Chocolate Peanut Butter Mudcake

This is one of those cakes that has a secret ingredient that no one will guess (and it's best not to tell them until after they've eaten it). It provides a beautiful fudgy texture, and with the addition of rich raw cacao and creamy peanut butter, you'd never know it was there. Can you guess what it is?

Black beans. I don't eat a lot of legumes, but after buying a big bag of black turtle beans on special (I'm a sucker for sales), I've been experimenting with them in desserts. I bought the beans dry, so I soaked them overnight, rinsed them well and then boiled them in water until tender. Then I froze them in 1 cup portions (ready for my kitchen experiments). If you don't have time to do all of this, you can easily buy canned black beans that are already cooked. 

They work so well in this mudcake, giving a fudgy, dense texture and removing the need for flour, large amounts of nut meals or eggs (so it's also vegan-friendly). The chocolate and peanut butter flavours ensure that no one will taste them. 

i n g r e d i e n t s

for the cake:

  • 3 cups cooked black beans *
  • 1 cup unsweetened desiccated coconut
  • 1/3 cup raw cacao powder
  • 1 teaspoon (gluten-free) baking powder
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 1/2 cup natural smooth peanut butter **
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 cup rice malt syrup
  • 3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

for the icing:

  • 1/2 cup natural smooth peanut butter **
  • 1 x 20ml tablespoon raw cacao powder
  • 1 x 20ml tablespoon rice malt syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk

p r e p a r a t i o n

  1. Preheat your oven to 180°C (fan-forced) and line a loaf tin with baking paper (I used a 22 x 11 cm loaf tin).
  2. Process all of the cake ingredients together in a food processor until smooth. [Update: one reader has suggested that if you have an older food processor, you may want to process the black beans first to get rid of any lumps.] Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and even out the surface with the back of a spoon (the mixture will be quite thick, so I also used my fingers to help press it into the tin). Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Allow the cake to cool in the tin and then transfer it to the fridge to chill before icing and cutting (ideally, leave it in the fridge overnight). The cake will firm up as it cools.
  3. To make the icing, mix the peanut butter, cacao powder, rice malt syrup and vanilla extract together in a bowl until well combined. Add the almond milk a little bit at a time, stirring until smooth. (You can add a little extra almond milk if you want to thin the icing out further). Spread the icing over the chilled cake and then cut into pieces to serve. Store the cake in the fridge for a day or so, or freeze.

Makes 8 - 12 pieces.

* I used black turtle beans that I had previously soaked and cooked. You can also use canned black beans; just drain them and rinse them well. (If you're using beans that have been frozen, make sure that they're defrosted and warmed slightly before blending with the other ingredients. If they're really cold they will make the melted coconut oil seize up).

** I think smooth works best in this recipe. When buying natural peanut butter, make sure the ingredients are just peanuts (and perhaps a very small amount of salt). There shouldn't be any added oils or sugar.