Healthy Flourless Chocolate Orange Cake

I’m not gonna lie to you.

This is not a healthy dessert alternative for the hard core sweet tooth in you looking for a healthier way to satisfy their cravings.

This one is for the trained healthy eater.

No. It’s even worse than that.

This one is for the open minded trained healthy eater! 😉

It’s… different. It’s special, to say the least. It takes some getting used to.

So then, if that’s the case, why do I even bother posting the recipe, you ask?

Because, I got used to it. It really grew on me, and I learned to love it. Crave it even. A bit like broccoli, I guess. I mean, hey! Who likes broccoli on their first try?

In fact, you know what? I’d LOVE to have a slice of this cake right now. But of course, it’s long gone. Unfortunately.

I have to admit that I didn’t care much for my first bite. Or my first slice, for that matter.

I felt the cake was missing something. A little bit of zing, a little bit of bam, a little bit of oomph. I mean, you look at that deep, dark brown color, you look at that dense, creamy texture and you expect to bite into this decadent, rich, exploding, in your face, extra strong, super crazy satisfying chocolate flavor.

Hey, I mean, there is over a cup of extra dark cocoa powder in that cake. You have every right to expect such an explosion of flavor, don’t you?

The truth is, it’s not really that chocolaty. At least, not on the first day. It does get better with time, though. I think it was at its best after spending 3 days in the fridge.

Oh, and another thing… as if the “deflated” chocolate flavor wasn’t enough, the orange sort of also went AWOL. Well, rather, it was completely overpowered by Ms. Banana, who shamelessely stole the show. I mean, who knew that bananas had such a strong taste!

So instead of getting a lovely chocolate orange flavor, which is one of my favorite chocolate combos, by the way, you get some sort of a chocolate/banorange combination. Next time I make this one, you can be sure that I will find a way to replace that banana. I’m thinking more dates might do the trick…

As far as the sweetness level goes, you’ll notice that I’ve barely added any sugar at all to this puppy. It shows! There is no way you could ever complain of this dessert being overly sweet, because, well, it’s not! Far from there.

Still, I really loved it, once I got used to it.

And I would make it again, without a moment of hesitation.

Think you are as extreme and crazy as I am? Go ahead and give that one a try.

But please, don’t give me hell if you end up not liking it.

You can’t say I haven’ t given you fair warning. 😉

Inspired by Mellissa’s Chocolate Orange Garbanzo Beans Cake

(Serves 12)


  • 3 cups chickpeas
  • 3 tbsp + ½ tsp baking soda
  • 200g pitted dates
  • The juice and zest of 2 oranges
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¾ cup extra dark cocoa powder
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • Splash pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup pistachios, chopped


  • 1½ cup pureed chickpea mixture (from above)
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 banana (not too ripe)
  • The zest of one orange
  • 300g soft tofu, strained
  • 1 cup  0% fat Greek yogurt
  • ½ cup extra dark cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp coconut flour
  • ¼ cup liquid honey
  • ¼ tsp salt


  • Chopped pistachio
  • Orange slices


For cake

  1. Soak chickpeas in clean water with 3 tablespoons of baking soda for at least 8 hours.
  2. Drain, rinse and soak again in tap water for a few more hours. The grains should absorb most of the water and almost double their volume.
  3. Rinse the chickpeas well and put them in a large pot. Cover with water, add ½ tsp baking soda and NO salt. Cook until the grains are very tender, almost mushy, about 30 minutes. Regularly skim the surface during cooking process to remove foam and loose peels floating. When cooked, drain the chickpeas and allow to cool for a 5-10 minutes before you continue.
  4. Add chickpeas to your food processor and process into a thick puree. Reserve 1½ cup for icing
  5. Add dates and orange juice and zest to a small pan and cook on medium low heat until the dates start to break down and the mixture turns into a thick puree
  6. Add to chickpea mixture, process until well blended and put in the refrigerator to cool completely, at least 4 hours.
  7. Preheat oven to 375F and coat a 9 inch, non-stick round cake pan with cooking spray.
  8. Add eggs, egg whites, baking powder, cocoa powder, water, salt and vanilla extract to cooled chickpea mixture and process until well combined. You might have to break down the mixture with a spatula to help get it started and scrape the sides a few times to make sure that it all gets well incorporated.
  9. Add the pistachio and process for a few seconds to break them down a bit.
  10. Transfer the cake batter into the prepared cake pan and bake in a 375F oven for 55 minutes to an hour.
  11. Remove from pan and cool completely on a cooling rack. Transfer to fridge and allow to cool for at least 2 hours before adding icing. (Strain tofu while cake is cooling)

For icing

  1. Place tofu in a fine mesh strainer. Place that strainer over a medium bowl to collect the liquid and put a small plate over the tofu. Add a weight, such as a large can of tomatoes or pumpkin puree, on top of the plate, and allow tofu to strain for at least 2 hours.
  2. When tofu is done straining, add it to the bowl of your food processor, along with the rest of the ingredients of the icing. Process until smooth.
  3. Place cake on a cake plate and mound icing in the middle. Spread icing delicately all the way to the edge.
  4. Garnish with chopped pistachio and orange slices.



