Chocolate Bean Cake, from Debbie in Portland

This is something Debbie made and brought for me to try, as we were driving all over the rainy greater Portland area last weekend. That’s “Chocolate is Non-Negotiable” Debbie. If you can’t beat the chocolate addiction, make it tons more nutritious! This cake is rich and yummy and it comes to you with love from Portland–enjoy!

Debbie’s Chocolate Bean Cake

Smother this in the Chocolate Sauce (below).

2 cups whole-grain flour

¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

¾ cup coconut sugar

¼ cup flax seed, ground

2 tsp. baking powder, non-aluminum

½ tsp. Original Crystal Himalayan Salt (or Real Salt)

2 cups cooked beans (lima, navy, cannellini)–about 1 ½ 15 oz. cans, rinsed well

1 to 2 tsp. vanilla

1 ¼ cup almond or rice milk

½ cup pure maple syrup

Preheat oven to 350. Combine first 6 dry ingredients in a bowl. In blender, puree next 4 wet ingredients. Pour blender mix into bowl of dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Add a little water if batter seems thick. Pour into 8″ square baking pan. Bake 45 min. or until toothpick in center comes out clean. Cover with Sauce now, or each piece individually as needed. Can be refrigerated or frozen.

Chocolate Sauce

1 cup coconut sugar

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tsp. Original Crystal Himalayan Salt

1 cup almond or rice milk

1 – 3 tsp. vanilla

1 – 3 tsp. flax oil or nut butter (optional, aids with texture)

Mix first 3 ingredients in a medium bowl. Add next 3 wet ingredients and stir well. Refrigerate and use as needed. May need to be stirred again before first use, as cocoa powder tends to float to the top.

24 thoughts on “Chocolate Bean Cake, from Debbie in Portland

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  1. I was wondering what I could replace the maple syrup with? I am allergic to it , and am frustrated because I want to make this recipe on the site, plus others that are in the 12 Steps to Whole Foods program. What can you replace it with?

  2. Jorja- the cake batter should be very thick, like drop biscuit batter or a little thinner than cookie dough. I don’t need to add water, but do bake it longer than 45 minutes. Maybe if the oven temp was down a little it would work? The cake is dense, like coffee cake, and moist inside, but a toothpick does come out clean for me when in an 8″ pan.

    Mike- about the sugar- the coconut sugar in the cake could be cut down. I originally used evaporated cane sugar and like things pretty sweet. For the sauce, I put some on each piece of cake individually, so it is to taste. I keep some in the fridge (lasts a week or two) and use it on the cake, coconut ice cream, or whatever needs a little chocolate for a dessert. As a side note, I also make it with half raw ground cacao powder and half regular cocoa powder.

    Barbara–I don’t have to be gluten free, so don’t know all the ins and outs of that, but do try to use alternatives to wheat just for variety. For this cake, I usually blend oatmeal to a fine flour for half of the flour, then use other whole grain flours for the rest–spelt or brown rice flour, though quinoa and millet flour would probably also work.

    Thanks to everyone who gave feedback, alternative ingredients, and new recipes to try. I’m always on the lookout for healthy (or healthier) chocolate ideas!


  3. What consistency should the batter be? I did add extra water and it was quite thick. I baked and baked but the toothpick never came out clean. I finally took it out of the oven because the top was getting black! It is still doughy in the middle! Is it really supposed to go in an 8″ square pan?

    It seems like more liquid and a larger pan would work better?

    Thanks for any pointers,

  4. Recipe sound good as does Laura’s brownie recipe. Does anybody know what I can substitute for the sweetener in the recipes? My husband is prediabetic and needs to lose weight but loves his sweets! I would assume, dates, maple syrup, sugar are all out of the question? Thanks for any input.

  5. From a magazine, but via a book called Real Foods or something, a brownie recipe with no grain at all (good for me because I can’t eat any grain) and quite delicious.

