WHAT’S in that cake?!



When I saw this recipe I was very skeptical…usually these kind leave a LOT to be desired.

But this is one moist and delicious dessert!  And unless you told someone they would never, in a million years, guess what the secret ingredient was.

It’s very flavorful and rises well…not eggy or too dense…just right.  It has a very nice texture and a tender, moist crumb.  (I thought it got better the next day – the flavors more intense and when stored in the fridge it’s nice and fudgey, almost.)

It’s beans and eggs with a little cocoa powder thrown in – it’s very good for you.  (The carbs are complex one and come from the beans.)  Seriously!  Do try this, you won’t be disappointed.

I have to give credit to Lauren from Healthy Indulgences for the inspiration.




One 15-ounce can unseasoned black or kidney beans – drained and rinsed (I prefer S&W kidney beans for this)

1 tablespoon water or coffee (the coffee will bring out more intense chocolate flavor)

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons butter, softened

1 cup Whey Low granular or maltitol

5 eggs


(I recently made the WHOLE thing in the blender.  Gets pretty thick, so you need a fairly powerful machine, but it works great. I pureed the beans first with the water/coffee and an egg…then added the rest of the eggs…then the remaining ingredients.  Processed till smooth.)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Coat a 9 or 10 inch cake pan with vegetable cooking spray.  Set aside.

In a blender, food processor or with a hand held blender wand, puree the beans, water/coffee, and vanilla until smooth.  Set aside.

In a small bowl combine the cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.

In a large bowl beat the butter and the Whey Low for one minute with an electric mixer.  Beat in the eggs for two minutes, or until very light and fluffy.  Beat in the bean mixture, just until combined.  Beat in the cocoa mixture for one minute, until very smooth.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Allow to cool completely on a wire rack.  Wrap tightly with plastic wrap or frost and cover.  Makes 10 servings.

Per Serving: Calories 171; Protein 6 g; Fat 11 g; NET Carbs 10 g; Sugar 5 g; Sodium 155 mg


58 Comments Add yours

  1. April says:

    Hi Linda, can Splenda granular be used instead of the Whey Low?

    1. Linda says:

      Splenda doesn’t “cream” very well…it never gets that fluffy, light and creamy texture that you should get when you cream the fat with the sugar or sub.

      However the original recipe called for all sorts of different sweeteners – she said Splenda could be used. I just don’t care for it in my baked goods – find that it doesn’t give as nice a texture and crumb.

      Using Splenda the cake would taste okay – but might be more dense and not as high or light.

  2. Kelly says:

    I’ve tasted the black bean brownies before and they definitely surprised me so I imagine this cake would as well. From the look of the picture it looks like it has a gorgeous crumb. I’m glad that foodblogs brought me to your site because I am enjoying your healthy recipes.

  3. Your Chocolate cake turned out great. It looks very airy. I always make this dessert when one of my hubby’s friend (who’s allergic to gluten) comes to visit. Check out my version (with garbanzo beans) at http://www.phamfatale.com/id_167/title_Gluten-Free-Chocolate-Cupcakes-with-Cherry-Cream-Cheese-Frosting/

  4. natalie says:

    oh wow, very cool! never thought to use beans as the flour!! looks so yummy and moist too!!

  5. Linda says:

    I am so glad I found your site through Foodgawker! My party is over and I need to really clean up the diet and your site is wonderful and full of so many good healthy recipes. I am looking forward to exploring and trying your recipes. Thanks.

  6. Ellie says:

    I’ve been wanting to do the black bean brownies…but your cake looks AMAZING! And now you have me hooked in to trying it! I know it will be good…. As I have tried another of your recipes before.Is there anything else I can substutute for the Whey Low? Will regular sugar be ok? Is the amount of 1 Cup sugar the same as 1 cup of Whey Low?

    1. Linda says:

      Regular sugar would work just fine, and yes, the measurements are one to one.

      I actually liked this better with the kidney beans, but the black is great, too! Such choices we have to make!!

  7. Debbie says:

    Hi Linda,

    Can you buy the Whey Low in a regular grocery store? And is it by the sugar? I can’t wait to try this recipe. It looks so light and airy! I love your website by the way!


    1. Linda says:

      Whole Foods does carry some of their products…if you have one near you. Other than that HERE is a list of the retail stores that sell it.

      1. Debbie says:

        Thank you! I don’t have a Whole Foods close by but will look when I go to Austin next month.

  8. cara says:

    I’ve made this recipe from Lauren too. I agree, it’s wonderful! I managed to fool some friends with it too 🙂

  9. stephchows says:

    ooo the crumb looks delectable! I’ve tried making a black bean cake before… but my results looked nothing like this haha

  10. DebbieW says:

    This cake is so luscious, and it’s REAL food, too! It actually made more than the 10 servings for me, it was so rich! Thank you so much.

    What was your comment on the kidney beans? Can you do this with other types of beans for other flavors, too?

    1. Linda says:

      Thank you, Debbie! I’m so glad you loved it – I agree: It’s almost a meal…I mean beans and eggs?…yes!

      I actually liked it better with the red kidney beans. It was a little drier, but almost more flavorful/creamy like kidney beans are. (My favorite brand is S&W. They are very good!)

      I just made one with white kidney beans and used oat flour instead of cocoa powder and a little cornstarch. It’s still cooling on the counter, so I’ll let you know what it’s like and – hopefully take a pic tomorrow!

      I did one with garbanzos (figured they would work because they are fairly dry) and almond flour for the cocoa. WRONG, wrong-wrong. Oily, greasy, eggy, dense….not good.

  11. TakeTheCake says:

    Dear Linda.. can I add protein to this?

    1. Linda says:

      STOP IT. Just…stop!