  1. says

    O you know what? I have a fairly similar cake in the fridge right now although truth be told that one cannot be considered healthy by any stretch of the imagination. And it’s not baked either. Not sure if I would prefer your version. Lol. It looks very pretty though. That’s for sure!

    • says

      Thank you Simone. Oh but I bet yours is absolutely gorgeous and that you took mouth watering pictures of it, too! And if you ever post it, I’ll end up drooling all over my keyboard and wishing I could make one for myself… 😉 Bah, I’ll stick to mine anyway, it’s better for my heart and my waist line. 😉

  2. says

    Well it looks delicious! I feel like this is a dare for us healthy dessert eaters out there! I love chocolate orange as a combo, and I am surprised about that strong banana taste. Sounds like this cake is like wine: better with age, as you were saying!

    • says

      Funny, I was thinking exactly that as I was writing the part about aging… just like a fine wine, or cheese, it gets better with age! Trust me, I too, was really surprised about the banana being so strong. Lesson learned, though! :)

  3. says

    Trained healthy eater……love that expression!!!! Chocolate and orange is a great combo. The ingredients list I better never show to anyone if I will make this cake. A chocolate orange cake with chickpeas, tofu, avocado and banana in it. That is a challenge I will take!

    • says

      Alright, glad to hear you want to take this challenge, Anja. But you are right, better keep that list of ingredients to yourself… but then again, it might help people open their mind a little if they taste it knowing full well what’s in it and how good it is for them…

  4. says

    Hey Sonia! I was so excited (and of course unbelievably honored!) to see your comment that you had posted a version inspired by my cake! I ran straight over here and started reading and was like “Oh my gosh she HATES my cake!!!!” Thank god I kept reading before the sobbing started!! ha ha! Glad that it grew on you and it looks fudgetastic! When I went through the ingredients I laughed because other than the chickpeas, chocolate and orange it has so many things that make it different (and much healthier!) than my version! So I appreciate very much the shout out since you REALLY made this one your own!!! The photos are as always, superb! You make healthy eating look delicious! Thanks again! Mellissa

    • says

      Thank you Mellissa! I might have changed everything about your recipe, but I wouldn’t have had been inspired to make this had I never seen your version of a chickpea chocolate orange cake. Sorry to have scared you like that! I wouldn’t have linked to you if I had really hated it. 😉 Well, come to think of it, I wouldn’t even have posted it! 😀

  5. says

    I don’t think I can keep this in my fridge for 3 days…2/3 of the cake would be gone by the first day, and the last 1/3? Gone in the second day.
    And by ‘gone’ I mean Istuffedthisthinginmymouthandnowit’sinmystomach gone :]

    • says

      LOL! You’re funny Kathy. But this cake really is filling, you might be surprised by how long it could last you! 😉 In fact, I never really had mine as dessert, but mainly as snacks. Makes for an awesome afternoon snack!

  6. says

    Well, I know I’m not as extreme as you, but I have to say the cake certainly looks delicious. The inside looks so fudgy and dense! And the icing looks incredible, I really can’t believe there’s chickpeas in that! It really is all about training our taste buds though, isn’t it? I love that expression, it’s so true.

  7. Risa says

    I LOVE everything about this cake except for ‘one item’…the ‘orange’. I know, and sorry. Can you tell me what else I could possibly substitute the orange with PLEASE???? Have to try and thanks so much for sharing and your awesome help and suggestions!!! HUGS!!

  8. says

    How hilarious! I LOOKS oowwie gooie chocolatey creamy and rich! The ingredients are very intriguing! I only recently had a sweet dish with a chickpea replacement…it was a ‘cookie N cream dough.’ I liked it, nice twist. I really really want to make this just for its unique additions. Your photography is great!

    • says

      Really? What a shame! And how surprising too. I mean, dried chickpeas are non perishable and so easy to keep on a shelf for extended periods of time. You would think that any store across the planet would go for that…

      I guess you could probably try the canned version…

  9. Diana says

    Hi there,

    Could I substitute with tinned chickpeas? Would it be the same ratio? Eg. 3 cups tinned chickpeas?

    P.s your blag is amazing!

    • says

      Thanks much Diana, I truly appreciate your saying that! =D

      About subbing tinned chickpeas, I’m really not sure, for the baking soda used to cook them really modifies their structure and makes them super creamy. It might still work, but the texture wouldn’t be quite as smooth… at least that’s what I think. But it might very well be worth trying!

      Make sure to let me know how it went if you do! :)

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