By Hannah Sherwood
I’m in Bake Off mode, but with an eye on a growing baking trend – gluten-free cakes. So I’ve eschewed my usual sugar, butter, flour and chocolate cake for a lighter recipe, using cocoa and black beans…
In her book Cut the Carbs! Tori Haschka proves you can cook without white carbs and the result will still taste good, filling you up without making you feel bloated or sluggish.
Not that we’re advocating cutting out carbs – a healthy diet needs bread, pasta and rice, preferably wholegrain. Tori adopted a carb-free lifestyle for health reasons, so her book is good for people who have intolerances, particularly to gluten. She says her chocolate, black bean and cherry cake is the simplest cake ever, so I just had to give it a go to see how it compared to a standard chocolate cake.
After reading the method and weighing out the ingredients, I begin to understand why Tori declares it a breeze to make; it’s a bung-everything-in-the-food-mixer-jobby (apart from the cherries) and blitz. That’s it!
There’s no flour – instead, you use a tin of black beans (rinsed). It’s also fat free, but there are three eggs so the mixture is rather runny. Unlike some chocolate cakes, this recipe only uses cocoa powder, again helping to keep the fat and sugar levels down. The only slight labour involved was pitting the cherries, but really it was a minor task.
The batter was runny, nothing like a normal cake batter, which is thick and creamy, so I was dubious when popping the loaf tin in the oven. 35 minutes later and it had risen slightly and smelt chocolatey and, more importantly, like I wanted to eat it! It turned out of the tin easily, almost resembling a brownie. It’s best enjoyed warm and, as Tori says, would be great served as a dessert with a small dollop of reduced-fat crème fraîche.
The taste factor
The flavour was still good the next day and if I hadn’t told the HFG team it didn’t have flour or any fat in, I’m not sure they would have guessed.
It’s a fab, easy bake and at only 97 calories a slice (based on 10 servings), could almost be classed as a cake that is actually healthy! Compared with a standard slice of chocolate cake with butter icing, you’re saving 210 calories, 15.7g fat, 5.2g saturates and 11.3g sugar…
See and enjoy the recipe here:
1 x 400g tin of black beans, rinsed
100g caster sugar
1 shot (30 ml) espresso or 1tbsp strong filter coffee (you can use decaf if you prefer)
3tbsp cocoa powder
1tsp baking powder (check it is gluten free if cooking for a coeliac crowd)
125g cherries, pitted (can be frozen, and you can also substitute other berries), plus extra to serve
Icing sugar, yogurt, crème fraîche or fresh cherries, to serve (optional)
20 x 12.5cm loaf tin, greased and lined with baking paper
1 Heat the oven to 180˚C/fan 160°C/gas 4. Using a stick blender and mixing bowl, blender or food processor, combine all the ingredients except the cherries and blitz until smooth. The batter will appear quite runny, but don’t worry. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf tin and scatter the cherries over the top. Bake the loaf for 35 min, or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out with a few fudgy crumbs on it.
2 Leave to cool in the tin for 5 min, then turn it out. Dust with icing sugar and serve warm with more cherries, yogurt or half-fat crème fraîche for dessert, or allow it to cool and enjoy it with a cup of tea.
Per serving (based on 10): 97kcal, 2.3g fat, 0.6g sat fat, 12g sugar, 0.2g salt
Low cal, low sat fat, low salt, vegetarian, gluten-free, dairy-free