Cake Dessert

Apple & Chickpea Cake with a Lemony Cream Cheese Frosting

Apple and chickpea cake

Are you up for yet another bean cake?? Yes, I am talking about a cake made almost entirely out of beans. It’s free of grain, dairy, added fat and has a very low sugar content. You might already have tried the black bean chocolate cake  I posted a while back, well think of this as its  little sister.
I still have a crush on any chocolate cake, but if I have to be honest I am really a fruit and cream kind of girl. I have always loved a moist carrot cake topped with creamy frosting or a fruit pie served with sour cream, that’s why this challenge was very obvious to me – and I had to nail it! Actually it didn’t take that long – since I have tried using various kind  of beans in the chocolate cake I have by now discovered  that most beans a very willing to play along in the cake show. So I chose an old favourite of mine – chickpeas – and paired them with the sweet, aromatic danish apples still  lying around in the markets.

Apple and chickpea cake w. lemony cream cheese frosting

First time around I made a very simple cake with a couple of apples and a lot of different spices. It turned out just fine but it kinda missed a little texture and definitely something creamy to go along. So I added grated coconut, more apples and some lemon zest to the batter, and then I came up with a classic and creamy cream cheese frosting and again topped the cake with fresh apples, voil   a new favourite cake came to life!

Apple and chickpea cake w. lemony cream cheese frosting

Since it was time for yet another weekend trip with my favourite girls (remember the last get away  we had) I had of course timed the making of this cake so I could bring it as an extra sweet surprise. And luckily the girls liked it as well – it was gone by lunch the next day… must have been good!
Even though I know many of you are chocolate lovers and probably already have your next chocolate baking session planned, I will still highly recommend you to try this version of a bean cake. It is very different from the chocolate version but it has some wonderful flavours, a moist texture, a natural sweetness and it fills you up completely so you can have it as a snack meal or maybe even for breakfast. So now you know beans are rocking in the sweet kitchen and I am a fan. Come join me, just watch out for the batter – it will quickly lure you into eating al of it long before it ever sees the inside of your oven…

Apple and chickpea cake w. lemon cheese cream frosting

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Apple & Chickpea Cake
1 2/3 cup chickpeas, soaked and cooked or from a can (400 g)
5 eggs
1/2 – 3/4 cup honey or sweetener of your choice (100-150 g) *
1,5 Tbsp cinnamon
1-2 tsp cardamom
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cloves
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp applecider vinegar
A pinch of salt
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup grated, dessicated and unsweetened coconut (75 g) – optional
Lemon zest from ½-1 organic lemon
3-4 big apples

  • Vary the amount of honey/sugar according to your own preference and the sweetness of the apples. Be careful not to add too much sugar the first time, it can easily get too sweet as soon as the apples are baked and fruit sugar is released (I used around 120 g sugar).

Cream Cheese  Frosting
3/4 cup cream cheese, you can use light and a vegan product (200 g)
2 Tbsp honey, agave or powdered sugar
Lemon juice and zest from 1/2 -1 organic lemon, depending on size
1 apple to decorate and a few walnuts to sprinkle

Preheat oven to 350 °F/200   °C and grease an 8 inch (21 cm) springform tin with butter.  Add everything to a good blender or food processor (except the apples) and blend until a very smooth texture.
Cut the apples into thin slices. Now you wanna layer the cake with batter and apples. So you start by adding 1/4 of the dough, spread it out in an even layer. Then add a layer of apples and top it with 1/4 of the batter and continue this process until all batter and apples are used.
Bake the cake for 35-40 min until the edges and top seems firm but still moist. You can test it with a pin, but the cake might seem a little doughy in the center even though it is done, at least according to my experience and preference for moist and slightly doughy cakes.
Set the cake a side to cool while preparing the frosting. The frosting is made by whisking everything together, and then adjust the taste with sweetener and lemon.
Top the cake with all of the frosting and then decorate it with apples slices and walnut crumbles.

The cake could be served straight away, but it can also keep moist and delicious a couple pf days in the fridge. Just be aware that the apples on the top will look less appetizing after a couple of hours. So make sure to add them just before serving and maybe removing them if you plan on keeping leftover for a day or two :)

Happy baking and healthy living
Josephine Malene

Apple and chickpea cake w. lemon cheese cream frosting

Comments (46)

  • hi there

    looks lovely.

    sorry but is that tinned chickpeas – and drained? or cooked chickpeas, or ground dried chickpeas?

    thx so much

    • Hi Ruth. I can be canned, drainer or just soaked and boiled :)

    • be kind to your body, use 1.5 cups fresh cooked over canned

  • Hey, is that a fifth of a tablespoon of cinnamon?? cant wait to try this- thanks!!

    • Hi Lucy. It’s just 1,5 Tbsp as it says in the recipe. Do you mean the cardamom? Because there I mean 1 or up to 2 tsp depending on how much you love it :)

  • Hi there,

    I recently discovered your chocolate black bean cake and everybody that tasted it loved it (including my health-obsessed friend) so I can’t wait to try this one.

    Just wondering would the desiccated coconut you can buy in a packet work or should I use freshly grated?

