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Chocolate Bean Cake, from Debbie in Portland

Robyn Openshaw - Feb 10, 2011 - This Post May Contain Affiliate Links

Debbie made this cake and had me try it when we visited rainy Portland last weekend. Debbie firmly believes that "Chocolate is Non-Negotiable!" 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


  • 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
  • 1-2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 ¼ cup almond or rice milk
  • ½ cup pure maple syrup


  1. Preheat oven to 350. Combine first 6 dry ingredients in a bowl.
  2. In blender, puree next 4 wet ingredients.
  3. Pour blender mix into bowl of dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Add a little water if batter seems thick.
  4. Pour batter into 8" square baking pan. Bake 45 minutes or until toothpick in center comes out clean.
  5. Cover entire cake with chocolate sauce (recipe below), or add to 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)


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

Read next: Need a Healthy Treat? 6 Easy Swaps for Your Favorite Recipes

Photograph of Robyn Openshaw, founder of Green Smoothie GirlRobyn Openshaw, MSW, is the bestselling author of The Green Smoothies Diet, 12 Steps to Whole Foods, and 2017’s #1 Amazon Bestseller and USA Today Bestseller, Vibe. Learn more about how to make the journey painless, from the nutrient-scarce Standard American Diet, to a whole-foods diet, in her free video masterclass 12 Steps to Whole Foods.

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links that help support the GSG mission without costing you extra. I recommend only companies and products that I use myself.

Posted in: Recipes, Whole Food

2 thoughts on “Chocolate Bean Cake, from Debbie in Portland”

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  1. Anonymous says:

    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!


  2. Anonymous says:

    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?

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