Made with chickpeas as the ‘secret’ ingredient, this vegan apple cake is fudgy, delicious and healthy at the same time! It’s a perfect high protein and dairy-free dessert to enjoy with a cup of tea.
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I hope you can sense my excitement through this post, because today we’re making cake. And not just any cake – a chickpea cinnamon apple cake. It’s three amazing things in one: cinnamon, apples, and cake. Actually, four amazing things, because chickpeas are pretty incredible too.
I’m also excited because I start university in two weeks. Two weeks. That’s an incredibly short amount of time. So, my life recently has involved a mixture of doing more shopping than I have in the last year and slowly but surely making my way through the reading list. I really don’t shop often and try to embrace minimalism as much as possible. But this is mundane, necessary stuff. I’m talking laundry baskets, storage boxes, and the like. There’s exciting stuff too, like new clothes and cool stationary. Okay, I kept my stationary quite basic, but who doesn’t love new notebooks and highlighters?!
Despite my business, I’m still finding some spare moments to bake. Besides, baking doesn’t have to be all that time consuming when my baked treats are often as simple as ‘put ingredients into food processor, transfer to baking dish, bake in oven’. During the oven stage, continue ticking other items off your to-do list.
About this vegan apple cake
Fun fact: I always struggle with naming my recipes. I didn’t know whether to call this a cake or a pie, and went with the former because it doesn’t have a crust. But I don’t know, apples are typically used in pies: you don’t hear ‘apple cake’ all too often…
Anyway, regardless of the name, the result is absolutely phenomenal. Fudgy, moist (for lack of a better term hahah), the sort of thing you can eat all by yourself as a meal.
It has just the right level of sweetness and a wonderful soft texture thanks to the chickpeas and the peanut butter. Plus, there’s just something so cosy about baking with apples in fall. Apples and pumpkin: the two things that make me less sad about short days, colder weather and the end of summer fruit that doesn’t cost the equivalent of my weekly grocery bill per kg.
Baking with chickpeas
If you’ve never baked with beans of any kind before, fear not. I swear this vegan apple cake doesn’t taste like hummus. And as much as we all love hummus, we don’t want our sweet treats tasting like it.
Chickpeas in themselves are pretty neutral in taste. The key is using the right ratio of other ingredients to sweeten them up and create a fudgy/cake-like texture.
Baking with beans (that sounds so catchy it should be a TV show) is cool for many reasons. They’re great for softness to treats like brownies, blondies, or even cookie sandwiches. Plus, they naturally make the treat higher in protein. I’m a huge believer in creating recipes that are good for both the body and the soul, and this is certainly one of them.
How to make this vegan apple cake
As I mentioned, you definitely don’t have to be a gifted baker to make vegan apple cake. I’m certainly not – savoury recipes are much further into my comfort zone.
Start by adding the ingredients to a food processor. Don’t worry too much about the order, but I’d recommend starting with the chickpeas and dry ingredients followed by the wet. Blend for 1-2 minutes, until a soft mixture forms (almost like a dense hummus lol).
Then, pour the batter into a lightly greased shallow cake tin. Add a chopped apple on top, and a handful of cashew nuts if you want. Then, bake in a preheated oven at 200 degrees C/392 F for 45-50 minutes. The cake should be golden and crispy around the edges, with still a bit of softness in the centre.
Allow it to cool for 15-20 minutes. Then, it’s ready to serve with fresh fruit/berries and a drizzle of nut butter. Keep it in the fridge (covered) for 3-4 days and enjoy either as a dessert or snack.
High protein cake
To take the protein content of this cake even further (and for extra flavour), I added a scoop of protein powder. The one I use is Revolution Foods Vegan Protein in Toffee Fudge. It’s my favourite from the ones I’ve tried, and doesn’t have a weird aftertaste. Other good brands are Vega, Sunwarrior and Vivo Life. I would recommend using a protein powder that’s either a neutral or vanilla flavoured so that it doesn’t interfere too much with the other ingredients.
Notes and modifications
- If you want to leave out the protein powder, use 2 tbsp extra coconut flour.
- Add any nuts, seeds or berries of your choice into the batter – chocolate chips would work brilliantly too! I love sprinkling in some goji berries for an extra superfood boost.
- For a chocolate vegan apple cake, use either chocolate protein powder or 2 tbsp extra cacao powder.
- If you’re leaving out the protein powder or using a neutral-tasting one, use 1/2 a banana in place of the flax egg for extra sweetness.
- Use any nut or seed butter of your choice (either crunchy or smooth).
Other recipes you might enjoy…
- Why not serve this as dessert after an Easy Vegetable Pumpkin Stir-fry?
- If you’re into healthy baking, check out my Berry And Almond Polenta Cake
- Or how about a No-bake Blackberry Dessert Pizza?
Let me know in the comments: what’s your favourite dessert to have in fall? If you give this recipe a go, tag me on Instagram (@earthofmariaa) so I can see your creations, and leave your thoughts/ratings below!
Cinnamon Chickpea Vegan Apple Cake (Gluten-free)
Made with chickpeas as the 'secret' ingredient, this vegan apple cake is fudgy, delicious and healthy at the same time! It's a perfect high protein and dairy-free dessert to enjoy with a cup of tea.
- 1.5 cups (220g) cooked chickpeas
- 1 scoop (30g) protein powder*
- 1/4 cup + 3 tbsp (50g) coconut flour
- 1 tbsp cacao powder
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 cup (90g) peanut butter**
- 1/4 cup (80g) maple syrup
- 1 cup (240ml) almond milk
- 1 large apple, chopped
- chopped cashew nuts, to decorate optional
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C/392 F.
Add the cooked chickpeas, protein powder, coconut flour, cacao powder, cinnamon, baking powder, peanut butter, maple syrup and almond milk to a food processor. Blend until smooth.
Transfer the batter to a shallow cake tin. Decorate the top with apple slices and chopped cashew nuts, and bake for 45 minutes, until golden and crispy around the edges, but still slightly soft in the centre.
Allow to cool for 15 minutes before serving with fresh berries and a drizzle of nut butter. Can be stored in the fridge for 3-4 days.
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