    • Hi Cliona. So happy to hear that you are into the bean cakes as well :) Yes I also just used desiccated unsweetened coconut for this recipe.

  • Beautiful… I love to cook, and add bean in sweet (sugary) recipes !
    My favorite bean is azukis beans for those recipe. Azukis are so soft, sweet…
    The Japenese use them to make some beautiful (so beautiful), and tiny little cake called “wagashi”, maybe did you heard of them already ?

    I made a sweet sugary dip with some azuki beans, coconut sugar, almond milk (rice milk goes perfectly well too), hazlenuts butter, and vanille & cinnamon powder : sooo good on bread !
    We can use this recipe to glaze some cupcakes too (yummy too !).
    Azukis beans are great for our kidney energy according to the CTM.

    Oh… I am definitely a fruits & creamy girl too ! Love vanilla, love cinnamon, and prefer chocolate on its raw form
    Your chocolate / black beans looks so great (I already saw it when you posted it a few weeks ago).

    Thanks for all this beautiful, tasty, orignal & healthy recipe you share, Josephine.

  • What a beautiful cake! I love the ingredients you used.

  • I baked the cake yesterday and it was extremely good! How do you come up with these recepies?

  • Hi Mie.
    Wonderful to hear that you got a great result, yay! I am just experimenting a lot in the kitchen, and I use a lot of time exploring other food blogs, recipes and pictures etc. which often inspires me to try something new or just put new ideas in my mind. I am horrible at following a specific recipe, I always need to change something often in a healthier direction, and that sometimes turns into a completely new recipes or a basic for a new dish. I am a bit of a food geek ;)

    • And long may your ‘food geekness’ reign Josephine! I too love to cook but can’t spend on ingredients and testing as much as I would like. I’m sure I’m not alone in thanking you for spending so much time in perfecting recipes so that we can benefit from all your hard work.

      I have one friend who is gluten-intolerant, but all friends who had the chocolate bean cake were blown away. I’m a recent convert to gluten-free baking and this is the next recipe for our weekly gathering.

      Is there a reasonable substitute for apple cider vinegar? It’s not something available in my village.

      Also, there is gluten-free baking powder around, and I now know that this is essential for anyone with severe intolerances. Apparently one can substitute baking soda (bicarbonate of soda) with cream of tartar in the right proportions. Is this something you have tested?

      • Oh well, you are so very welcome, I just love that my small experiments and recipes can reach out of my own kitchen and into yours. Regarding the apple cider vinegar, you could just leave it out or simply add 2 tablespoons of water, lemon juice or apple juice. I have never heard of the cream of tartar trick before, actually not quite sure what it is? :)

  • Dear Josephine!

    I made your black bean chocolate cake a few times in a row (LOOOVE IT) and I’m so gonna try this one too!
    Happy weekend!
    xox Ramona

  • My friend has tried this cake and I’m going to too – looks gorgeous.

  • I only recently found your blog and it is amazing, so fresh and interesting! It makes me so excited and so sure that nutrition is what I am passionate about as well and where I want to go, through a career change. Sadly, in the short term there is no real possibility for me to switch careers, but I am inspired to find a way!! I definitely plan to try the vegetable pizza bases and the bean cake, particularly this fruity version soon!! Thank you and continuing good luck to you in your endeavours!

  • Hej Josephine

    Wow den er lækker, smager så godt og er relativ nem at få til at ligne en million :)


  • Good morning Josephine. I absolutely love your website – what delicious recipes! I’m about to make this apple cake (having made the black bean chocolate cake and loved it!). I wonder if your cake recipes freeze well?
    Many thanks.

    • Thank you a lot dear Helen :) I always have a piece of black bean chocolate cake in the freezer, and it is just as good after as before, so no problem there. The chickpea cake on the other hand I haven’t tried, but since most ingredients are alike, I will guess it could work. My only concern could be the texture of the apples – they could get a little splashed, but I will try to freeze a piece next time and see if it works :)
      All the best from Josephine

      • That’s fantastic thank you Josephine :O) I’ll try to freeze a piece myself (if I manage not to eat it all!)

  • so glad to have stumbled into your blog- loveee this cake :) and your blog

  • Hiya,

    I love the sound of this recipe but I just wanted to ask you about some of the spices. I know someone asked about the cinnamon above but I wasn’t sure about the answer because I’m not used to commas in tsp/tbsp measurements… is it one and a half tablespoons of cinnamon? This is lots more than I have put into a recipe before so I just wanted to check. And also, is the 1-2tsp of cardamon the whole pods or the black middles? (You can probably guess by now, I’m a novice cook!)

    Thanks so much for a great recipe- I already cooked and loved the chocolate bean cake recipe but I’m so excited to see a fruit one too!