  12. Cmac says:

    Great recipe I just made this and shocked a lot of people. Because I was short on time I through all the ingredients in the blender and blended it until it was a nice cake batter then baked it. Work out great.

    1. Linda says:

      Just made this completely in the blender and it worked almost BETTER than my method above. VERY thick and rich batter. Thanks for the suggestion!

  13. Wilma says:

    Made the cake with black beans and Hershey’s dark cocoa powder. Wonderful, moist and exactly like the moist chocolate cupcake with the chocolate topping and squiggle on it with cream filling. Think I will make those sugar free for Halloween party this weekend.

  14. TakeTheCake says:

    I made this to encourage my husband to leave the candy for the little tricksters on Halloween day. It worked! I only got one small serving. (he has control issues, but not a weight problem.. lucky man) The following morning I hid away one last tiny sliver.. it was phenomenal the first day, and even more so the second!! This, from a person who is very cake critical and not even a chocoholic. My husband is not a fair judge, he eats everything, but when it comes to cake, I compare to my grandmas magical scratch cakes. This is really good, and that is not even taking into account that it is very low carb for cake… factor that in, and OH MY GOODNESS!

    I used canned kidney beans..

    Thank-you Linda, you’ve done it again!!!

  15. Penny says:

    Hi Linda:

    Do you have any experience using Xylitol in place of the sweetener for this recipe?

    1. Linda says:

      I don’t.
      I do know that the volume created by beating the butter and sugar/sugar sub is very needed for the texture. Unless you used the xylitol that measures like sugar. (I thought there was one like that…could be wrong.)

  16. Tinamarie says:

    I made this today and it is fab-u-lous! my kids even loved it! i had to tell them to back off…its my WLS cake!
    Linda, my step dad just started chemotherapy a few weeks ago and he is also diabetic. I am making a collection of your recipes that I have made and when we go home in December, I plan on making several of these dishes for him.
    Thanks so much!

  17. Caitlin says:

    I made this cake two days ago for my sisters birthday and it was great! So moist and rich, but I have to say it taste even better today.

  18. Krys says:

    “or frost and cover”

    I’m guessing this is a stupid question, as no one else seems to have asked… but frost with what? What did you sprinkle on top of it?


    1. Linda says:

      I sprinkled Whey Low powdered over the top. Works great!

  19. Tonia says:

    My mom and I made the flourless chocolate cake tonight. Love it! After going through the holiday weekend watching everyone else eat sweets that I couldn’t eat, I needed this!

    Thanks so much for the recipe!

  20. Yvette Goins says:

    Linda –
    I made this for Easter and it was sooo good. Even my picky teenager liked this. No way am I telling him what it’s made with!


  21. Paula G says:

    All I can say is WOW!
    I never would have thought that kidney beans could taste so good. I’m a diabetic so I am always looking for substitution recipes…and this one takes the cake 🙂
    Thank you for posting this and the many others you have posted.

  22. Amy Rene says:

    Making this for the first time today. I may do a Black Forest kind of thing with it,and spoon NSA cherry pie filling over the top and a little whipped cream. I can’t wait.

  23. Amy Rene says:

    Has anyone tried making this recipe into cupcakes? Just wondering what the bake time would be.

    1. Linda says:

      For regular sized cupcakes it would be about 15-20 minutes!

  24. hollie says:

    i want to make this for my sons first birthday and am curious how long would the baking time be for 6×2 inch rounds?

    1. Linda says:

      I would start with 25 minutes and check it frequently after that…every couple of minutes.

  25. hollie says:

    so i made the cake tonight !!! LOVE IT!!! this is the best chocolate cake recipe i have ever tasted.. i was skeptical but NO bean taste!! my son doesnt need to eat gluten free but i figured it would be a better choice for his first bday.. thanks so much for the recipe, this will be my one and only choco cake recipe 😀

  26. Lauren B. says:

    I shared your version of bean cake at the original Chocolate Cake with a Secret post. It’s so cool you made it with kidney beans! How do you like Whey Low? Do you have a post where you talk more about it? I’m wondering how it’s digested vs. other sugars. You have a great site here, Linda. Beautiful photos. 🙂

  27. Alexis asher says:

    Can I substitute anything for the eggs? I follow a vegan diet. Usually I will do bananas but I’m concerned that 5 will change the taste.

    1. Linda says:

      Alexis! I found this online and it looks promising. I am sure subbing the black eyed peas for black or kidney beans would probably be fine, since they would have the same texture when pureed.


  28. Jan says:

    I don’t have a blender. Anyone try using a cuisinart? This looks to die for. Rich Chocolate cake without a lot of carbs. BTW, I made your pancakes this morning with the cottage cheese and pumpkin pie spice. Awesome! I’m a diabetic and it was so nice to see my numbers weren’t affected.

    1. Linda says:

      Yes, you can use a food processor to make this! Thanks for the compliment on the pancakes – love those!!

  29. Gwen M. says:

    I made this last night and it was so yummy! I had to use xylitol because that is what I had on hand. WOW- It is super tasty and moist! The only “problem” is that when I went to remove it from the pan it was so moist it all fell apart. My hubby and I don’t mind since it’s all going the same place. LOL. But I wouldn’t be able to make it and take somewhere looking like that. Any suggestions? Thanks again for the great recipe!!

    1. Linda says:

      Gwen, thanks for the comment and I’m so glad you loved it! For me it got more ‘dense’ and easier to handle the longer it sat. Maybe try a parchment paper round in the bottom and that should help tremendously!

  30. Yvette says:

    I just made these again for a weight-loss group I belong to at work and everyone loved them!! So glad I have your site for my inspiration!

  31. Yvette says:

    I made this as cupcakes and added peppermint whipped cream to the top instead of frosting.

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