‘Chocolate cake’ might be a bit of an understatement for this cake. Who would have imagined that a cake made with legumes could ever be this light and tasty? 






Skill level

Average: 2.8 (114 votes)

This cake has a sophisticated bitterness to it – just add a little more stevia if you would like a sweeter version. Soak and cook your own kidney beans if you have the time – you’ll need 480 g (1 lb 1 oz) cooked beans.


  • melted butter, for greasing 
  • 100 g (3½ oz/1 cup) Dutch-processed cocoa powder, plus extra for dusting
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 x 420 g (15 oz) tins kidney beans, rinsed and drained 
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 tsp natural vanilla extract
  • ½–1 tsp liquid stevia (optional)
  • 150 g (5½ oz) butter, softened
  • 170 g (6 oz/½ cup) rice malt syrup
  • creamy natural yoghurt or crème fraîche, to serve

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Cooling time: 10 minutes

Preheat the oven to 160°C/320°F (fan-forced). Grease a 22 cm (8¾ in) baba or ring (or 20 cm/8 in round) tin generously with melted butter. Add a little of the extra cocoa powder to the cake tin, tilt the tin to cover the butter with the cocoa powder, then tip out the excess.

Combine the cocoa powder, baking powder and salt in a small bowl and set aside.

Whiz the beans, 1 egg, the vanilla extract and stevia (if using) in a food processor until smooth and creamy. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

Without cleaning the processor bowl, process the butter and rice malt syrup until smooth and creamy. Add the remaining eggs one at a time, processing well between each addition. Return the bean mixture 
to the processor and sift in the cocoa, baking powder and salt. Process until well combined.

Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 40–45 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre 
comes out clean. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Serve, dusted with extra cocoa if you like and a dollop of yoghurt or crème fraîche.

This cake will keep for 2–3 days in an airtight container.


This recipe is from Incredible Bakes (Smith Street Books). Photography by Chris Middleton.