Saturday 4 April 2015

The Kitchen Front - Vegan Cocoa Cake

The healthy eating plan I put myself on early in the year essentially allows me to eat most things in moderation apart from anything processed and anything containing refined sugar (which when you cut out processed foods you pretty much cut out sugar without trying, it's in everything!). This actually is not too much of an issue as I have much more of a savoury tooth than a sweet one and the fact that I've had an issue with dairy for the last year or so, means that I have already cut back on my Cadbury's consumption dramatically, now I only eat dark chocolate which I am slowly growing to enjoy, slowly.

But Easter is a challenge, as chocolate is everywhere! I muddled through last year by having a small bit of chocolate every now and then so as not to feel left out, but this year with me actively seeking to avoid sugar (my skin is thanking me already!) this time there are no concessions, and certainly no Cadburys. So I went searching for a replacement recipe, and this is when I found the wonderful Rachel Khoo's new website which had the very thing I had been looking for! Rachel is the wonder behind Little Paris Kitchen and she is adorable! 

It's a vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, sugar-free (well refined sugar, natural sugar is allowed) cake, which is so full of healthiness, that you could almost say it's good for you! I have made a few tweaks to the original recipe, as I am incapable of following the rules, so my version is below, for the original recipe hop on over to Rachel's website!

~ Vegan Black Bean Cocoa Cake ~

20" Cake Tin & Greaseproof paper for lining
400g Tin of Black Beans - Washed and Drained
100g Dates Pitted
3 Desert spoons of Coconut Oil
80g of Flaxseed/Linseed
80g Cocoa Powder
2 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
2 tsp Baking Powder
150g Maple Syrup
1tsp salt - I left this out as my beans were in salted water

2 Ripe Avocados
4 tbsp Cocoa Powder
Maple syrup to taste
Desiccated Coconut

If you wanted to make this recipe even healthier you could substitute:
- Cocoa Powder for Cacao powder (there is a lot of cocoa in the recipe so it may be a bit expensive)
- Dates for Medjool dates which are bigger sweeter and a little less pithy than their smaller cousins.

1. Start by grinding up the flaxseed/linseed into a flour. The easiest way to do this is to find the smallest container for your blender/food processor or coffee grinder (mine was a herb/spice attachment to my jug blender), this means there is less room for the seeds to escape to, so the seeds get crushed rather than just spinning around your blender like a vegan snow globe!

2. Drain and wash the beans (they don't smell very nice at this point, but don't be put off, it gets better, promise) put in the blender with the pitted dates and blend until smooth, this may take a while depending on the strength of your blender. If it gets too thick to blend properly, add a bit of the maple syrup to make it more liquid.

3. Add in the all of the dry ingredients and the maple syrup. Mix together until you have an even batter.

4. Line your tin and scoop your mixture in, smoothing as much as you can.

5. Pop in the oven for about 45 mins gas mark 5.

6. Once cooked, carefully tip out onto a plate so that it can cool. Be careful as the lack of gluten in this recipe means that it is dense but easily crumbly!

...Once cooled...

7. Make the topping. Put all the avocado pulp into a blender with the cocoa and blitz till smooth, add the maple syrup to taste.

8. Spread the topping all over the cooled cake.
As my blender struggled to make the avocado as smooth as I would like (green chunks in your icing anyone!) I decided to add a sprinkling of desiccated coconut over the top to hide the green bits and then drizzled over some Manuka Honey to add a little more sweetness!

The verdict!
De-flipping-licous! It's gooey, chocolatey and rich, which is absolutely everything you want when craving an Easter sweetness fix! What's also great is that by day 2 the flavours have mellowed a little and so it tastes even better! Another thing, because it's jam packed full of black beans it carries a hefty protein punch, filling you up for longer and kerbing your sugar cravings!

 I will totally be making this recipe again, I think it would make perfect little cupcakes, though I will tweak the recipe a tad, instead of 80g of Linseed, I will use half ground almonds and half linseed, as it did leave a bit of an aftertaste (though not unpleasant just slightly unusual, though by day two it had dissipated).

So delighted was I with this recipe, that I rang my mum to tell her about it. After I'd explained what was in it, she was utterly horrified (I have never heard my mum say erghh! so many times before) and she could not understand why I would even try it! Though I have a cunning plan, the next time she visits I am going to bake it as I am convinced that she will change her mind once she has tasted it, though I won't be mentioning the ingredients until she's on her second slice!

Wendy x


  1. I would have never associated black beans with cake, but after reading that recipe I reckon it sounds very tempting. This is something that Husband would probably like as he's on a health kick too at the moment. Thanks for sharing this Wendy, as I wouldn't have come across it otherwise xx

  2. That sounds really good! My grandmother uses a similar recipe for making chocolate brownies with black beans and loves it. I'm on a no-processed food eating plan as well, so I may have to give your cake recipe a try :)

  3. That looks really yummy! One of my sisters is doing a 'paleo' diet that sounds a lot like how you're eating. I'll have to pass on this recipe to her! :D

  4. Watching a cake, white eating a cake... yes, I can manage. :)