Flourless Chocolate Cake/cupcakes (black beans)

I made this as a birthday cake the other day and it was fabulous.  The best part is that compared to other chocolate cakes, it is much lower on the glycemic index, tastes just as good if not better, is extra moist, and very high in protein.  You may also feel good after eating it vs bloating with sugar high then low.  When the kids asked for seconds, I told them to go ahead, knowing it was actually good for them.  I doubled the following recipe to make it 2 layers.

Ingredients

Makes a 9″ one layer cake

  • 1-19 oz can (or approx. 2 cups) of unseasoned black beans (strained and rinsed)
  •  5 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 6 tablespoons coconut oil (melted)
  • 1/2 cup honey + either 1 teaspoon pure stevia extract (liquid vs powder) or 1TBSP of xylitol powder
  • 6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Mint Chocolate variation: 2 teaspoons mint extract (in place of 2 teaspoons vanilla)

Preparation

  1.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray a 9″ cake pan with extra virgin olive oil cooking spray, or just grease it with a thin layer of butter. Dust cocoa all over the inside of the pan, tapping to evenly distribute. Cut a round of parchment paper and line the bottom of the pan, then spray the parchment lightly.
  2. Drain and rinse beans in a strainer or colander. Shake off excess water. Place beans, 3 of the eggs, vanilla, stevia (if using) and salt into blender. Blend on high until beans are completely liquefied. No lumps!
  3. Whisk together cocoa powder, baking soda, and baking powder. Mix together honey and coconut oil. Add remaining two eggs, beating for a minute after each addition. Pour bean batter into egg mixture and mix. Finally, stir in cocoa powder, and beat the batter on high for one minute, until smooth. Scrape batter into pan and smooth the top. Grip pan firmly by the edges and rap it on the counter a few times to pop any air bubbles.
  4. Bake for 40-45 minutes. Cake is done when the top is rounded and firm to the touch. After 10 minutes, turn out cake from pan, and flip over again on to a cooling rack. Let cool until cake reaches room temperature. You can then apply frosting as per the directions below.

I used my food processor and once I had strained the beans simply added all the wet ingredients and blended them together.  In another small bowl, I mixed the dry ingredients until well blended then added them to the wet ingredients in the food processor. In just a few minutes it was all mixed together very well and was ready to be put in the pans.

Healthy Chocolate CakeThe original recipe came from the website www.healthyindulgences.net.

Frosting

On the cupcakes, I put one square of 72% dark chocolate on each cupcake when I don’t have time to make a frosting (I buy a big bag of dark chocolates from Costco).  I put it on while the cupcakes are still warm to let it melt.

In this cake recipe I used a chocolate mousse recipe as the frosting and it turned out very well.  I also evenly placed some of the dark chocolates (from the bag I buy at Costco of 72% dark chocolate) in between the layers of the cakes while the cakes were warm.  The chocolate squares melted and tasted really good as the middle layer of the cake.  On its own, the following recipe makes a great chocolate mousse dessert.  Add a little hazelnut butter in it for a more nutella-like flavor.

Ingredients

    • 3 avocado
    • 6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
    • 1/4 cup honey
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • 4 drops of vanilla stevia (optional) for added sweetness (several teaspoons of xylitol powder can be used instead)
    • Blend the above ingredients together in the food processor and once it is the right texture of a fluffy mousse, refrigerate until ready to serve.  Since I used it this time as a frosting, I refrigerated the mousse until the cake was no longer warm  then spread it evenly over both layers.

117 thoughts on “Flourless Chocolate Cake/cupcakes (black beans)

  1. This looks amazing! One question – I can’t get stevia where I live (sub-Saharan Africa), so have to rely on honey, coconut/brown/cane sugars, dates and maple syrup as sweetners. Any idea what I could replace the stevia in the cake and “frosting” recipes with? Should I just increase the honey?

