Yep, that’s right. Chocolate cake made with black beans… from a can! And not a grain of flour to be seen!
I first discovered this recipe about 5 years ago and made it for for my then boyfriend (now husband’s) birthday. It was a roaring success! The original recipe has since had multiple incarnations and what you see here is what I consider the “perfected” version.
For example, I use to use butter-flavoured Crisco(!), which is great for makin’ biscuits, but I’ve since discovered that coconut oil (or plane ol’ butter) is so much better for this recipe. I also used to use regular Hershey’s cocoa… but man oh man does the Special Dark make it look and taste like black gold. Oh, and the very first time I made this cake, the plan was to make a center layer of coffee flavoured icecream. Let’s just say that Baskin Robbin’s is working some kind of magic juju on their cakes because my “attempt” was a melted pool of coffee ice cream in the bottom of the freezer!
This cake has been with us for every one of T’s birthdays since, and a few others in between. She even made an appearance at our wedding, topped with a cute little bride and groom and was the actual cake that we cut! (see photos below)
I hope that you enjoy this recipe as much as I have. And if you find a different way to make it, fee free to “make it” your own!
beans, any color)
-5 large eggs
-1 tablespoon vanilla extract
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-6 tablespoons coconut oil, melted (or unsalted butter, melted)
-1 cup sugar
-6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (= 1/3 cup + 1 TBS) (I prefer Hershey’s Special Dark)
-1 teaspoon baking powder
-1/2 teaspoon baking soda
-1 tablespoon water
Note: this recipe only makes one 9″ layer cake, or two 6″ rounds. Double recipe to make two 9″ round layers. (Or just make a small batch of cup cakes.)
Preheat oven to 325°F. Line with parchment (parchment is your friend! Trust me– it took me forever to learn this, but now I never bake without it!) and spray rim and parchment with Baker’s Joy (it truly is a joy. Life changing even.) A quick spray under the parchment will keep it in place.
Drain and rinse beans in a colander; shake off excess water. Add beans, eggs, vanilla, water, salt, and sugar into blender. Blend on high until beans are completely liquified. No lumps!
Next, pop the top off that hole in the blender lid and slowly pour in the coconut oil while the blender is on a low setting. You’re basically making an emulsion (think Hollandaise sauce), which I think makes a really smooth, silky batter.
Then, with the blender still on, slowly add your cocoa and baking powder. Blend until smooth.
Pour batter into pan(s). It will be slightly thinner than “normal” cake batter. Grab the edges of the pan and whap it on the counter a few times– you’ll see the air bubbles pop. This final step really matters, so don’t forget!
Now, when it comes to bake times for this cake, unfortunately, there’s no hard and fast rule. I usually make this cake as two 6″ in rounds, so I start the time at 30 minutes, then add time at 3-5 minute increments until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Sometimes that means one round comes out at 40 minutes, and the other at 45. But trust me, checking the cake often and pulling whichever one bakes first is worth it for a deliciously moist cake!
When cakes are done, remove from oven and let cool in the pan for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, turn the cake out on a cooling rack and let cool completely before icing.
Melting the coconut oil/butter is a bit unconventional, but I think it makes for a super smooth, silky frosting.
Place sugar, cocoa, and pinch of salt in mixing bowl and stir with a spoon to incorporate. With the mixer on low, slowly add the hot coffee and vanilla, then slowly add the melted coconut oil or butter. Continue to mix until frosting is smooth. Allow frosting to come to room temperature before using. If frosting is lumpy, transfer to a microwave safe bowl and zap it for a 10-20 seconds, then return to mixing bowl and beat until smooth.
*I have learned the hard way that coconut oil does not a good icing make in the summer months. Or really any time the temperature is or might rise above 76°. To remedy this, use 1/2 coconut oil 1/2 butter. The icing might have a different sheen, but it sure beats having melted icing running everywhere.