The coming of the new year is a very peculiar event to celebrate- Every culture has their own customs and methods, but each involves a healthy dose of superstition. It’s hard to say that any of it truly has any impact on the year ahead, but something about those standard rituals just make the day a bit more special. As if to mark them as different from all others, to really put a dividing line between one set of 52 weeks and the next, it’s the unusual and often inexplicable traditions that remind us that it’s not to late for our luck to turn around, or for us to start again if we should need to. So although I couldn’t tell you exactly why it’s considered auspicious to eat black-eyed peas on New Year’s Eve, I can tell you that I definitely will be.
Most people make Hopping John to get their serving of these cyclops beans, but where’s the imagination in that? Nope, for me, I don’t put them in any regular or predicable dishes, but I dole out a bit of good luck to those with a sweet tooth like myself.
Crackled on top and sunken in the middle, this is one homely cake for sure, but it will always have a place in my heart. Composed of little more than black-eyed peas and chocolate, those who avoid gluten will also be able to partake, and the high protein content makes it a lesser evil than most of the sweet treats that have been so abundant this season. It may not be fancy enough to bring to that black tie affair, but since I plan to celebrate the beginning of the new year quietly at home, a thick, dense, and somewhat crumbly slice of this cake is exactly what I want to cozy up with when the ball drops in Times Square.
Besides, can you think of a sweeter way to get a serving of beans into your diet?
Lucky Chocolate Cake
Adapted from Epicurious
2 Cups Cooked Black-Eyed Peas
1 12-Ounce Package Extra-Firm Silken Tofu
3/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
1 1/2 Cups Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
1/4 Cup Natural Cocoa Powder
1 Teaspoon Instant Coffee Powder
3/4 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1/4 Teaspoon Baking Soda
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and lightly grease a 9×5 loaf pan.
Toss both the black-eyed peas and the tofu into your food processor or blender, and let it run until the mixture is completely smooth. Give it a good long time to work, since it would be rather unpleasant to find any whole beans in your cake. Add in the sugar and coffee powder, and pulse to combine.
Separately, melt the chocolate and stir well until smooth before adding into the food processor, and then let it run for a minute until fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides to make sure you aren’t missing anything, and give it another minute to process. Finally, add the cocoa, coffee powder, baking powder, soda, and salt, and pulse to combine.
Spread the mixture into your prepared pan, leveling off the top with your spatula as best you can. Bake for 60 – 70 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out mostly clean. I know that’s a bit vague, but it will still be ever so slightly wet since it’s such a moist cake- Just make sure it doesn’t look like it’s covered in raw batter. Let it cool completely in the pan before serving.