    • You will love this cake, it is so moist. I think you’d be fine just using a little more honey for added sweetness. Enjoy!

      • So sorry to hear the trusting wasn’t great. I have made it with avocadoes that weren’t perfectly ripe and have also been disappointed. Otherwise it typically works out well. Tough to know for sure what may have made it so bad but glad you enjoyed the cake.

      • You can look up coconut cream frosting. All you need is a can of coconut milk, leave it in the fridge so it separates, use only the cream part, with honey and vanilla *cocoa for chocolate frosting and whip until fluffy! It’s an amazing combo with these brownies/cake

    • Hi Nora, I know we’ve kept ours refrigerated for at least a couple of days. There’s another recipe that is great which I haven’t yet posted that is chocolate mousse/frosting which involves mixing 1 can of coconut milk, 1 cup of dates, 4 drops of vanilla extract and 5 tablespoons of cocoa. Blend these in a high speed blender and you get a great little frosting. This will last refrigerated as well for a couple of days. Hope this helps!
      Cindy

      • The only thing about this mousse is that the avocadoes have to be the perfect ripeness. When they are, the icing tastes wonderful. You can always adjust the sweetness to your desired level. The consistency of it holds up well and isn’t runny, it is the consistency of a mousse.

    • I have been using avocado oil lately just to change it up and it doesn’t affect the taste at all, still good. I haven’t tried it but butter or any other type of healthy fat may be a good substitute. Hope this helps…Cindy

    • Hi, I haven’t tried making this recipe without the entire egg so can not tell you how it would turn out. I don’t hesitate using this many eggs in the recipe as recent studies have shown eggs provide many health benefits. This was good to hear because we were taught for so many years to avoid them. If you are avoiding the whole egg for health reasons, you can have a look at this article for further information should that be of interest to you. Hope you enjoy your baking! http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2005/04/13/egg-myths.aspx#!

  2. can you honestly say that you don’t taste bean at all? just asking ’cause my sister tried a recipe that declared you couldn’t taste the bean, & unfortunately, their claims weren’t true. =( i’d hate to waste a “perfectly” good dessert attempt! other than my misgivings about the beans, this really does look delicious! =)

    • I wish I could say for sure but of the many times I have made it, people have been very pleased with the taste. Taste is something that is different for everyone but I do hope you give it a try and maybe even the night before you want to eat it. The taste seems to improve on the second day for some reason. Hope you enjoy it!
      Cindy

      • Hi! The great thing about this recipe is that you can’t taste the beans. Beans however, are not low carb. The recipes that would likely be best to suit your low carb needs would be the ones with almond and/or coconut flour. Happy birthday week!😊

  3. This looks very good! I was wondering if it would be considered diabetic friendly? I am making it for the holidays and just need to know if grandpa can get a slice or if I should make something else for him 🙂

    • Hi! This recipe is high in protein and low on the glycemic index so for that reason I would say it is quite diabetic friendly. Stevia is a sweetener that does not affect your blood sugar. The relatively small amount of sweetener present in this recipe (either in the form of honey or maple syrup) can be offset by the high amount of protein from the bean and the eggs. Hope you enjoy it!

  4. I can’t wait to give this a try. Will the frosting/chocolate mousse recipe be enough for a two-layer cake like you did, or just one?

    • The frosting should be enough for the two-layer cake. I believe that is how much I use when I make it. Haven’t made it with the frosting in a while!

  5. I made this, and my kids and I ate it immediately after it came out of the oven (mommy is impatient and her kids are too 😉 ). Anyway, it was delicious! There’s plenty left for tomorrow so I’m curious to see if the taste is different 🙂

  6. The cake was Delish !
    I am not a fan of avocado and i could taste it a bit in the icing, but other than that it was amazing. I added a thin layer of cool whip in the middle (didn’t have enough avocados to make a double batch of icing) and melted a few of those swiss chocolates into the icing. Thank you so much for sharing! I will be making this again 🙂

  7. This looks amazing! My mother-in-law is hypoglycemic and can’t have any type of processed sugars, so this is just what I was looking for! I was wondering if you could substitute butter for the avocado in the frosting? If so, how much butter? Thanks!!

