Pinto Bean Cake–Just had to try it!


When I cook dry beans, I generally do a great big batch, since two pounds will take little more time or energy than a cup or two, and the prepared beans are easily frozen.

This week, however, I had a ham taking up a lot of freezer space, so some of the pinto beans that hadn’t been “refried” would be available for trying what I have long wondered about: pinto bean cake.


The result was more like a spiced bar cookie than a cake, but it was very easy to make with the processor (so that I could be sure the beans were really pureed and unrecognizable!). Without this appliance, the cake would still be easy to make, but you’d want to be sure to mash the beans thoroughly before adding. There is less fat here than in most desserts, but you are unlikely to notice that, and there is more protein and fiber than usually expected in a cake. This is also an economical dessert and easy to prepare, so it is  a recipe I’ll be using again and again.

Note that these are whole beans; if you were to try to use unseasoned canned “refried” beans, I think you would probably want to reduce the amount to about 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 cups. The measurement in this recipe is for beans before mashing.

Pinto Bean Cake

1/4 c canola oil
2 c very soft cooked pinto beans–if using canned beans, drain some of the liquid
1 c sugar–either white or light brown sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 t vanilla
2 cups unsweetened applesauce
1 c flour
1 t baking soda
1 1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 t nutmeg 
1/2 t cloves
3/4 c raisins
1/2 c chopped walnuts

1.  Puree the beans in the processor, using the (plastic) bread blade.
2.  Add the oil, sugar, eggs, applesauce, and vanilla to the beans and process until completely blended.
3.  Sift the dry ingredients together and add to the liquid mixture. Pulse just until the mixture is blended; don’t overmix.
4.  Add the raisins and walnuts, pulsing just enough to blend.
5.  Turn the batter into a well-oiled 9 X 13 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes. Cool and frost with basic powdered sugar icing. Top with colored sprinkles or chopped nuts if desired.


Cut recipe in half and bake in an 8 inch square pan for a cake or 7 X 11 pan for bar cookies. In this version, puree the beans and then add all but the flour, raisins and walnuts. Mix well. Then add the flour and pulse just enough to evenly mix all the ingredients. Add the raisins and walnuts, again pulsing only enough to evenly mix.

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