Have Your Cake…and Eat the Whole Thing!

To say I have a sweet tooth is an understatement. As far as I am concerned, a meal is not complete without dessert. Since sweets, however, tend to be bad news for a nutritious diet, how is one to eat them often without wreaking havoc on his or her health?

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Back when I was in high school, every weekend I would walk over to the mini-mart down the street. I would strategically pick out several items to create an entire meal of “gas station” treats, including everything from packaged snack cakes to candy bars. After blowing much of the hard-earned money from my part-time job on this bagful of partially hydrogenated delicacies, I would bring it home and have a feast.

As I grew up, I became increasingly health-conciouss, and eventually taught myself how to prepare my own food in the interest of eating a more wholesome diet. My sweet tooth, however, did not budge. In order to avoid giving up my frequent indulgence of sweets, I developed a goal to create dessert recipes that incorporated as many ingredients as possible that would benefit my health while cutting out those that were detrimental.

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I have spent many hours, days, months, and at this point years in the kitchen experimenting with unique ingredients to achieve my “best of both worlds” recipes. As an ongoing process, I have experienced many flops, fails, and not-so-awesome results. Being the science that it is, baking has been one of my biggest challenges, especially when using unconventional components. I consider the following recipe the gem of my dessert collection, as it was the first to become most decidedly successful.

IMG_0552With a base ingredient of beans, this cake provides adequate protein and fiber. Flaxseed supplies omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants, while sugar is replaced with erythritol (a sugar alcohol) and stevia. Additionally, blending coconut flour with psyllium husk and acacia fiber allows for a grain flour substitute that keeps the recipe low in digestible carbohydrates, low in calories, and gluten-free.

Even without the addition of oil or butter, this dessert boasts a moist, muffin-like texture. The mild, lightly spiced flavor of the cake pairs nicely with the richness of the chocolate peanut butter icing, but even if you opt not to ice it at all, it is still delicious. It also makes a good canvas for any other icings or spreads, such a plain nut butter.

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So you truly can have your cake and eat it too. Cut it into pieces if you feel inclined to share…but the entire cake is a generous 8 inches by 8 inches and under 450 calories! If portion control is not your friend, this recipe certainly will be.


Red Bean Cake with Chocolate Peanut Butter Icing
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Makes: 1 cake

Equipment: 7-8 inch square pan; nonstick foil; cooking spray; small food processor or immersion blender; electric mixer; plastic wrap

Cake Ingredients:
1/2 cup (150 grams) granular erythritol
1/4 cup (28 grams) coconut flour
1 1/2 tablespoons (10 grams) ground flaxseed
1 1/2 tablespoons (10 grams) rice protein powder
3 tablespoons (18 grams) acacia fiber
2 tablespoons (10 grams) psyllium husks
1/4 teaspoon glucomannan powder
3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
Scant cup (140 grams) cooked small red beans (see notes) 
1/2 cup egg whites 
1/4 cup almond milk
10 drops liquid vanilla stevia (see notes)
10 drops liquid lemon stevia (see notes)

Icing Ingredients:
1/4 cup (50 grams) powdered erythritol *see notes*
3 tablespoons (18 grams) peanut powder
1/2 tablespoon natural unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 teaspoon glucomannan powder
2 tablespoons (plus more as needed) almond milk

Directions:
For the cake, combine the erythritol, coconut flour, flaxseed, rice protein, acacia fiber, psyllium husks, glucomannan, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a large bowl; whisk together and set aside.

Prepare the pan by lining with nonstick foil and coating it with cooking spray; set aside. Preheat the oven to 350°.

In a food processor (or separate bowl if using an immersion blender), combine the beans, egg whites, almond milk, vanilla stevia, and lemon stevia; blend thoroughly.

Add the blended wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix with an electric mixer on medium speed until combined.

Empty the batter into prepared pan and place on the middle oven rack. Bake until the top is golden brown and the edges have just begun to separate from the sides of the pan (approximately 45 minutes). Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool. When the pan is cool enough to touch, cover the top of the cake with plastic wrap to avoid excess drying; continue to cool for approximately one hour.

For the icing, combine the powdered erythritol, powdered peanut butter, cocoa, and glucomannan in a small bowl; whisk together. Add the almond milk and continue whisking until the mixture is smooth. Add more milk if needed to achieve a fairly thick, yet spreadable consistency.

Once the cake is cooled, carefully lift it from the pan by the edges of the foil and transfer to a large plate. Spread the icing evenly over the top; cut into pieces if desired and enjoy.

Notes:

  • Any other mild-flavored beans such as pinto or great northern can be substituted. If using canned beans, look for no added salt or drain and rinse thoroughly. You can also cook your own beans to avoid excess sodium.
  • If you can only find granular erythritol, you can easily make a powdered version yourself.
  • Approximately 1/4 teaspoons each vanilla and lemon extracts plus 20 drops unflavored stevia can be used in place of the flavored stevias.

Nutrition Facts:
Per entire cake – 
428 calories (102 from fat); 11g total fat (5g saturated fat); 0mg cholesterol; 922mg sodium; 96g total carbohydrate (71g dietary fiber, 5g sugar, 25g net carbs); 43g protein

Nutritional information provided by caloriecount.com 

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4 thoughts on “Have Your Cake…and Eat the Whole Thing!

    • True, Iza. The thing I like about beans, though, is that they provide a significant source of whole food protein. I’ve never tried the recipe with any substitute for the beans, so I don’t know how it would affect the texture, but if you happen to do so, please let me know how it turns out!

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