Chickpeas seem like an odd addition to a cake, where their natural earthiness would seem incongruent with sweetness, but they're used in the traditional Mexican cake - pastel de garbanzos - which is dense and impossibly moist, and best served warm.
I stumbled across pastel de garbanzos ages ago, which inspired this Chickpea Cake. A traditional pastel de garbanzos uses plenty of butter and sugar, but I wanted the flavors of tahini, olive oil and honey to find their way into my version.
Though they do seem out of place in sweets, the natural combination of both carbohydrate and protein found in beans and chickpeas makes them particularly well-suited to baking. Their high resistant-starch content helps the cake hold together well,
Chickpea and Tahini Cake with Olive Oil and Honey
- Dump the chickpeas into a medium mixing bowl, cover them with warm water and stir in the baking soda. Allow them to soak at least 8 and up to 12 hours. Drain them and rinse them well.
- Throw the soaked chickpeas into a large pot, cover them with water by two inches and bring them to a boil over medium high heat, boiling them until tender.
- Heat the oven to 350F, and then grease and flour a 9-inch tube pan.
- Drain the chickpeas, and place them in a high-powered blender (This is the one we use.) Add the olive oil, tahini, salt, eggs, honey and arrowroot powder to the blender. Grate the rind of two lemons very finely, and add it to the blender. Juice the lemons and add the juice to the blender. Blend all the ingredients together until they form a smooth, uniform batter.
- Bake the cake at 350 F for 1 hour, or until a toothpick stuck into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool, in its mold, on a wire wrack for 15 minutes. Carefully unmold the cake onto a platter, and serve it warm.
The Goodness of Pulses
Chickpeas and other pulses find their way into the traditional foods of cultures throughout the world, though, they're used less often for sweets than for savory foods. They're a remarkably diverse crop, deeply nutritious and blessedly inexpensive; moreover, they're a mainstay of some of the longest-lived people on the planet (read more here and here).
We've partnered with USA Pulses and Pulse Canada to celebrate the diversity of pulses like chickpeas, and you can join me by signing up for the pulse pledge here. You'll get tips on cooking with beans, split peas, lentils and chickpeas as well as some pretty amazing recipes.