The other day I finally got around to cracking open my October issue of Runner’s World magazine. Normally I do the happy dance boogie all the way from the mail box across the street through my front door when it arrives, but lately I have been so busy that I did not have time to read through it until the other night.
This month’s issue has a fantastic section called “Secrets of the Marathon Chefs” where different chefs who are also runners share their favorite recipes for pre-race and post-race snacks and meals. Being a wannabe foodie, the pages that followed got me all excited! I love, love, love to cook, but growing up in the South has left me with an arsenal of recipes of super cheesy casseroles and deep-fried…well, ANYTHING. Delicious comfort food? Yes! Fuel for my running machine? NO.
The recipe for the Long-Run Cake really piqued my interest. For one, it is a cake. HELLO! Secondly, its chocolate cake! (Chef Gesine Bullock-Prado, you are speaking my language!) Then I started going down the list of ingredients. I am sure the look on my face went from sheer excitement to utter confusion with ingredients like black beans, oat flour, and coffee. I could not have ever imagined that a chocolate cake made with black beans could possibly be tasty, but always looking for an adventure, I decided to give it a whirl. Off to Whole Foods to get my ingredients!
To get started, you can either check out the recipe in the October issue of Runner’s World (Page 67) or you can view and print the online version here!
Specifically, the ingredients I used were:
1 cup all-natural (no sugar added) Archer Farms applesauce (Target, already had this)
1 15.5oz can 365 black beans (Whole Foods)
1 ½ cups Bob’s Red Mill Oat Flour (Whole Foods)
1 cup Ghirardelli cocoa powder (Whole Foods)
2 teaspoons baking powder (store brand, already had this)
1 teaspoon salt (Morton, already had this)
1 cup Madhava Agave Nectar (Whole Foods)
2 eggs Organic Valley Large Brown Cage-Free (Whole Foods)
¼ cup Maxwell House coffee (already had this)
1 teaspoon McCormick vanilla (already had this)
I wanted to use ALL organic/natural ingredients as I thought this might produce the best output, but I also did not want to be wasteful, so I did use some ingredients that I already had.
The first step was to blend the applesauce and black beans in a food processor. I was VERY wary about this step, but the black beans blended pretty smoothly and, when combined, the mixture did not smell like anything other than applesauce.
Next up was to mix the agave syrup and eggs with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. My (heavy) electric mixer was on a high shelf and I could not get it down by myself, so I mixed this the old-fashioned way…by hand. I could not get the full fluffiness an electric mixer would have gotten, but the ingredients were mixed nonetheless.
I continued down the recipe, finally combining all ingredients to make this super yummy-smelling batter. Look, it even LOOKS like regular cake batter! (I don’t need no stinkin’ Pillsbury!)
The recipe said to pour the batter into 12 mini loaf pans, but I do not have those, so I used a silicone 9” x 9” KitchenAid baking square.
20 minutes later at 350° F…
My first thoughts on seeing it come out of the oven…
- Its pretty dense and not nearly as fluffy as the photo. However, I know this is most likely my own fault for not using the electric mixer. Next time, I will think ahead and have my husband take it down for me.
- It smells delicious! I used a high quality cocoa (as suggested in the article) and I think that made a lot of the difference. It smelled so chocolately!
- My cake falls somewhere between cake and brownie on the chewiness scale. It was definitely chewier than a cake, but still fluffier than a brownie. The texture was definitely not a deterrent though!
- It was GOOD! You have to approach a cake like this knowing it is not going to taste like a chocolate birthday cake from the bakery. For being a high-protein pre-run snack, it really hits the spot! I think it has just the right amount of sweetness to make it tasty, but certainly not so much so that it leaves your body (and brain) craving more. To me, it was just right!
- The amount of chocolately-ness and flavor remind me a lot of the chocolate VitaMuffins VitaTops or one of the Chocolate Brownie Clif Kid ZBars.
I opted not to make the Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Icing that was also suggested in the recipe. That part of the recipe was only available online and I was working out of the magazine, though I still do not think I would have made it. While it does sound crazy delicious (and I would definitely make it in the future), the goal here was to master a gluten-free, high-protein, high-fiber snack. SUCCESS!
Last night, I covered the leftovers with aluminum foil and put it in the fridge. This morning I cut a square to take with me on the road to eat for breakfast. STILL YUMMY!
My overall thoughts…
Should you try this? Yes.
Should you follow the instructions and use an electric mixer? Yes.
Should you keep an open mind about baking with black beans? Yes.
Should you expect that this cake tastes like your grandma’s that she makes with sour cream, butter, and lard? No.
Will I make this again? YES!
Have you seen this recipe in Runner’s World? If so, what did you think of it? Will you be trying it?