Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Chocolate Chickpea Cake, Potato Cookies

Chickpeas make it sutiable for breakfast, right?
For March's challenge of hiding vegetables in desserts, I made this chocolate chickpea cake. I've previously made the internet sensation black bean cake, and while it was pretty good and was eaten quickly I WAS able to taste a vague hint of beany flavour which seemed to fade as days went by. In my brain, the flavour of chickpea was a better match for chocolate than the flavour of black bean, and I have a general love of chickpeas besides (with vinegar, mostly). In the end, I thought that this cake had zero bean flavour from the get-go so even if the flavour of chickpea was hanging around, I couldn't detect it. I think that the cake looks a bit dry in these photos, but it wasn't really dry. It had an interesting rich denseness, and I found it more filling than regular cake.

Characteristically, I forgot to mark down from whence I got the recipe, or what changes I made. I do recall, however, that my aims when looking for a recipe were 1) no flour and 2) uses exactly the volume of chickpeas that I had, aka one 19 oz can. I looked at a lot of recipes, but I'm fairly certain that I used the one from serious eats.

Chocolate Chickpea Cake Recipe

The nice thing about making a cake with beans instead of flour is that all those worries you have about making your cake tough by over-mixing and causing excess gluten formation are moot. I think. I can't see how excess mixing would affect any of the other ingredients, but let me know if you think I'm wrong. Therefore, if you have a food processor, you should be able to literally just dump all of the ingredients together and blend the heck out of them. Except for the melted chocolate, which I'd recommend adding carefully at the end when it has cooled to a temperature that you don't think will cook the eggs. If you have an immersion blender like I do, you'll probably want to blend up the chickpeas first and then add everything else.


Preheat the oven to 350F. Get a loaf pan ready however you like, maybe by lining it with parchment or greasing it and dusting it with cocoa.

Melt 5 oz of dark/bittersweet chocolate either very carefully with the microwave (darker chocolate will seize more easily), or in a double boiler. (I make my double boiled by sticking a big glass bowl over a small pot of simmering water.)

Blend together:
1 19-oz can of chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder*
1/2 tsp salt

Once everything is smooth, and you've cooled your melted chocolate a bit, blend in the chocolate too and then pour the batter into your loaf pan.

Bake for about an hour, until a skewer, knife or whathaveyou comes out clean. Allow it to cool a bit before popping it out of the pan.

*I'm not actually clear on why there is baking powder in this. Is it really going to leaven the bean? Really? I can't imagine this cake being MORE dense even if you remove the baking powder. It is already as dense as chickpeas (I like this, don't get me wrong). You could try taking the baking powder out and get back to me. Alternatively, you could try separating the eggs, beating the egg whites to just-stiff peaks and then folding them in at the end. Maybe that would lighten the cake up a bit, and provide some extra bubbles for the baking powder to act upon.

Here's another challenge for you: Find a way to replace the flour in baked goods with potato.
After making the chickpea cake, I thought about my friends who not only don't eat gluten, but ALSO don't eat legumes. Really, it's a thing. So I thought about how I could replace flour with something else. Potato. Potato cookies.

It wasn't good.

They look decent though, don't they? The flavour was actually really nice. The texture was. . . exceptionable. They were fine just out of the oven, but with cooling they took on the consistency of cold potato, which has an unpleasant sliminess to it when you are expecting a cookie. I thought that I could probably fix them by reducing the potato a bit, but at that point why use potato at all? You can make perfectly good nut butter cookies without any flour OR potato. So, potato cookie failure. Or, semi-failure. I still ate a bunch of them.

"Ruth from Makey-Cakey was our March 2013 Daring Bakers’ challenge host. She encouraged us all to get experimental in the kitchen and sneak some hidden veggies into our baking, with surprising and delicious results!"


  1. Great experimenting! The chickpea cake looks so dense and fudgy - I'm with you on the puzzlement over why the baking powder is in there! But you're right - whisking the egg whites separately would probably lighten it a little bit. Sorry to hear the potato cookies were a disappointment - we live and learn I guess! Thanks for taking part this month :-) Rx