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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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Cathy @ She Paused 4 Thought September 17, 2013 at 9:41 pm

If this is half as good as your Glazed Lemon Pound Cake recipe I am in!

2 Worth The Whisk September 17, 2013 at 12:11 pm

Lisa, I think the batter is too dense to make a loaf cake, but you might just want to try cupcakes!

3 Lisa Lyons September 17, 2013 at 11:27 am

Patti, how would I adjust recipe to make this as a loaf cake instead of a layer cake? That way I can use less glaze and not worry about slippage! Thanks 🙂

4 Karen Guerra July 21, 2013 at 1:25 pm

Patti, I thought “chickpeas!?” But you were right. The cake was moist and delicious. Another winning recipe.

5 Carla @ Gluten Free Recipe Box July 7, 2013 at 11:04 pm

Since I’m on a gluten free diet, I’ve been seeing more and more recipes using beans and chickpeas instead of flour. This sounds perfect, though…a balance of peas and flour. Of course, I’ll use a gluten-free flour blend, but I have to make this! In addition, I’m allergic to citrus, so I’ll use pineapple juice. I bet it will be great. Thanks!

6 sippitysup June 25, 2013 at 6:33 pm

I made a potato cake (sweet and almond-y) so I am sure this was fab. GREG

7 Margie MacKenzie June 25, 2013 at 5:24 pm

Oh, Patti, reading this post is as if you’re right here with me, telling me how to make this inspired cake! I can’t wait to try it! It was such a pleasure to meet you at Camp Blogaway! I love all the Larry stories, too!

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