By Evelyn Cairns

I had misgivings about the chocolate cake recipe Carol Hanasack of Grosse Ile shared when I read that the batter was made with black beans, and the ganache with a sweet potato. But everyone who tasted the cake (including me) thought it was delicious, and reactions were fun when I revealed the nutritious ingredients.


  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 15-ounce can low-sodium black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 large eggs (room temperature)
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup warm water


Heat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9-inch-square baking pan with cooking spray. Line bottom with parchment. Spray parchment. Whisk flour, cocoa, baking powder and baking soda. In food processor, combine beans, sugar, vanilla and salt. Process until smooth. Add eggs, vegetable oil and water. Process until smooth. Add flour mixture and process until blended.
Pour into pan and bake 35 minutes, or until cake springs back when pressed. Cool 10 minutes, then run a thin knife between pan and cake. Flip cake over, remove parchment and cool completely. Frost cake with ganache.


  • 1 sweet potato (about 8 ounces)
  • 1 cup chocolate chips (milk, semisweet or bittersweet)

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Bake sweet potato until very soft, about 1 hour. Cool 10 minutes, then slice in half. Scoop out flesh to make 1 cup. Place in processor. Process until smooth. Add chocolate chips. Process until smooth (puree will melt chocolate). Cool 10 minutes, then spread on cake.
(Recipe from Family Circle.)

Another Rum Cake

The following recipe, from Darlene Randazzo of Trenton, would be a tasty Father’s Day treat for that special man in your family. Darlene says the cake “is not the prettiest and rather plain-looking,” but is easy to make, and people who love rum really enjoy it. When I baked it, to make it prettier, I drizzled the cake with a glaze, combining 1 cup confectioners’ sugar with approximately 5 teaspoons pineapple juice.


  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract
  • ¾ cup amber rum
  • ¾ cup whole milk
  • 1¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 package (3.4 ounces) instant vanilla pudding mix
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  • ½ cup unsalted butter, melted
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup sugar
  • Dash salt
  • ½ cup amber rum
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract

l. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Beat in extract. In a small bowl, combine rum and milk. In a large bowl, whisk flour, pudding mix, cornstarch, baking powder and salt. Add to creamed mixture alternately with rum mixture, beating well after each addition.

2. Turn into well-greased and floured 10-inch fluted tube pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Cool 10 minutes, remove from pan briefly to prevent sticking; replace in pan. Cool on wire rack.

3. Meanwhile, for syrup, heat butter, water, sugar and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, add rum and extract. With a small skewer, poke holes in the cake, then slowly pour syrup over cake until all is absorbed. Cover and let stand overnight. Invert on a plate to serve.
(Cake recipe from Taste of Home.)

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