Black Bean Brownie-CAKE, Gluten-free Print Recipe Print Recipe


I can’t decide if this is a brownie or a cake.

So, it’s both. A brownie-cake.

I may have mentioned this before, but I’m sure by looking at the blog you’ve already figured out I’m not much of a sweet person. Too much sugar make me just a wee bit crazy and usually doesn’t leave my stomach feeling all that well.

The other day, I really really wanted a brownie, but not something super rich, which brownies usually are. My husband, being the rock star that he is picked up some pre-made gluten-free brownies from the store. We both agreed they were dry and too rich. I had to make them on my own. Plus I always feel better about homemade treats anyways.

I basically wanted a light fluffy chocolate cake, but in a brownie form. We can either blame or thank the pregnancy for this one.

If you do want a richer [black bean] brownie, I’m going to send you over to miss Joy the Baker and to make them gluten-free, just swap out the flour for an all purpose gluten-free flour. You’re in good hands with her, I promise.



My husband isn’t a fan of walnuts, so I added chocolate chips on top the second time around.

I also waited until brownie #2 to tell him there were black beans in them and they were reasonably healthy.

He ate half the pan.

Maybe next time I’ll lie and say they’re fattening, then he’ll back off my brownies.



I looked up tons of recipes and stumbled upon several that had black beans in them. I’ve always been skeptical. I mean, black beans in brownies? I was worried I’d waste an entire pan of brownie batter.

I decided to just go for it. Clearly.

This is EXACTLY what I wanted! A light, fluffy, brownie slash cake! Not too rich, but just enough chocolate to satisfy the craving. For those watching their waste line, this is a great option because I replaced butter with applesauce, whipped up 2 egg whites and only 1 egg and also went for a little less sugar than typical brownies. With all the modifications to a typical brownie, I’d say they turned out pretty damn good.



Black bean Brownie-CAKE, Gluten-free

PRINT Recipe


  • 1/2 cup gluten-free all purpose flour [if you don’t want gf, use regular flour]
  • 1/2 cup sugar – I used cane juice sugar
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more for sprinkling on top
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips, plus more for topping
  • 1/4 cup black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 egg whites + 1 whole egg, lightly whisked
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Optional – walnuts for topping


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9-inch square baking pan with non-stick cooking spray [or use butter] Β and set aside.

In a medium bowl, mix together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, salt and baking powder.

In a food processor, blend the chocolate chips and black beans until purred.

In a separate bowl, mix together dry ingredients – applesauce, eggs and vanilla. Add in the chocolate and black bean puree, mix well to incorporate.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry mixture and with a spatula careful mix to combine.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Top with chocolate chips and/or walnuts and sprinkle with a little sea salt – optional.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until it passes the toothpick test – if you pull it out and it’s clean, time to remove the brownie-cake.

Remove and let cool on a wire rack for 10-15 minutes before cutting and biting into.



note: seal leftovers in airtight container and store for up to 2-3 days.

*gluten-free *dairy-free – if you use dairy-free chocolate chips

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  • Anonymous
  • jas @ gluten free scallywag

    you know, I’ve seen a few chocolate and black bean recipes and been a bit sceptical but clearly, I’m the sceptical one. I’m gonna try these. I’ll just hide them from my future hubby, healthy or fattening he’ll gobble them up – lol!

  • Warm Vanilla Sugar

    So fun! This cake is such a great idea!

  • Jeanine

    oh how funny – the “tell him they’re fattening” part πŸ™‚ I’ve been hesitant about the black bean thing too but I guess it’s about time to just go for it – these look delicious!

  • Carrian Cheney

    I’ve actually been wanting to try a black bean dessert. I have had a recipe for years now, but I haven’t ever taken the plunge. Now, I have no choice but to give it a go. These look wonderful

  • Alison Lewis

    super clever Lisa! Got to try this

  • tracy

    these look SOOO good. this is exactly how I like a brownie!

  • Ashley | Edible Perspective

    Wow! I love how light this looks. The one time I made black bean brownies they were extremely rich and fudge-like. Not bad, but just really dense. These look much more appealing!! πŸ™‚

  • Chari of CIC

    Look yum, yum, yummy! I may have to try this!! Stopping by via pinterest! Continued blessings! <3

  • Shannon Heart’s

    Brownies are my favorite dessert, I’m going to have to try this. Thanks!

