Eat Skinny Valentine's Edition: Gluten Free Chocolate Cake

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Happy Wednesday! Can y’all believe Valentine’s Day is just a few short days away? Are you ready? Have your restaurant reservations made or your sexy at home menu created? Have your dashing lingerie picked out, the candles ready to be lit and Marvin Gaye saved on your play-list? Well, maybe not Marvin Gaye, but you get the picture I’m trying to create here.

I’m happy to say all my Valentine’s Day boxes are checked and I’m patiently awaiting it’s arrival. I’ve always been a Valentine’s junkie. And now, especially, that I’m an over-eager, food obsessed, soon to be culinary student and full time food writer, this holiday has been on my radar since Christmas and I’ve been dutifully prepping.

Like, making mini heart shaped crepes and homemade glittery candles, for example.

Even those these heart shaped goodies and crafts are FREAKIN’ ADORABLE, I have to say my favorite Valentine’s creation, thus far, is this beautiful and divine concoction I conjured up yesterday.

In the off chance you didn’t read the title,  it’s a gluten free heart shaped cake!

Now, what makes this cake gluten free doesn’t lie in the use of expensive flours or fancy ingredients. In fact, the special ingredient that makes this cake void of all wheat (and makes it healthier, too) lies in something you can buy at the super market for less than $1 a can.

That’s right, BLACK BEANS! I know, seems just plain wrong to put beans in a cake but, guys, it works. Somehow the molecules in the beans work with the other delicious ingredients to make a batter that is cohesive and thick. It’s like flour, but you know, without the gluten. And if black beans make something THIS delicious? I’m A-OKAY with that.

The beans also give this cake an incredibly fudgey texture and taste. It’s almost like a giant heart brownie.

And seriously, how could you not smile while eating a giant fudgey heart? I mean, come on!

Gluten Free Chocolate Cake

Serves 6 – 8
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes

Recipe adapted from As Good as Gluten.


  • 1 can black beans, thoroughly rinsed and drained
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 6 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder (unsweetened)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder (double acting)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • pinch salt


  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9 inch heart pan with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, beat black beans, applesauce, egg yolks, vanilla and salt with a handheld mixer on HIGH until batter is smooth. (Will take about 5 – 8 minutes). For a quicker route, put those ingredients in a blender.
  3. In a smaller bowl, beat egg whites until fluffy, set aside.
  4. In another large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar until creamy. Add black bean mixture to the butter mixture and mix thoroughly. With a wooden spoon, stir in cocoa powder, baking powder and baking soda, mix well. Gently fold in egg whites until mixture is fully combined.
  5. Pour batter into the cake pan and bake for 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out dry. Let cool completely. Frost with your choice of frosting!

*Note, I used my light cream cheese frosting mixed with 3 tablespoons of chopped maraschino cherries!

What better way to say “I love you” than with a fudgey cake? A fudgey cake that is also healthy and full of muscle building protein, that is! A win win 🙂

Nutritional information per piece:

Calories: 205
Fat: 7 grams
Carbohydrates: 13 grams
Protein: 8 grams
Fiber: 3.5 grams
Weight Watchers Points: 4

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  1. Posted by Melanie on
    Wednesday, February 8th, 2012
    Even with being gluten free for five years, I have never seen anyone suggest using black beans for a chocolate cake.  Or as a substitute for anything, really.  I have to try this!

    Keep the gluten free love coming :)
  2. Posted by Lauren on
    Wednesday, February 8th, 2012
    looks so pretty!! Cool recipe :)
  3. Posted by Anonymous on
    Wednesday, February 8th, 2012
    Wish I had a piece of this for dinner...I mean, dessert. I need to experiment more with gluten free baking. Love this recipe!
  4. Posted by Julie on
    Wednesday, February 8th, 2012
    Black beans???  Now I have to try it!  Your pictures make it look so tasty!
  5. Posted by Anonymous on
    Friday, February 10th, 2012
    I've seen black beans in brownies before and have always been intrigued.  Your cake looks absolutely awesome =)
  6. Posted by Lauren Wallace on
    Friday, February 10th, 2012
    Thanks for trying my recipe! I'm glad you enjoyed it, it truly is an absolutely delicious cake!
  7. Posted by Grubarazzi on
    Tuesday, February 14th, 2012
    I definitely want to try this recipe! Do you have any tips for a butter alternative in this one? Maybe coconut oil?
    • Posted by admin on
      Tuesday, February 14th, 2012
      I always use applesauce as a butter alternative! It works just as good and you save like thousands of calories :) Oil is also a healthy and good swap as well. Try coconut or canola.