Almost Vegan Chocolate Cake (with black beans and avocado. . . oh, and tofu.)

Okay, wha?

I can hear you all.

And I can see your noses all scrunched up like you all want NOTHING to do with this cake.

But don’t be fooled!

Well, don’t be fooled in either direction. I can’t claim it’s “healthy” because there’s no lying about the sugar content, BUT it’s got some healthy stuff in it – and not a lot of fat.

But also, don’t be fooled that it’s a pile of yucky grossness either, because it’s certainly not.

And, well, it’s not a knock-your-socks off-dang!-this-is-the-best-freakin-cake-i’ve-ever-eaten chocolate cake either.

But I will tell you what it IS:

  • It is a cake that requires a tall glass of milk, or a steaming cup of coffee as a dining partner, because it might stick to the roof of your mouth, or your teeth – which is perfectly fine by me.
  • It is an unusual textural combination between a cake, a bread, and a brownie.
  • It is chewy, thick, and dense – therefore a small slice is rightly satisfying.
  • The frosting is rich and flavorful.
  • It is a cake that calls your name from the other room when you’re vegged out on the couch at 10pm watching TV and your stomach starts to growl.
  • It’s “earthy”, as my middle guy put it. . . . Am I rubbing off on them?
  • “It’s good for having all that weird stuff in it” – as all the boys put it.

You know me by now. I believe in complete honesty when it comes to a new recipe. So, here’s the deal: I think this one still deserves a little tinkering. I was trying to accomplish too many things with one cake, so next time I will divide out my purposes and adjust the recipe accordingly. I wanted low-fat, vegan, black bean prominence (because lately, I feel like sticking beans in everything is a great idea). I wanted to experiment with avocado as the egg substitute as well as tofu as the shortening substitute in the frosting. I wanted to experiment with Earth Balance (because it’s vegan)  as the fat – and I did it all at once.

And then I realized only some sugars and coffees are considered vegan – and even then, some vegans just don’t eat or drink them at all.

No sugar? I will never be vegan. Oh, right, and I like meat and cheese too. . . .

So then, this is an almost-vegan, sort of healthy, stick-to-your-stomach cake.

Some changes I might suggest:

If you are not looking for a vegan recipe, but like the avocado/black bean options, then I would use avocado for the butter, use two eggs, and use buttermilk instead of coffee. Or, use real butter, keep the avocado as the egg substitute, add in a little sour cream, and adjust the coffee until your batter looks like the right consistency. You get it. Play around.

I encourage fiddling and tinkering.

And actually, I would suggest slight under-baking with this particular recipe – the outcome will leave you with a more brownie-like, fudgy texture.

OK then, have at it!

And let me know what your fiddling produces!


Almost Vegan Chocolate Cake


For the cake:
1 3/4 cups flour
1 cup vegan cocoa powder
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup rinsed black beans
3/4 cup coffee (if you are a coffee consuming vegan – if not, water will work too.)
1/4 cup Earth Balance “butter” spread, room temperature.
1/2 cup soft, mashed avocado
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar (for a vegan recipe, use beet sugar or agave syrup in place of both sugars)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

For the frosting:
1/2 cup Earth Balance, room temperature
1/2 cup silken tofu
3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup cocoa powder
3 1/2 – 4 1/2 cups powdered sugar


For the cake:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Spray a 9″x9″ baking dish with vegetable oil, and coat with flour.
In a medium bowl, add flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk to mix.
In a food processor or blender, puree black beans with half the coffee.
In another bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer for 30 seconds. Add mashed avocado and beat for about 30 seconds more or until mixture is smooth. Add both sugars and vanilla extract. Beat until creamy.
Add half the flour mixture and mix well. Add the bean mixture and mix well. Add the rest of the flour mixture, mix well. Add the remaining coffee and mix well.
Immediately pour into baking dish and bake for 25 – 35 minutes. You can use a toothpick to test done-ness. You can wait for it to come out clean, or you can consider it done when the toothpick comes out mostly clean but still with some cake on it. I would choose the latter, for a cake that is more moist.
Cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes, then turn out on a wire rack to cool completely. Wait until the cake is completely cool before frosting.
Store frosted cake in the refrigerator.

For the frosting:
Add Earth Balance and tofu to a medium bowl. Beat until smooth with an electric mixer. Add vanilla, beat until even. Add cocoa slowly, and in two portions, mixing well after each. Add in powdered sugar 1 cup at a time until reaching the desired consistency. Store refrigerated.

Source: Sara

17 thoughts on “Almost Vegan Chocolate Cake (with black beans and avocado. . . oh, and tofu.)

  1. The title made me say ‘Ewww…with nose scrunched, etc’, but your photographs make it look appetizing. How do you think the gluten free version would be?

    • You really can’t taste the beans or the avocado – the tofu has a tiny bit of an after taste with the first bite, then after that you can’t really tell. I’m not sure how gluten free would be. I know gf breads/cakes tend to fall apart easier, but I read that avocado binds things better and makes them a little chewier. It’s worth a shot – and it’s only a single layer cake, so you’re not wasting a ton if it’s awful :). If you try it, I’d love to hear how it works out! Thanks for commenting, btw – you brave girl!!

      • I’ll let you know how it goes when I try it, but last weekend I really wanted to try the orange cream bundt cake, I believe that one gets to stay at the head of the line, as far as test recipes go. Brave, not so much, I would just prefer to comment here and there than be a blog creeper ;-).

    • Good luck! I still have yet to try garbanzo beans in a sweet recipe – but I do love sticking beans in things, so that may have to happen for me too!

  2. I have been vegan for over 11 years. I have yet to meet a vegan who does not eat sugar. While it is true that some sugar is processed with bone-char, most sugars on the market today are beet sugar. The only time coffee isn’t vegan is when cow milk is added to it after brewing or if one wants to drink Kopi Luwak ( ).

    Avocado in baked goods is wonderful. I have tried black bean brownies before and they are very dense but not beany-tasting. I have yet to try the combination you have posted. I might do so and see how my chocolate-loving vegan husband feels about the recipe (prior to telling him that it contains beans).

  3. I was just coming to add that coffee and sugar ARE vegan, but I see Sue has already covered all that. I’m in the UK and its almost impossible to buy sugar that is NOT vegan. I’ve also been vegan for over 10 years now and enjoyed at least 1 cup of coffee every day of that! 😀
    Anyway, this cake looks really interesting. I’ve made cakes with tofu, cakes with avocado, and brownies with black beans but never tried them all in one recipe!

    • Thanks Sarah! I guess the article I read was a super-strict version of Vegan. I actually made this cake for a vegan friend of mine, and she also told me that she eats both coffee and sugar in moderation. I appreciate so much that you took the time to share your information!

  4. Pingback: “Trust me on this” cake {black bean avocado chocolate snacking cake} | After Hours

  5. Pingback: Black Bean Avocado Chocolate Cupcakes Recipe – The Vegan Cupcake Project

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *