Lemon Chickpea Cake

Lemon-Chickpea-Cake_thumb.jpgWhy would anyone put garbanzos into cake batter?  Yeah, good question.  The recipe was in a little pamphlet from a US Pea and Lentil Commodity Board I picked up at a food conference somewhere. Hmmm…  salads, soups, stews… LEMON CHICKPEA CAKE?

Chickpeas are garbanzo beans, if you didn’t know. I love ‘em. Some people don’t; when you order a chopped salad at the California Pizza Kitchen, they always ask if you want the garbanzos.  Uh, YEAH I DO (and gimme that guy’s, too)!

So, to answer “why?” bake a cake with chickpeas…  three reasons: (1) they add a smidge of nutrition with protein and fiber, (2) they produce a moist, dense cake and (3) the board’s job is to sell products of the businesses that fund them.  In this case, chickpeas.  I think it’s a fine use of them, frankly.

This simple recipe makes two “delightfully lemony” shallow layers that you frost with lemon glaze in the center and on top. I was so smitten with the outcome, I forgot to shoot a picture until there was only one bite left.

Lemon Chickpea Cake

  • 1 15 ounce can USA chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 4 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons grated lemon zest
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 egg whites
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar, divided
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • Lemon Glaze (recipe below)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease and lightly flour two 8-inch round cake pans.

In a blender or food processor, puree the chickpeas with lemon juice, oil and lemon zest.  Add egg yolks and blend well.  Turn the mixture into a large bowl.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder and salt.  Fold into the pureed chickpea mixture.

In another medium bowl, beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar until foamy.  Gradually add remaining 1/2 cup sugar, beating until stiff peaks form.

Fold the beaten egg whites into the chickpea puree. Divide the batter between the prepared pans and bake 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.  Cool 10 minutes, then remove cake from pans.  Cool completely.  Frost with lemon glaze.


  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

In a medium bowl, mix all the ingredients.  Place one cake layer on a plate, use half the glaze to frost the top.  Place the second layer on top, and frost with remaining glaze (you won’t have enough for the sides).

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