    • I’m not sure about butter as a substitute but it might work. I wish I had more experience with it to tell you yes or no. You might want to try coconut butter (found in most health food stores and even some local grocery stores in the organic section. Best of luck!

  8. Thank you for sharing this recipe. My husband and I are watching our carbs and we like a little something sweet with coffee in the evening. I used a sugar free maple syrup instead of the honey and added some Splenda brown sugar for a little more sweetness. I didn’t frost it and we like to top it with some whip cream. My husband was surprised when I told him the base was black beans. He says the recipe is a keeper and wants it again.

    • So glad you enjoyed it. One of the sweeteners I like to use that doesn’t spike your blood sugar and is naturally derived from North American hardwood is called xylitol by the brand Xyla. It can be found in most health food stores and now in the organic section of grocery stores. It has the closest taste to real sugar but without the damaging effects of some of the artificial sweeteners. Stevia is also another great one but a little more difficult to get just right since it can sometimes have a bitter aftertaste. All the best on your wellness journey!

    • The texture of the cake is actually quite moist, in my opinion perfectly moist when it is cooked just right. When you mention the WW points I’m assuming you are referring to Weight Watchers. If that’s the case, I’m not completely familiar with the system. I do know for sure that the more we focus on eating a higher quantity of vegetables in our diet (all the experts in the world can at least agree on this), some fruits, healthy protein, and healthy fat we feel full longer and our blood sugar is more stable. I believe sugar is one of the main challenges for our bodies as it makes us more hungry and can create a great deal of inflammation in our bodies. This is one thing we see in our chiropractic clinic with a great deal of our patients. Focusing on giving the body real food can create lifestyle changes that can add a lot of life to your years. I hope this is helpful:)

  9. The cake turned out great for me. Very easy to make!
    The frosting on the other hand was a little more difficult I felt. It all mixed together very well, but had a very bitter taste. The only thing I didn’t add was the Stevia. The recipe says it is optional, and I don’t really care for the flavor so I didn’t use it. It had a very bitter, avocado taste so I added a lot more honey, coconut sugar, and a little more cocoa and vanilla. It helped a little but never took the avocado flavor away completely. Did I do something wrong or is that just the way it turns out no matter what?

    • I’m glad the cake turned out well for you. I have had it happen to me too where there was a strong avocado taste and I think it has to do with how ripe the avocados are at the time. If they aren’t quite ripe enough it may taste more like avocado. That is what seemed to happen from my experience but I could be wrong. You can use the basic chocolate mousse recipe as a frosting as well, more sweet with less avocados required. Here’s the link in case you’d like to try it: https://thevibrantfamily.wordpress.com/creative-recipes/desserts-2/
      Please feel free to contact me with any questions.
      Thanks!
      Cindy

  10. This cake is absolutely fantastic and my children and picky non Celiac husband enjoyed it as well. For someone who is a terrible baker, this turned out really well and I would recommend everyone to try this out for yourself, it’s worth it!

      • Ok perfect! I used 2 tablespoons for 2 layers and just pulled them out of the oven, they look and smell fantastic. By the way the frosting tastes just amazing! I’ll never go back to icing sugar ever again! Thank you so much for this recipe! I can’t wait to taste the cake tonight!

    • No I have not included the nutrition information. Whenever I make my home cooked food, I don’t worry about the nutrition information as long as I am using whole foods in the recipe. My philosophy is that we can eat an abundance of whole foods. It is when we start using high glycemic foods like sugar and certain grains along with artificial ingredients and oils that we have to be careful. I do know that this specific recipe is higher in protein than most cakes which is a good thing, making us feel full longer:)

  11. I’m trying this out for my son’s first birthday cake…I just edited used 1/3 cup of honey and threw in a very ripe banana to make up the difference. .hoping it turns out good! Also making it into cupcakes and a small cake/oversized cupcake…we shall see how this affects cook time. ..thanks for posting!

