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recipe collector...civil engineer...cookbook devourer...looking to share cookbook & recipe reviews and my real-life kitchen dramas as I re-engineer recipes ...

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Three Free Thursday Part II: Chocolate Chickpea Cake

Happy Three Free Thursday, Blog Readers! This is the first entry of my new biweekly "Three Free Thursday" blog entries.  On the first Thursday, I will be selecting three free recipes from sources like @RealSimpleFood, @TestKitchen, @WholeFoods, @SeriousEats, @FineCooking and many more recipe outlets on Twitter. Feel free to send in recipe suggestions for Three Free Thursday on Twitter to @RecipEngineer or by e-mail RecipEngineer@gmail.com . On the following Thursday, I'll report back via blog entry the full results of my adventures in the kitchen and let you know if you should try these recipes at home.  Also I'll try to add helpful suggestions of ways to improve the recipes and/or tips to avoid my pitfalls re-creating these recipes.  Here is Part II of the first ever "Three Free Thursday Results" blog entry.  Enjoy!

Recipe: Chocolate Chickpea Cake
Source: @SeriousEats (requested by @eatingtheweek)

When @eatingtheweek suggested testing the recipe for Chocolate Chickpea Cake, I was both intrigued and terrified.  What kind of person puts chickpeas in a chocolate cake? Would it have a gritty texture? Would a rogue chickpea escape the blender and reveal itself whole when the cake was cut?  Should I have agreed to such a challenge for my first Three Free Thursday blog entry? Will any of my readers trust me again if I actually endorse a chocolate cake made with chickpeas? What have I gotten myself into...

OMC - Oh My Chickpeas!

This recipe requires a blender, a food processor or an immersion blender to puree the chickpeas into the batter.  Using my immersion blender, I agonized over the proper amount of pureeing required to avoid any recognizable chickpea chunks.   Fortunately, the recipe clearly indicates the timing required for each step and I easily prepared the batter without under- or over-blending. The recipe instructs the baker to grease and flour a loaf pan, but surprisingly adds a third step to the traditional process.  After flouring the pan with all-purpose flour, "flour" the pan again with cocoa.  This brillant suggestion prevents the final cake product from having messy white flour streaks and instead leaves the cake with an appealing cocoa dusting.

The entire preparation of this cake batter took less than 15 minutes. It baked for slightly less than hour in a 350* oven and filled my tiny apartment with the delicious aroma of a traditional chocolate cake. The final product was a dense, intensely chocolatey cake with no trace of chickpea flavor or texture. For some taste testers, the chocolate flavor was too intense, but for a chocoholic like myself, it just required an extra-large glass of milk. The inclusion of high fiber, nutrient-filled chickpeas in the batter also gave me the allusion of eating a healthy snack and I admittedly ate it for breakfast the following day.

The recipe suggests sprinkling the cake with confectioners sugar when the cake has cooled completely.  I also experimented with dusting the cake in both cinnamon and cocoa. The perfect combination - an equal mix of confectioners sugar and cinnamon - adds nice contrast to the dense chocolate flavor of the cake.  Fresh whipped cream or a scoop of coffee or vanilla ice cream also pairs nice with this tasty cake.  A final suggestion from the recipe is to refrigerate the cake and re-serve toasted and slathered with butter.  Despite the intense guilt associated with buttering a piece of chocolate cake, it was absolutely delicious and soon I was embracing my inner-Paula Deen. I even confess to spreading raspberry preserves on a slice... or two.


This cake is a delightful surprise. I recommend this recipe to everyone to try at least once for its sheer novelty and for the wonderfully baffled looks of family and friends when you attempt to feed them Chocolate Chickpea Cake.  How often do you get such entertainment from a standard cake recipe? You will be hard-pressed to find a taste tester that can blindly identify chickpeas as an ingredient in this cake.  The chickpeas keep the cake moist despite its density and it stores well in the refrigerator. However, it has a short shelf life (maximum three days refrigerated) before the cake's moisture overwhelms it leaving the cake overly dense and gritty. Best to share this cake with lots of friends and family as soon as it cools and save only a piece or two for breakfast the following day.

  • Chocolate Chickpea Cake!
    Check baking cake with knife or cake tester after approximately 45 minutes baking or when you see cracks in cake start to deepen and widen. 
  • Cover tightly with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for up to three days.
  • Toast lightly to warm cake and serve with a little bit of butter and/or raspberry preserves. 
Rating: 4 out of 5

Thanks for reading Part II of this week's Three Free Thursday! Send your recipe suggestions for the next Three Free Thursday by Wednesday, February 2nd.

Follow me on Twitter @RecipEngineer


  1. I really want to try this, after I saw it on Serious Eats--will soon!

  2. Let me know how it goes! Always interested in other people's results & feedback.

    Btw - just took a look at your site and it's fantastic. Great post on "Eat to Live" - I read that NYT article too and it was fascinating. Made me want to re-think those Girl Scout cookies that I've got stashed in the freezer - not sure they will extend my life to 125.