    • Hi Sophie. Uh you got me question my own measurements here :) But I am pretty sure one and a half Tbsp of cinnamon is what I used + 2 tsp cardamom. It is a very warm spiced cake and the cinnamon and cardamom are whats keeping it filled with flavour. But you can of course vary it, if you think it is a bit over the top. I am just very fond of cinnamon (I can easily add 1 tsp to a smoothie, smile). And as with the cinnamon it id ground cardamom I use. Hope you got your answers and happy baking!
      All the best from Josephine

      • Thanks for replying Josephine! I love spices too so I’m happy to put the full amount in – I just wanted to check my understanding of the quantities first :)

  • This cake looks beautiful Josephine. I struggle with the idea of adding beans to sweet cakes but with all the positive reviews you’re getting, I have to give this a try! By the way, whereabouts in Denmark do you live? I have family in Malmo, Sweden so I took the opportunity to visit Copenhagen and also drove up to visit Skagen a couple of times. You live in an absolutely beautiful country!! And… this must sound silly… I became a little obsessed with the Polsemannen (just because we don’t have such a thing in Australia!). Thanks for sharing your beautiful recipe. Your photos are gorgeous x

    • Haha, yes Pølsemanden is a lovely invention, always nice to get a hotdog, especially the new wholegrain and organic once showing up all around! I live in Århus, the second largest city in Denmark, 2 hours drive from Skagen! Thank you for all of your lovely words, you make me smile!

      • Aw, they didn’t have wholegrain and organic options when I was there last! Just the good old (possibly not so healthy!) ones. Ah, I do think that I drove through your city? I didn’t stop there though, but it looked beautiful. And I definitely meant what I wrote :)

  • Just one question about the chikpeas, if i use canned, is it then 400 gram drained og is just one can. because one can of chikpeas is one 250 grams when its drained :)

    • Hi Stinne. You should use 400 g chickpeas in total regardless of them being cooked or canned, and yes they should of course be drained if they are from a can :)

  • Thank you for the recipe, I made this cake yesterday. Since I didn’t have apples at home I made it with plums. Will make it again over the weekend with apples. It was very yummy with plums as well. Greetings from Australia! So tasty and healthy.

  • I plan on making this cake for my birthday get-together, but since there are going to be not-so-healthy-eating-people around I just wanted to know if this cake even tastes the slightest bit healthy or if it tastes as guilty as it looks :)

    (thank you in advance, and someone please answer before July 16th)

    • Hi Maria
      Hmm, it might be revealing itself a bit with the many apple slices and lack of buttery crust and chocolate, I am actually not sure since it think it is a perfect kinda cake. It is very moist and delicious and definitely sweet enough if you use the recommended 1/2 cup of sugar and sweet apples. I would not hesitate to serve it to non-healthy friendly folks :)

  • Ooooh I have just discovered your blog and am in love! I have had an addiction to black-bean brownies since making them recently, and have been pondering over other beans to use in cakes too! I shall defiantly be trying this one out. Thanks for the lovely blog and I can’t wait to try more! xx

    • You are so very welcome. Glad you found the blog and love that your liking it! Best of luck with all the bean cakes :)

  • I made it and it is fabulous! as super unsure when I sa ho runny the batter was, but eaten a slice arm from the oven and it’s amazing. Who would think to use flour, fat and sugar again in a cake?! Thank you for your amazing recipes, I’ll defiantly be making more : )

  • Hi Josephine,
    do you recommend peeling the apples used in the cake? thank you for your super recipes!

    • Nope, leave them on it’s delicious and you get all the glorious fibers and vitamins from the peel

  • hi josephine,
    i made your apple cake with the optional coconut. but we much preferred the truffle like texture of your black bean chocolate cake. if i omit the coconut, will the texture of the apple cake more resemble the chocolate cake? we do like the unpeeled apples very much. do you have any other suggestions i might try to create an apple chickpea version of your incredible black bean chocolate cake?

    thank you so much for your wonderful recipes!

    • You could definitely try omitting the coconut and see if it will work. I have nor made it in a long time, but it should be possible to simply do exactly the same as the black bean cake, just substituting beans with chickpeas and chocolate with the warm spices and then your could make a chunky apple compote to serve instead of apples in side the cake, then you’ll definitely have the delicious texture :)

      • hi josephine, thanks for responding. i tried the cake again, this time omitting the coconut and apple, only using 4 eggs and adding 1/2 cup of applesauce, and 1 cup of mixed berries – YUMMY!
        altho the black bean cake is still our fav!

        thank you so much!

  • I have just made and eaten a slice of your apple and chickpea cake – it is delicious! I used tinned unsweetened pie apples layering as you said but ending with apples and then sprinkled with flaked almonds and coconut. Served with plain yogurt – yum, yum, yum!!!!!

  • Hello! I love your website – fantastic recipes and very clever ideas. I liked the way you calculated the calories for the black bean chocolate cake though, and wondered if you had done the same for this delicious looking apple cake? For me, this is the most important part of a health-conscious recipe :-)

    • Hi John. So glad you like this. Yes I actually have it right here:

      Pr 100 g:
      Kcal: 156
      Protein: 4,7
      Carb: 21
      Fat: 6,1
      Fiber: 1,3

      But I do not always calculate my recipes, fortunately you can find great programs online where it is so easy to calculate all meals and recipes you use :)

  • Hi Josephine :) , I am looking for a blueberry muffin recipe and was wondering if the cake base for this might work? Do you think it would go well?


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