  12. Hi, I will try this recipe I think is great. However I am concern of the texture is it too soft? My daughter is a fussy eater and textures are important to her. She won’t eat something too moist. She would eat beans or lentils or anything with that texture. Thanks

    • Hi,
      The texture is very similar to that of a normal cake. I usually try to include the kids in the process and have them be just as amazed as I am by making new things. I find when it feels like it is their idea, they usually like it better. For example, if you have the time to make her add the black beans to the food processor for instance and push buttons, she may feel like she contributed. Even cracking the eggs sometimes is enough for my kids to feel like they made something. It works for us at our house so thought I would pass it on in case it is of help to you as well:)

  13. Hi there, am wondering if you know the substitution amount if I was to use xyletol instead of stevia? AM very excited to try this!

    • You can use a tablespoon or so of xylitol as a substitute for stevia. It’s all about the level of sweetness you’re used to and whether you’ll be using frosting or not. I think you should be good with that amount of xylitol as far as sweetness.

  14. For those asking about carb counts, while this recipe is very low in sugars, it is still relatively high in carbs because beans have a lot of carbs in them. For my daughter who is a type1 diabetic, this recipe would mean just as much insulin as a regular piece of cake, but I would still let her have it because it has a ton of nutritional value

    • True. It is important to watch total carbohydrates for everyone especially in a case of diabetes. However, in this case with the black beans (in a 1/2 cup), there are 23 grams of carbohydrates, 6 grams of fibre and 9 grams of protein. The net carbohydrate (total carbs – fibre) effect would be much less of an insulin load than in a traditional cake made with wheat flour and regular sugar. It is so wonderful that your daughter has a mom so conscientious about her health. Thanks for sharing!

    • I sometimes use a combo of honey and xylitol since that doesn’t have an effect in your blood sugar. Aside from that, it is difficult from a taste perspective to avoid it altogether.

  15. Hi. I always want to try something like this but I’m lost about how much is 1-15 ounces. it is a pound and 15 onces? Sorry, I use kilograms.

    • I know this is always confusing to me as well. The can I use is actually 398ml or 15 ounces of black beans. Hope this is helpful, wish we had a more well used universal measuring system:)

  16. Hi! I’m super excited I try this out – looks delicious! Do you happen to know any of the nutritional information for this recipe? Calories/fat/protein/iron, etc? No worries if not, was just curious!!

    • Hi, I do not have the nutritional info for this recipe. It is however all whole food based which in my opinion makes this less of a concern. Best of luck with the recipe!

  17. I made these, got 14 cupcakes. I subbed 2 eggs for flax eggs and didn’t have stevia or enough honey at hand so added a cup of sugar . It came out very moist to but my friends said it was just the right amount of moistness. No bean taste at all. I didn’t use any frosting.

  18. Love the idea! I am making a birthday cake for a diabetic child who loves chocolate. I was wondering if the icing had to be refrigerated? Thanks for posting the recipe!

    • Yes the frosting will be best if refrigerated as there are avocados in it so you will want to keep it fresh. Enjoy!

  19. Hi there! I was wondering if the honey can be replaced with something? I would like to make this for my daughters first birthday cake but I would like to hold off on giving her honey a bit longer. Any suggestions for substitutions? Even just plain white sugar? Thanks! 🙂

    • Hi, you can use maple syrup instead if you’d like. I’m a little resistant to plain sugar as we don’t have any in our house for many reasons. Coconut sugar could also work, it may just need a little added liquid to make the consistency ideal. Good luck!

