photo of pieces of cake in a skillet with text that reads back bean carrot cake

Straight from the pages of my free Let’s Bake Cake ebook, this carrot cake makes a surprising and delightful breakfast, brunch, dessert, or snack.

Recipe Backstory

I love making cakes, cookies, and brownies with beans. They add a ton of nutrients and leave you with a filling treat you can enjoy any time of day.

I developed this black bean carrot cake recipe after experimenting with chickpea cookies. I thought, if I can make a delicious (and kid-approved) cookie out of chickpeas, then surely black beans could make something equally scrumptious. Most of what you’ll find online are black bean brownies, but I wanted to incorporate a fruit or vegetable. We had a huge bunch of carrots, so I thought, why not?

Whenever I bake a cake, I’m always thinking of how to get the sweetness you’re looking for without adding a cup (or more!) of sugar. Carrots are pretty sweet on their own, and raisins do a great job of adding sweetness and texture to a recipe. Throw in a little orange juice, and you end up with a cake you can eat for breakfast.

This one lasted about a day in my house and was a big hit for back-to-school breakfasts. The prep work is a little more time-intensive than some of my other cake recipes, but once you get those carrots grated, it’s pretty much smooth sailing.

Ingredients

Jump to the recipe below for exact measurements.

  • Dry ingredients: oats, salt, baking powder, cinnamon or apple pie spice mix
  • Wet ingredients: grated carrots, cooked or canned black beans, raisins, orange juice, olive oil, vanilla

Equipment

  • grater
  • large mixing bowl
  • food processor or blender
  • cast iron skillet or baking dish of choice

Video Overview

Start with the Carrots (After Pre-Heating, Of Course)

First, preheat your oven to 400°F (204°C).

That taken care of, you can start on the cake by grating your carrots straight into your mixing bowl and set it aside. I used five large carrots to get 2 cups of grated carrots.

Be careful as you get to the tip of the carrot! I set these aside and sliced them separately on the cutting board.

Next, Prepare Your Dry Ingredients

Blend oats, salt, baking powder, and spices in a food processor or blender. I usually prefer to use a blender to blend oats, but since we’ll be using a food processor in a minute for beans, a food processor will be just fine here.

Blend your dry ingredients until you’ve formed a course flour.

Pour your oat mixture over the carrots in the mixing bowl and set aside.

Move On to Your Remaining Wet Ingredients

Combine cooked or canned black beans, raisins, orange juice, olive oil, and vanilla in a food processor.

Prep tip: if you like making beans at home, make a big batch without any seasoning and set aside a portion to use for cake or any other fun recipe. It’s easy to add seasoning to beans later while making refried beans.

After a good run through the food processor, you’ll end up with a bean paste. You can adjust the time in the food processor to get your desired texture. I personally liked having a few raisins left behind, and you’d be surprised at how sweet the beans are when they’re inside a cake. That being said, these beans provide the bulk of the moisture and binding power, so a mostly smooth consistency will be helpful.

Mix Well

Mix everything together until it’s fully combined. Your cake batter will be more dough-like and will have a uniform consistency.

Time to Bake!

We’re almost to the best part (tasting, of course). Smooth your cake mix into a lightly oiled baking dish or cast-iron skillet. Shown here is a 12-inch cast iron skillet.

Bake at 400 for 20 minutes or until your cake has developed a crust around the edges and is firm to the touch. It will be a fairly dense cake but will have some bounce-back to it when touched.

Ding! Cake’s Ready!

Look at the fabulous cake you made! Enjoy!

Let’s Recap with a Recipe & Video

photograph of a cake slices in a skillet with a spatula to the side.

Black Bean Carrot Cake

This is a hearty cake with a mild sweet and familiar carrot cake flavor. Perfect for breakfast, lunch, or midnight snacking. Add fruit, nuts, or yogurt to make it a light meal.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Course Breakfast, Brunch, Dessert, Snack
Cuisine American
Servings 6 slices
Calories 379 kcal

Equipment

  • cheese grater
  • food processor or blender
  • large mixing bowl
  • 10 or 12-inch cast iron skillet or 7×11 inch baking dish

Ingredients
  

Dry Ingredients:

  • 2 cups quick or old-fashioned oats
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon or apple pie spice mix*

Wet Ingredients:

  • 5 carrots grated (approx. 2 cups)
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked black beans or one 15-ounce can
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 400°F (204°C).

Start with the carrots.

  • Grate carrots into a large mixing bowl and set aside. Watch your fingers, especially as you get to the tip of the carrot.

Next, prepare dry ingredients.

  • Grind dry ingredients (oats, baking powder, salt, and spices) in a food processor or blender until you’ve made a course flour.
  • Pour oat mixture over grated carrots and set aside.

Next, prepare wet ingredients.

  • Grind wet ingredients (beans, raisins, orange juice, olive oil, and vanilla) until they’ve formed a smooth paste in a food processor or blender.
  • Pour bean mixture over oats and carrots.
  • Mix until all ingredients are combined.
  • Spread batter into oiled 10 or 12-inch cast iron skillet or 8×8 inch baking dish.
  • Bake in the middle rack at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until the crust is beginning to brown and is firm to the touch but bounces back when touched. The edges will begin to brown.

Video

Notes

*Use a pre-mixed apple pie spice or try making one of your own.
Keyword Bean Cake Recipe, Gluten-Free Cake, Healthy Dessert, Let’s Bake Cake, Vegan, Vegetarian

Nutrition Information

Serving Size: 1/6 of cake

  • Calories 379
  • Total Fat 7.2 g
  • Saturated Fat 1.2 g
  • Cholesterol 0 mg
  • Sodium 145 mg
  • Total Carbohydrate 66.5 g
  • Dietary Fiber 12.1 g
  • Total Sugars 12.7 g
  • Protein 15 g
  • Calcium 172 mg
  • Iron 4 mg
  • Potassium 1298 mg

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