Birthday Black Bean Chocolate Cake with Coconut Meringue Frosting & Passion Fruit Curd
It was my birthday on Tuesday and I turned 25. Yikes, I feel like I’m getting old! I still remember turning 16 and feeling that was so grown up, but that was now nearly 10 years ago – scary!
I had been thinking through various different cake options to bake for my birthday and had almost settled on a carrot cake concoction, when I saw a recipe for black bean chocolate cake that just grabbed my attention completely and blew all other cake options out the water. I’d heard of black bean brownies, but never seen them used in a cake before. The cake looked so rich and decadent and was naturally gluten free as the beans replaced all the flour! I had found my birthday cake!
I had the cake layers for my birthday cake but still needed to decide on what to pair with it – chocolate, coffee, peanut butter, vanilla, caramel, cherries…I then remembered I had a jar of passion fruit curd sitting in the cupboard that my aunt had bought back from France for me. The idea of the sharp fruity passion fruit against the chocolate cake really appealed to me. Staying on the tropical theme I decided to make a simple meringue frosting, flavoured and decorated with coconut to give it twist.
Half way through making the beany cake layers I was a little unsure how they would turn out. After blitzing the beans with the eggs and sugar it smelt distinctly savoury and earthy and not at all like a sweet chocolate cake. I decided to press on anyway and by the end of the mixing process a delicious rich chocolate fluffy batter had been created that resembled soft chocolate mousse. It looked much more appealing and the raw batter tasted wonderful, no hint of beans!
Once baked, cooled and assembled I was really pleased with how the cake turned out. I loved the contrast between the dark cake and the snow white frosting. The flavours were also wonderfully contrasting. Rich chocolate cake, sharp and tangy passion fruit curd and then super sweet coconut meringue.
The cake was dense in texture, but deliciously moist. A cross between a brownie and flourless chocolate cake. I didn’t tell anyone what the secret ingredient was and tried to make them guess. No one did until I started giving them huge hints, but everyone agreed it was delicious. I’ll certainly make the cake layers again, maybe pairing them with raspberries or cherries next time, or a bitter coffee ganache for an extra indulgent adult dessert!
You may well be sceptical about adding beans to your cake, but give it a go and I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.
Black Bean Chocolate Cake with Coconut Meringue Frosting & Passion Fruit Curd
Recipe adapted from Chocolate and Carrots blog
Black Bean Chocolate Cake
1 400g can black beans (240g drained weight)
2 tsp vanilla extract
155g caster sugar
40g cocoa powder
1 tsp gluten free baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
Coconut Meringue Frosting
1 egg white
100g caster sugar
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp coconut extract
25ml water (or coconut water)
2 tbsp passion fruit curd (or any other curd of your choice)
2 tbsp desiccated coconut
Black Bean Chocolate Cake
Preheat the oven to 175C. Grease and line the base of two 6 inch round cake tins.
Drain and rinse the black beans under running water. Place into a food processor along with 2 eggs, vanilla and the sugar. Blitz until well combined and the beans are broken down. Scrape down the sides once or twice if necessary. There will be a few tiny bits of bean skin visible, but this is fine.
Make sure your butter is soft, and then blitz into the bean mixture, followed by the two eggs. It will split, but don’t worry.
In a small bowl combine the cocoa powder, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda. Add to the bean mixture and blitz again to incorporate. It should turn wonderfully chocolaty, thick and mousse-like in consistency.
Divide the batter between the cake tins and bake for 25-35 minutes. They will be risen and springy to the touch.
Allow to cool for 5 minutes in the tins, by which time they will relax and sink down to form an even layer. Turn out onto a cooling rack and leave to cool completely.
Coconut Meringue Frosting
Heat a pan filled with about 2 inches of water over a low heat, until it just comes to a simmer. Lightly whisk all the ingredients, expect the coconut extract together in a large heatproof bowl. Place the bowl over the top of the saucepan (it shouldn’t touch the water) and whisk continuously until the mixture reaches 160F/75C on a sugar thermometer. It should have turned white by this stage.
Remove the bowl from the heat and whisk the mixture vigorously with an electric mixer until thick, glossy and tripled in volume. It should feel cool to the touch and will take 4-5 minutes.
Whisk in the coconut extract.
Use immediately, as it will harden if left.
Place one cake layer on a serving place and spread over the passion fruit curd. Blob on some of the meringue frosting and spread out into an even layer.
Top with the second cake layer and use the rest of the frosting to ice the top of the cake.
Toast the desiccated coconut in a dry frying pan until lightly golden and then scatter over the top of the cake to decorate.
Leave to set for 30minutes before serving.
Best eaten within 2 days, after which the meringue frosting starts to break down.
Makes 1 x 6inch cake