Saturday, September 18, 2010

Healthy Chocolate Cake

I love dessert...and I love dessert even more when it's delicious AND I can enjoy it with a sense of smug satisfaction that it's way healthier than it tastes.  You won't believe me when you see the ingredient list, but I guarantee you that you can take this cake anywhere.  Give it to your kids.  Take it to work.  Serve it at birthday parties (I totally have).  Then sit back and feel extra smug when the masses rave and rave about how awesome it is...

Why yes.  Yes it is.  Thank you.

Healthy Chocolate Cake

3 eggs
1 can plain, unflavored black beans
1/4 c butter
1 1/2 c. high-quality semi-sweet chocolate chips
3/4 c. sugar
1 T pure vanilla extract
1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. baking soda 

How To Make It:
Preheat oven to 350.  Spray a glass (or Corelle -- whatever that's made of) casserole pan with cooking spray for nonsticky goodness.  Get out your food processor.  You'll need it in a minute.

Melt the chocolate and butter together and stir til completely blended.  Drain and rinse the black beans, eradicating any trace of gooey can stuff.  Dump all of the ingredients into a food processor, close the top, and turn it on until the batter has zero lumps in it.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for ~40ish minutes until the cake pulls away from the sides and the middle isn't runny anymore.  It may crack a little on top...this is ok.

Let cool....serve...and try not to eat it all in one sitting.  You can top it with a dollop of whipped cream if you're feeling fancy.  Icing is optional, and pretty much totally unnecessary.  These have the consistency of brownies...

A few things I've learned along the way (subtitle:  How to Avoid a Bean Cake Disaster):

1.  You want beans.  It probably goes without saying that spicy onion black beans are going to suck in a cake, but attention to what you're buying!

2.  Use real chocolate chocolate chips.  If you're going to the trouble of trying to make a healthy cake, let's leave out the creepy chocolate liquor and partially hydrogenated weird stuff.  Look at the ingredients.  If the first ingredient isn't something recognizable like "unsweetened chocolate," carefully put down the bag and look for a different one.  My favorite is Ghiradelli 60% cacao bittersweet chocolate baking chips.  Your results may vary.

3.  Pure vanilla extract > imitation vanilla alcohol stuff.  (see note 2)  Splurge for the good stuff.  It's totally worth it.

4.  If you don't have a food processor, you can use a blender...but it will take some extra work.  The blades on most blenders are really small and pretty deep in the dish.  You may have to stop and start (and maybe push it all around with a spoon) to get everything whirled around sufficiently.  And, again it probably goes without saying, but you don't want stray lumps in your cake.  It will make people suspicious (which seriously cuts into your sense of smug satisfaction at having gotten away with something).

5.  Feel free to experiment with the recipe a little.  I'm totally an approximator (and had to really think about how much I use of everything to even write this down).  Maybe you'll like more vanilla (I haven't measured vanilla into anything since 1984).  Maybe you'll want it a little more cake-like (add a few T of whole wheat flour)...  Maybe you're part of the chia seed or flax revolution and looking for new places to hide them (add a few T before the whirling)...  Maybe you don't mind your chocolate a little less sweet (decrease the sugar a bit)....  Maybe you want something a little fancier (add in a few raspberries before the whirling)...  This is a really versatile cake base....go nuts (ooh...nuts.  I bet you could put nuts in it too, if you wanted...)

6.  One final lesson I've learned the hard way:  If you're going to spill the beans (get it?  Har...) about the secret ingredient in this cake, do NOT tell people until after they've eaten some and are begging for more...  I've found over the years that even a delicious cake can have a hard time standing up to philosophical objections...and that it's much harder for folks to object when there's a big bite of chocolaty deliciousness melting in their mouths.  

Why is this cake healthy?  Consider the three main ingredients:  Black beans are full of fiber and protein...and eggs up the protein factor that much more.  A high quality chocolate (the darker the better) provides some rockin' antioxidants.  It's still a dessert, of course...but it's a dessert that packs a nutritional wallop that will totally offset your kid's affinity for the All Cheese Diet.

Enjoy dessert...and the smugness!


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Labelmaker said...

I cant wait to try this! But I have one question: if it's the consistancy of brownies, why is it referred to as cake, instead of, well, brownies?

MonkeyMom said...

Poetic license? :) (I have no idea)