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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

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

Leave a Comment
  1. Anonymous says:

    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!

    1. Robyn Openshaw says:

      Cheryl, sorry–need to fix the banner–it’s now MAY 19-21, hope you’re here with us!!

  2. This works beautifully with lentils, too! I prefer lentils or black beans because white beans make it look less rich, and therefore fool less children. 🙂

  3. Anonymous says:


    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. 🙂

    1. Robyn Openshaw says:

      Michelle: Q Link.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Why has the retreat been changed and why has it not been posted and explained? Thanks

    1. Robyn Openshaw says:

      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…..

  5. Anonymous says:

    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. Robyn Openshaw says:

      Jeanne, awwww, shoot. I am so sorry. I am looking into filming the whole thing, yes.

  6. Anonymous says:

    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.

  7. Anonymous says:

    How could this recipe be altered to make it gluten free?

  8. Anonymous says:

    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!

  9. Anonymous says:

    1 3/4 c sugar, + maple syrup, don’t know how it can be labeled healthy.

    (but bet it’s deliciuos :o)

    1. Robyn Openshaw says:

      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.

  10. Anonymous says:

    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

  11. Anonymous says:

    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.)

  12. Anonymous says:

    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.

  13. Anonymous says:

    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.

  14. Anonymous says:

    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.

  15. Anonymous says:

    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,

    1. Robyn Openshaw says:

      Jorja, will call Debbie’s attention to this question–

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