When I lived in Vancouver, my blessing and my curse was to live with a baker (also hair-stylist and aspiring cop). Bethany loved trying new recipes, but not so much eating them. And there I came home after school and what, was I NOT gonna touch that tray of muffins on the counter? I gained so much weight that year. It was bliss.
One day, she had baked a black bean chocolate cake, and when I took a bite, I thanked the gods I don't believe in. I do love a good chocolate cake, but honestly I rarely order one or bake one. It's just so... much. This one, with no flour and almost four times more beans than chocolate, is one of my very favourite chocolate cakes. It's dense and smooth and melts in your mouth, it's flavoured with beans you can't quite put a finger on, and coffee. When I urged Bethany for the recipe, she pointed me to Heidi's blog. I should have known. I requested it as my goodbye cake before I left Vancouver, and I've baked it several times since, twisting it a little each time until it worked perfectly for me. I make it a little less sweet, I use canned red beans instead of black because I find them easily in supermarkets here in Paris, and I adjusted all the proportions around that bean can to have no leftovers.
RED BEAN CHOCOLATE CAKE
(adapted from this recipe)
For an approx. 27 cm (10") baking pan
(mine here is round but an equivalent square or rectangle would be best)
150 g dark chocolate
275 g butter
500 g canned red beans, drained (weight undrained on the can is 800 g)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 heaped tablespoon espresso coffee powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
260 g agave nectar
Preheat the oven at 180°C / 350°F. In a saucepan, melt the butter and chocolate. In a food processor, mix the drained beans with the vanilla extract and a little bit of melted chocolate/butter until you get a smooth paste. Red bean spots will still show, that's fine. Do this little by little if the bowl of your food processor is not very large.
In a large mixing bowl, pour the rest of the melted chocolate/butter, add the coffee powder and salt. In another bowl, strongly whisk the eggs until they're light and frothy, then add the agave syrup. Whisk again for a bit.
Blend the bean paste into the chocolate/coffee mixture. Blend in the egg/syrup mixture next. Stir. Pour the batter into a baking pan lined with butter and flour or with baking paper, and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the blade of a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.
You will find the cake has a peculiar consistency to it, but let it cool in the pan completely, and refrigerate for at least one night. It will harden while staying smooth and fudgy. Cut into squares and keep every bit in the fridge until you eat it all.