  20. Due to dietary restrictions (and plain ‘ole desire to eat healthier ;)….I’m super excited to have found this recipe for my son’s birthday tomorrow!! I’ve had black bean brownies but never cake! I need to make it today, for the party tomorrow, and was wondering if it should be refrigerated overnight or left on counter for best results? Thanks!!!

    • I am making this cake today for my sister’s bday and it tastes great the day of. It also tastes good if you make the batter the night before, leave it in the fridge and bake it the following day. As well, it tastes good if you bake it the day before. I think you’ll be fine whichever way you decide to make it. I have heard it tastes less ‘beany’ if you bake it the day before. It doesn’t taste very ‘beany’ in the first place though in my opinion:)

    • They should be done around 15-20 minutes. Just press lightly on the top of the cupcake to see if it indents and if not, it should be ready. Enjoy!

      • Thank you! I just took these out of the oven (muffins) to have for breakfast tomorrow. Everyone is excited!

  21. Great recipe! I had some of those black bean noodles from Costco (that I haven’t enjoyed eating) but no flour mill to make a black bean flour. I put them in the food processor, then when they were really broken up, cooked them till really soft and continued with the recipe as per a normal can of black beans. I tried adding some chocolate chips and pecans ….voila, what a great cake. Thank you so much. I’ll make this again 😉

    • I’m not sure why it turned out dry. Maybe take it out a few minutes sooner and leave it in the pan to let it cook a little longer. That may help it stay a little more moist. I sometimes in a pinch will make this recipe quickly and just throw all the ingredients in the Vitamix and blending it this way makes it moist for me. Good luck, glad you found it tasty!

  22. I was SO happy with this recipe! I tried a brownie recipe with black beans once & it put me OFF black beans & brownies for a good part of a year! But this was delicious. I didn’t try the mouse icing yet but the cake was wonderful. ~ One question; the recipe calls for 1-18 ounce can of black beans & all the cans I can find are 15 ounce cans. I ended up adding a couple spoonfuls from a second can but wondered if this was a typo or if your cans are just different than mine. I use organic so maybe it is a slightly smaller can??? Curious.

    • You’re absolutely right, the small cans are all 15 oz. I think I used the large can when writing this recipe but don’t have it with me right now to verify. I often double this recipe when I make it and the amount of black beans I use varies so I have used anywhere from 2 cans per recipe to give me the 2 cups to 1 1/2 cans without much variation in the recipe. Glad you enjoyed it!

  23. This is awesome!!!! I too am a huge health nerd who loves to bake. I made this for my dad’s birthday and it was a hit!!!! I forgot to check how much it yields though and put it in a big pan then had to move it to my smaller pan. Thank you so much for posting this!!!

    • Good question! I would like to know as well because we are going on a 3-day vacation and I would need the cake the day after we come back.

    • Yes I freeze them all the time. Just make sure they are thawed completely before you serve them otherwise they have a funny texture. Once thawed they are like freshly baked.

  24. Hi this recipe looks great! But I don’t have stevie extract and since it only asks for a teaspoon, I was wondering if I could just omit it or replace with something else? Would that effect the flavor or texture too much? I don’t want it to be bland or anything.

    • The stevia is purely used as a sweetener in this recipe and I have lately been using more xylitol which comes in powdered form. I always avoid using plain white sugar to keep recipes low glycemic. You may need a little extra added sweetness if you omit the stevia but xylitol is another great substitute. Enjoy the recipe!

  25. I was skeptical about a ‘bean’ cake, but very curious if it would work. Having a newly diagnosed husband with type 2 diabetes; I’ve been trying lots of different baking methods. I made this today and it turned out great! I added some flax meal for fiber and to replace 1egg. I put some carob chips on top of the hot cake and they melted into a frosting. It was moist & chocolatey – great texture and flavor. It had no bean taste and is low on the glycemic index. Wii make this again. Thanks

  26. Pingback: 5 Recipes for well-being – Healthy eating on our Pinterest board… « let's talk!

  27. WOW! This recipe is absolutely amazing! I have 3 kids who are very good at detecting “healthier desserts.” This cake went right under their radar! They were begging to lick the spoon and begging to try it as soon as it was frosted. I did use the second frosting recipe with the dates. It was slightly loose, but delicious nonetheless. Thanks so much for sharing this treasure 😄. It may be the only chocolate cake recipe I ever use!

