It’s time. I’m getting evangelical about black beans again. It might feel like there are other babies that are getting attention at the moment. Babies like this one. Or this one.  But I still have a lot of affection for my first- the slow carb ebook, which happily is once again selling like hotcakes, thanks to stories like this one on Woman and Home (and helped along by a full page story on ways to escape white stodge  in last month’s UK Red Magazine).

There wasn’t much of a place for sweets in the first edition. Perhaps that was an oversight. I probably should have worked harder. I say this because if I had, I might have come across this earlier. And frankly, I have no idea how I lived for so long without this loaf in my life.

I don’t know how much more evangelical I can get about it without sounding mad, so I’m just going to start listing its attributes.  For one, it’s the simplest cake I’ve ever encountered. You have a blender or a food processor? You have a loaf tin? You have an oven? Done.

There’s no flour- so it’s perfect for your gluten free friends (though just be sure that the baking powder you’re using is gluten free- lots are- but it never hurts to check). It’s dark and fudgy with chocolate, so satisfies even the most insane hormonal craving. There’s even a shot of espresso, which really just acts as a good friend to cocoa- you know the kind- the sort who manages to make chocolate taste more like itself.

What else? It’s sprightly when studded with raspberries or blackberries- though it also works just as well with jarred cherries if you’re after more of a Black Forest vibe.

And as for the bulk of it? That comes from one of my culinary heroes – a rinsed tin of black beans. No longer content to do the heavy lifting in feijoadas, warm salads with pumpkin and chorizo or nachos (recipe in the ebook)- here they’ve colonised dessert as well.

This is now my go-to, emergency cake. It’s smart enough to be served warm, dressed up with a splodge of creme fraiche or double cream. It’s sturdy enough for lunch boxes. And it’s not-so-evil that you easily can’t justify a slice at 3pm with a cup of tea after you’ve tottered to the post office.

I don’t want to get too crazy here, but there’s every chance that this cake may change your life.  You’ve been warned.

Chocolate, Raspberry and Black Bean Loaf

Makes 8-10 slices

Adapted from A Tasty Love Story.


400 gram tin of black beans, rinsed and drained
3 eggs
100 grams of caster sugar
1 shot of espresso/30 ml/ 1 tbsp of strong filter coffee (you can use decaf if you prefer)
3 tbsp of cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder (check it is a gluten free baking powder if cooking for a coeliac free crowd)
125 grams of raspberries (can be frozen, can also substitute other berries, or pitted cherries)

Here’s how we roll

1) Preheat the oven to 180C/350 F and grease a 20×12.5cm/8x5inch loaf pan.

2) In a mixing bowl (or a food processor)  combine all of the ingredients, except for the berries.

3) Use a stick blender, or the food processor to blitz until smooth. The batter will appear quite liquid- don’t worry.

4) Pour the batter into the greased  pan. Scatter the berries over the top.

5) Bake for 35 minutes, until a skewer comes out with a few fudgy crumbs on it.

6) Leave in the pan to cool for five minutes, then turn out. Slice and serve warm, with yoghurt or creme fraiche for dessert, or allow to cool and scoff with a cup of tea.