Flourless Black Bean Cupcakes + Chocolate Ganache Frosting

Beans, beans, they’re good for your heart.  The more you eat ’em, the more you…

Flourless, black bean whaa..?  When my friend Lynsey told me about these cupcakes, I was doubtful.  However, I do consider her Martha Stewart-like…only 1000x better and absolutely trustworthy.  So, I figured they couldn’t be bad, even if you could tell there were black beans in them.

The first time I made them and shared them with friends, I didn’t mention what they were made of.  Instead, I just sat there, giggling as they ate them.

Did I mention how mature I am?

Only after the cupcakes were almost polished off did I gleefully tell them they had just consumed a day’s worth of fiber.*  As jaws dropped, I knew the recipe was a winner.

I forgot to take a picture showing the texture inside the cupcakes, but aside from having a slightly more delicate structure, it comes impressively close to a traditional cupcake and is incredibly moist and reasonably springy (even at high altitude).  To get rid of all identifiable traces of bean in the final product, I mashed the beans through a strainer to strain out the skins.  To heighten the chocolatey-ness of the cocoa powder, I added some instant espresso powder (if the chocolatey-ness still isn’t enough for you, Lynsey recommends adding chocolate chips too).  I also cut the amount of butter/oil for a less greasy final product. The original recipe calls for either butter or coconut oil. The coconut oil will give a pronounced coconut flavor – not bad, but I feel like butter results in more of a true cupcake experience (the texture is the same/good either way though).

*Not meant to be taken as an accurate dietary recommendation.  

Cupcake recipe tweaked from my friend Lynsey’s recipe and Trials In Food
Frosting recipe from Joanne Chang’s Flour cookbook


For the cupcakes
All ingredients must be at room temperature in order for them to completely mix together.

15 oz. unsalted black beans – rinsed well, mashed and passed through a sieve to get rid of skins
5 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
6 Tbsp cocoa powder, sifted if clumpy
1/4 tsp instant espresso powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
5 Tbsp butter (unsalted, RT) or coconut oil
just over 1/4 c. honey (if you prefer things to be on the sweeter side, the original recipe calls for 1/2 c.)
Optional:  chocolate chips

For the chocolate ganache frosting
makes ~1 cup 

3 oz. bittersweet chocolate  (I like Ghiradelli 60%)
1/4 c heavy cream
1/4 c unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 c confectioner’s sugar
pinch salt
1/8 tsp vanilla


For the cake
1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2.  Combine black beans, eggs, vanilla, salt, cocoa powder, espresso powder, baking powder and baking soda.
3.  Mix until no lumps remain.
4.  In a separate bowl, cream butter until smooth (or just add oil to bowl).
5.  Mix in eggs until fully combined.
6.  Add honey and whip until smooth.
7.  Pour honey mixture into bean mixture and mix until incorporated.  Batter should look smooth and glossy like traditional cake batter.
8.  Spoon batter into cupcake tin until 2/3 full.
9.  Thump tin on counter to smooth batter and get rid of air bubbles.
10.  Optional step:  Press 2-3 chocolate chips per cupcake into the batter.
10.  Bake 18-20 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.
11.  Cool on wire rack.

For the frosting
1.  Scald the heavy cream.
2.  Pour hot cream over chocolate.
3.  Stir until chocolate is completely melted.  Set ganache aside until cooled to room temperature.
4.  In a new bowl, beat butter until smooth.
5.  Add confectioner’s sugar and beat until mixture is fluffy and smooth.
6.  While mixing, add cooled ganache.  Beat until frosting color lightens and consistency thickens.
7.  Use immediately, or store in refrigerator up to one day.  When ready to use, bring up to room temperature and beat again until smooth.


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