  28. This cake was FABULOUS!!! I fooled everyone with it and they loved it!! I did use the coconut milk icing recipe as my husband hates avocados but I guarantee he wouldn’t have known it. Just yummy!!!! Was hard not to eat the whole thing!

  29. This cake is phenomenal and everyone who has tried it has raved about it! My favorite dessert!! However, for icing/frosting I prefer to use 6 TBSP of cacao raw chocolate, 3/4 cup of pure organic maple syrup, 1/3 cup melted coconut oil, 1 tsp of vanilla extract and a pinch of sea salt. Whisk till well blended, then spread over cake or cupcakes. YUMMM!

    • Hi Jessica,
      Contrary to common practice, I never look at calories but I focus on sugar content and protein amounts. This of course along with real food ingredients are key in helping me decide what I will bake for my family. This recipe meets all those requirements. Enjoy!

    • If you try the app called “my fitness pal” you’re able to put in your recipes and have the app calculate the calories/portion etc. It’s a free app too.

  30. Hi,
    Our oncologist has put my hubby on a low GI diet to help with chemo. Our boys really love chocolate and I would love to make everyone happy on the cake/ sweets front. Wondering if you have ever tried coconut palm sugar instead of honey in this cake recipe?

    • Yes from a taste perspective you would be ok. Not sure how the liquid ratio would be but you should be just fine. Xylitol especially from brands like Xyla is derived from North Anerican hardwood and does not affect blood sugar but tastes sweet. You could also do half and half with it and honey or coconut palm sugar. Good luck! Happy to hear you have a more progressive oncologist making such recommendations about low GI diet!

  31. Would this be a good recipe for a diabetic? I plan on making cupcakes for my nearest nursing home but some are diabetic. I don’t want them miss out on the cupcakes so I want diabetic cupcakes and regular cupcakes

    • Hi Heather, I would make these cupcakes for everyone. They won’t know the difference and will taste delicious!

  32. Wow.. made cake with no flour.. magically best from scratch chocolate cake ever..supermoizt..less calories and delicious

  33. Love this cake. Made it for my daughter’s 5th birthday last year, and am making it for her birthday again tomorrow. Very easy and delicious, everyone loved it.
    Going to top it with fresh raspberries and blueberries this time.

  34. Curious to find out if there are substitution for avocado (I realize it’s a key ingredient). Unfortunately it’s a food trigger for my fatty liver ironically, can’t digest it what so ever. Will definitely try the cake workout the frosting tho! I know the kids will love it and boost their proteins.

    • I sometimes just use the dark chocolate pieces from Costco 72% and place them on each cupcake when I take them out of the oven to let them melt as a frosting substitute.

  35. Can you sub Erythritol or the Xylitol? I’m hoping so, I just tried it. However, the batter came out very “liquidy”. Was it because of that or did I do something else wrong?

    • I’m hoping the cake turned out well despite the liquid texture. I’m quite sure you can substitute erythritol for xylitol. I’m not sure why your batter came out that the at though.

  36. Can I use regular baking powder? I do not have aluminum free baking powder. What is the difference? Thanks in advance! 🙂

    • Sodium aluminum sulfate makes about 20-25% of baking powder according to Wiki. I avoid aluminum in as many products I can whether it’s a product I apply on my skin or cook with. I do however use regular baking powder often as it can be difficult at times to find the aluminum free version.

    • Yes it should work fine. I don’t always find the right size can either and the recipe seems quite flexible with the slight variations in amount of black beans used.

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