  • Amber

    I’m trying to figure out how to make a black bean/zucchini brownie. I’ve got no idea how to do it, but this might be a good start. πŸ˜‰

  • Lauren Goslin

    Hi Lisa, I just found your blog on Pinterest and am loving it! You have so many wonderful recipes and beautiful pictures. It’s about midnight where I’m at, and I’ve stayed up just perusing your content. I’ll be back! πŸ™‚

  • shelly (cookies and cups)

    This is just crazy enough that it has to be good!!

  • Kiersten @ Oh My Veggies

    I’ve seen black bean brownies before, but they looked super, super dense. I love that you made yours cakey!

  • Brian Samuels

    Oh yes… I’ve made brownies before with beans and I used garbanzos and it worked wonderfully. But, I have to say, these might look even better. As you state in your notes, i found that mine didn’t last more than a couple of days, especially if it was humid out. But whatever… brownies really shouldn’t be around after a few days anyway πŸ™‚

  • Megan @helthgeekchic

    These Look so good–might have to pull the sneak attack too and only reveal the beans after first brownie is consumed πŸ™‚

  • TK

    Obviously these aren’t a health food per se, but does anyone know the nutritional breakdown?

  • The Beeroness

    Beautiful! I love the sneaky black bean trick, and apple sauce? it’s almost like a salad! πŸ˜‰

  • Katie Unger

    Yes, I want (black bean brownie) cake!!

  • Beth @ Tasty Yummies
  • Beth @ Tasty Yummies

    OK I have seriously seen so many bean brownie and cake recipes, how have I seriously not made them before? I am obviously insane. This looks amazing. Thanks for sharing. I will be making these ASAP.
    PS I didn’t meant to post that link so please feel free to delete it, I was trying to paste the comment that I wrote once and then didn’t post. Sorry ’bout that.

  • Jeanette Chen

    So glad you tried these and posted them – I’ve never made black bean brownies but heard people rave about them, so now I definitely am going to give them a try.

  • Amy

    Made these this morning. So good. Even the sugar-holic teenage boys loved them.

  • Sylvie Shirazi

    I’ve never tried making brownies with black beans but I’m certainly curious now.

  • Pam List

    My goal is to sneak beans into as much stuff as I can before I tell my picky 8 year old he has been eating them for months! This is going to be made next week.



  • Kris

    I think that might be good. I’ve done black bean brownies and also some w/ avocado. But I think I’ll try your zucchini idea – thanks!

  • Amy

    YUMMMM that looks amazing!

  • Anonymous

    I’m now in love with brownie cake! I will take the entire sheet, please. Shall I email you my address? ; )

  • Amelia Sherry

    I’m intrigued by this recipe! I love black beans and also, of course, am a celiac with an insatiable sweet tooth. Thanks for posting! Just curious: what’s the purpose of the black beans? To add taste (CAN you taste them)? To add texture? Or simply to up the nutritional value of the brownies? I’ve never seen this before and am very curious.

  • Anonymous

    beans offer some great health benefits and added these for the benefits and also a little protein πŸ™‚

  • Lolli S

    Can you use stevia instead? If you use all cocoa powder and omit chocolate chips, approx how much cocoa would that be? Thanks!

  • WithStyleGrace

    you can try stevia, but not having tried it, I’m not sure what the outcome will be. If you omit the chocolate chips, I’d still use the same amount of cocoa powder or maybe a teaspoon more. The nice thing about the chocolate chips is it cuts the black bean flavor a bit.

  • regina

    I am vegan and gluten free. I made them with Bob’s Red Mill Biscuit and Baking mix and left out the baking powder since it is in the mix. I blended 1/2 cup firm silken tofu as the egg re placer and added 1 TBS of vinegar to help with the rise and they turned out delicious. Thank you for sharing!

  • WithStyleGrace

    thanks for sharing your version – love the idea of adding silken tofu!

  • Jennifer from Oz

    Hi, I was wondering if I could use date paste instead of sugar and if you would suggest an amount in this recipe please. I’m dying to try these. They look beautiful.