    Real Food Brownies

    1 ¼ cups (about 10 ounces) pitted dates

    9 Tablespoons raw cacao or cocoa powder

    ¼ cup oil (macadamia nut preferred)

    ½ cup raw honey

    2 cups canned garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained

    4 eggs

    ½ teaspoon baking powder

    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

    Preheat oven to 350*F. Measure dates into liquid measuring cup, and pour in hot water to the 1 ½ cup line, turning the dates over until the water reaches all the dates. Let sit for at least 10 minutes. Pour off and discard ¼ cup of the liquid, and process the remaining liquid and dates in a blender or food processor until a smooth paste forms.

    Put the date paste into a large bowl, add the cacao or cocoa powder, oil, and honey, mixing well. Combine the beans and eggs in a blender or food processor, and process until smooth. Add the bean mixture to the date mixture, stirring well. Add the baking powder and cinnamon. Stir. Pour the batter into a 9X13 inch non stick or greased pan. Bake for 40-45 minutes. Cool for at least 15 minutes.

    Optional: add chopped nuts before pouring into baking pan.

  6. Coconut sugar is almost impossible to get in the UK, but I did sneak some stevia in my luggage last time I can back. Anyone know how much stevia I should use to replace the sugar in this amazing sounding recipe? Thanks.

  7. For anyone who needs to convert recipes to gluten-free, our favorite find is It certainly won’t be as “healthy” as whole wheat flour, but for those of us with gluten/wheat intolerance, it’s been a life-saver. A recipe saver anyway.

    It has worked perfectly in every recipe I have tried, except crescent rolls came out a little heavy.

    I can’t wait to try this cake for our next occasion. Thanks for sharing!

    (p.s. I have no affiliation with betterbatter. Just a very satisfied customer who is happy to be baking again.)

  8. Has anyone found a good way to cut and paste the recipies from the blog? It take me a while to remove the coments and the leave a comment boxes is always there and I have not figured out how to delete it. Thanks

    1. Much healthier than the alternative. On my 1, 2, 3 scale in 12 Steps (3 being all raw), it’s a 1. An improvement over “normal” chocolate cake.

  9. It sure would be great to have more gluten free conversions as this is an issue I have had with all the delicious recipes in the 12 Steps program involving wheat. Since I just recently found out about the hypothyroidism and gluten connection, I have sworn off wheat. Since doing so over the last few weeks, my acid reflux has improved greatly! Keep those gluten free recipes coming–please!

  10. I am so happy that you are going to film it. I look forward to learning what you and the others have to teach. I hope you set another retreat up soon. I would love to come during the summer when all the markets are full of wonderful food.

  11. Dear Robyn, I am so disappointed. I was planning to book my airfare and hotels this weekend for the Retreat. I have been struggling for the last 2 weeks about deciding to spend the money to get from Missouri to Utah, pay for a hotel, car rental, and the cost of the conference. I made the decision that this was something very important to my health and worth the money. Now I am reading that it is not in April but rather in May. I am a counselor at a high school and it falls on our graduation weekend. There is no way I can possibly come now. Are you going to video the sessions? I really wanted to learn from all of the different presenters and taste all the food. Tasting is not going to happen but I would still love to hear what everyone has to teach. Will you be having another retreat this year?

    1. Hi Diane, I was going to talk about it–I made a bunch of videos about it this week–just hadn’t done it yet. However, we’ve emailed everyone who has signed up so far…..

  12. Robyn,

    What type of crystal pendant is that you wear (or wore). You held it up in one of your video demonstrations but didn’t say exactly what kind it was.

    Thanks. 🙂

  13. This sounds awesome! I’ve seen chocolate cake using black beans, but not the “white” beans. Interesting!

    On a side note, Robyn, is the retreat in April or May? The banner above says April, but when you click on it, the info it brings up says May? Just wanted to clarify so I can decide if I will be able to attend. I sure hope I can!

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