Are you looking for nut-free options when it comes to dairy-free / gf desserts, especially of the CAKE variety? I must admit that love my nutty desserts, but even more than that I love the thought of everyone having cake :) So the experiments never end here. From cauliflower, to avocado, to seedy cakes, oaty cakes, etc, you’ve got options. And now you’ve got beany options, too! I’ve been using black beans in baked chocolate cakes for ages, so it seemed about time they made their way into a no-bake treat.
I guess I began experimenting with adding beans to my raw cakes a few months ago and I have to say there was A LOT of trial and error along the way to make a cake I was happy with. It’s not as simple as it would seem. I sort of laugh at how easy I thought it would be when the idea first entered my head. Beans with some nuts in your dessert — you’re good. Beans without any nuts… now that’s where things get tricky, and you can easily find yourself in gritty / dry / chalky territory. Beware!
This black bean chocolate cake was a version I was finally super happy about. And so was my husband. He ate most of this cake (highly unusual!) and enthusiastically proclaimed “This! This actually tastes like a real dessert!” ? I hope that tells you something ;). Poor guy is not a dessert lover (understatement) but has to be my taste-testing guinea pig in these kitchen adventures more often than he’d like.
Anyways, this cake is really lovely. And super easy to throw together and get your chocolate fix in a hearty way. Another bean-cake bonus: it’s affordable! Have I convinced you yet? In case you’re wondering, no, you can’t taste the beans :) Just make sure you rinse them REALLY well if you’re using canned beans so you don’t get any added flavors in there… Wouldn’t want your chocolate cake to taste like kombu ;)
Now for the crust you can use any nut or seed you wish. I used pumpkin seeds to keep the cake “nut-free” since that’s the theme here… but almonds, cashews, pecans, etc. would all be lovely, and even oats, or a mix of whatever you’ve got on hand. Though I do quite like how it tastes with the pumpkin seeds, after all.
P.S. This recipe makes a tiny cake — 4″ (this is the springform pan I used to make it). For a 6″ cake, triple the recipe (or quadruple for a taller 6″).
P.P.S. There’s a video series on cake swirl patterns in the video pack in Unconventional Treats if you wanted to learn how to make this (or other) decorative pattern(s).Print
A gluten-free, vegan chocolate cake made with black beans and without using any nuts.
- ½ cup raw or roasted pumpkin seeds / pepitas
- 1 soft medjool date, pitted
- ½ tbsp coconut oil
- 1 tbsp agave
- 1 cup cooked (rinsed and drained) black beans
- 3 tbsp agave
- 2 tbsp plant milk (not coconut* — use rice milk, a nut milk, etc.)
- 2 tbsp coconut oil, liquefied
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- ½ tsp salt
- + 3 tbsp cacao powder
- cacao nibs, shaved chocolate, chocolate chips, etc., and some hemp seeds
- Process all crust ingredients, except agave, into a sticky crumble in a food processor. Add agave and process briefly to combine. Transfer this mixture into a 4″ springform pan and press down for form a crust. Place in the freezer while working on the next step.
- Process all filling ingredients, except cacao powder, in a high power blender. Once the filling is smooth, remove about 3 tbsp of this mixture and set aside for drizzling / making the swirl pattern (I used this pen tool to just draw it straight out of the blender). Add the cacao powder to the blender and blend the mixture once more until smooth.
- Transfer the mixture into the springform pan over the crust and smooth out the top. Drizzle some of the drizzle or make a swirl pattern of your choice. Sprinkle with desired toppings. Place in the freezer and chill for 4-5 hours for the cake to set. Allow the cake to thaw out a little at room temperature to soften a bit before serving. Enjoy!
*Coconut milk and raw cacao sometimes don’t get along in the freezer. I recommend using a different plant milk if possible.