      I think I must try it before I can say anything about it!

    • Kim and Megan

      This looks fantastic! Thank you so much for giving my family another way to indulge our chocolate habit!

    • Alisa

      Seriously amazing recipe Ellen! I will have to give that a go when I finally hydrate those dried chickpeas in the cupboard!

    • Tasty Eats At Home

      Glad you tried the beans-in-chocolate-dessert thing! This looks so good, and reminds me that I loved my black bean brownies (which I also made into a cake). So fudgy without all those darned allergens! Yum!

    • T.R.

      How this looks amazing! I'll have to try that. How do the beans affect the consistency of the cake?

    • I Am Gluten Free

      fudge recipes – yes, the strawberry sauce takes it to a whole new level!

      Sophie – you must try it to believe it!

      Alisa – go for it. Let me know, ok? Looking forward to meeting you at blogher in Oct!

      Tasty Eats At Home – Hi Alta! Yes, same idea as the black bean brownies. Hard to believe that anything made with beans tastes so darn fudgy and delicious!

      T.R. – absolutely none that I can detect. It's a rich, fudgy texture!

    • Amy

      I have to try this. i just found out that I have an allergy to gluten, wheat, yeast, egg yolks, and milk products (of course th etest is the IgG ELISA test that supossedly had lots of false positives, but I am going to eliminate the thing on it anyway). I think I may be able to try this with out it affecting me.

    • php ecommerce

      Wow! That looks so delicious. I am hungry to eat such yummy cake. Thanks for its recipe, I will make it tonight.

    • Cheryl Harris

      that looks fantastic! I've used navy and kidney beans but I couldn't wrap my brain around garbanzos. But I will have to try that

    • Valerie (m.)

      So, I tried making this. Unfortunately it didn't go so well.

      I used EnjoyLife chocolate chips as the chocolate, because they are very allergy-friendly, and because they've worked great in every other recipe that I've tried them in. Other than that, and leaving out the Grand Mariner, I followed the recipe to the letter.

      After 45 minutes of baking, the cake was clearly very liquidy. So I baked it for another 15 minutes. At that point it was bubbling enthusiastically, like a pot of soup on the stove. But I figured that there weren't any ingredients in the cake that would really "set," so maybe that was as solid as it was going to get. So I took it out of the oven. I'm big on checking the temperature of baked goods with a thermometer, to make sure that the eggs are cooked to safety. So, even though this had no eggs, I checked its temperature. Pretty much everything sets by about 190 degrees. The thermometer went over 200 and was still counting, so I figure it was at least at 205 or 210 degrees, so I thought that should be plenty.

      Next I let it cool, sitting on top of the stove.

      When it reached room temperature, my plan was to take it out of the pan and put it in aluminum foil in the freezer. But when it reached room temperature, the consistency was still somewhere between liquid and goo, so it wasn't the kind of cake that could be unmolded. I had baked it in a nonstick pan, so I didn't want to put the whole pan into the freezer. So I compromised and put the pan at the top of my fridge, in the space where things tend to freeze. I figured that serving cake from that spot in the fridge would be similar to serving frozen cake that had been set out to stand for 10 minutes.

      The next morning, once it was chilled, we tried it. Alas, it was awful. It tasted like chocolate mixed with hummus. Until recently, when I had a fudge recipe go *really* wrong, I didn't think that chocolate could be made to taste bad. But, alas, this, like the fudge that went bad, was really awful.

      So I decided to try really freezing it, to see if that would salvage things. I sliced three pieces, put them into a freezeable container, and froze them. Then I let them sit for 10 minutes before eating.

      At that point they were okay-to-decent, but not fabulous. Plus they were tainted by the memory of the hummus-meets-chocolate taste of the chilled version of the cake. Also, the slightly-more-solid parts around the edges taste a little bit burnt.

      So, alas, I think this is not the recipe for me.

      My ideas about what went wrong are that either I needed to heat it more — maybe it solidifies by evaporation of water? Except that I think that would increase the mildly-burned taste that the edges had. Or maybe I needed a different type of chocolate? I suppose that's possible, but usually EnjoyLife chocolate chips work great in anything I use them in, so my guess is that it wasn't that. So I am a little mystified.

      Lately at my house we've been enjoying a chocolate mousse that is made from cocoa powder, dates, ripe avocadoes (!), and maple syrup. I'm totally in love with that — it comes out fabulous! I think maybe my problem is that I really adore that dessert, and so I'm too attached to it to properly appreciate anything else.

      Oh well. Anyway, the cake with the chickpeas was an interesting experiment. I think my daughter likes it when it's frozen. So maybe I'll deed it over to her. :)

    • I Am Gluten Free

      Valerie – what an experiment indeed! I wish I were more of a kitchen scientist – maybe I'd be able to figure out what went wrong. My instinct, firstly, is to say that if one changes a recipe, even if only a little, then you're not really comparing apples to apples. Since you omitted the Grand Marnier and changed the type of chocolate, I have to wonder whether that made the difference. I know that adding liquor to ice cream does something to the freezing of it – not sure what, I just know that I read that somewhere. And in terms of the chocolate, I used a very high end chocolate and I wonder if the content of it made a difference in the gelling of the batter. I'm so sorry that you had such a disappointment.

    • Sassybigbuttbeauty

      Normally I would cringe and scream at the thought of chickpeas touching my chocolate but I will willingly give this a try. I've had the bean brownies and, well, they'll never be my favorite but the ones I had were quite tasty!

    • Anavar

      Thank you for lots of great recipes! I printed most of them and can't wait to try them! Greetings.

    • http://davidscookies.com/ Steve

      I am just as skeptical as you originally were about a chocolate truffle cake baked with beans, but as a calorie counter and nutrition-conscious eater, I am looking forward to baking this tasty-looking dessert.

      • EllenA

        I wouldn't have believed it myself had I not made the cake with the beans and seen it with my own eyes. And it is REALLY fudgy!

    • Deb

      Hi there! I want to make these today for a family gathering. One of our guests has a gluten and lactose intolerance.(well… and will not eat meat but that does not have anything to do with this recipe!). My question is: I thought darkk chocolate had dairy in it? How do I tell if it does not?

      Thanks! Deb

      • Liz

        Deb,
        Milk chocolate has milk in it, dark chocolate does not. That’s the difference! You can be sure by checking the ingredient list. High quality dark chocolate should have only cocoa butter, chocolate liquor and sugar. Some will also have vanilla, but that’s often to compensate for an inferior bean.

        Hope you’ll share with the community how this goes when you make it!

        Liz

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