An Obsession with All Things Handmade and Home-Cooked

A Matter Of Luck


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
Pinch Salt

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.

Printable Recipe

Author: Hannah (BitterSweet)

Author of My Sweet Vegan, Vegan Desserts, Vegan a la Mode, and Easy as Vegan Pie.

67 thoughts on “A Matter Of Luck

  1. Brilliant! I’ll be having boring old peppered black eyed peas, rice, collars and maybe cornbread. But how nice to know that I can have my traditional prosperity and cake, too! Thanks for the yummy recipe!!

  2. er, um…that would be “collards” ;-)

  3. It’s very interesting recipe.
    With beans, you have the imagination, the result is bluff and I want to eat my screen! From early morning, a recipe such yum yum :)

  4. oh, thanks for the reminder. Not only to eat black eyed peas, but to be creative with them! why does pure bean and chocolate sound so good? :P

  5. What a creative recipe! Yummy looking cake! Happy New Year, Hannah!

  6. Looks very decadent, whilst healthy at the same time. I’ve always wanted to try baking with tofu, and having made bean brownies before, I think I’d like this cake too.

  7. I’ve never baked anything with beans in it but now i’m intrigued. The cake looks so moist and fluffy! Mmm

    Thanks for the reminder for the hopping john meal!

  8. Wow do I want a piece of your lucky chocolate cake. Have a great and prosperous New year , Hannah!

  9. SO FREAKING INNOVATIVE!!! Love it x1000.

  10. I never new about the black eye pea thing until a couple years ago but now I want to do it just for the fun of superstition.

  11. hannah, this looks awesome! i’ve been fighting a sweets craving ever since the christmas cookie marathon started earlier this month. this looks like the perfect way to enjoy some yummy chocolate with a bit less guilt, which is fine by me. and, as i have all these ingredients patiently waiting in my cupboards…this cake must be made!

  12. Ummm, that looks fantastic. You just made me want to stay home on New Year’s Eve and bake, haha.

  13. I never heard of the black eyed pea thing til I got to tx, Since I love legumes of all discription I thought this was a wonderful idea, then I tried them, blech! tried them all sorts of ways and still tasted like dirt. This yr i have pickled blackeye beans and you know they aren’t half bad. Chocolate cake may be on the line up for next yr though.

  14. Lovely recipe. I’ve never heard of Black eyed beans being the thing to eat on NYE. Maybe next year I’ll give it a try. This year, I’m going for carrot cake as i am a new baker and it always turns out well.

    Happy New Year!

  15. I wonder if you think I could substitute something for the tofu? I’m still avoiding soy in my diet but I hate missing out on all your goodies!

  16. Ooooh, this looks and sounds absolutely wonderful! When I get my baking legs back I’m going to have to try this!

  17. Gorgeous! I am seeing so many bean paste brownies these days – got to make mine soon!

  18. That cake looks really yummy. I haven’t tried working with beans in baking too much, except for brownies, but I’m definitely going to try out this cake recipe.

  19. I have never used beans in a dessert before, but I keep seeing recipes like this and I am intrigued. Can you taste the beans at all?

  20. That is a fantastic idea! I’ve never eaten black-eyed peas for the New Year celebration, but now I have, um, food for thought. ;)

  21. What an imaginative recipe. All that fiber and protein packed into an incredible chocolate cake…brilliant! It reminds me of sweet adzuki paste or something of that nature. I think you’re on to something here.

  22. Lucky chocolate cake – I love it!!! Happy New Year!

  23. the cake looks delish! i’ve never tried beans in chocolate.. i will have to give it a shot sometime!

  24. Awesome. I never ate black eyed peas on New Years day (until last year) as hard as my parents tried to get me too. If they had made me this cake, I would have devoured it… and maybe I would have been a whole lot luckier!

  25. I hadn’t heard that about black eyed peas.

    I’ll be quite honest… I think your cake looks suitable for any event! I’m not even a fan of chocolate but I certainly wouldn’t turn my nose up at it! It looks rich not sweet.

    Wishing you a Happy (& Lucky) 2009!

  26. I did something like this last year… made brownies!! Don’t know what I’ll do this year. Looks yummy!

  27. ha, why not have you luck and eat it too? :) best wishes for the new year!

  28. This cake looks so rich and decadent-yum! What a fun and interesting recipe, I’ll definitely have to give this one a try :)

  29. Wow, those look delicious. You can’t beat healthy ingredients disguised in the form of a brownie. Happy New Year!

  30. Whoa, what interesting ingredients. It looks great. If you hadn’t said anything, I wouldn’t have known at all!

  31. We have the same tradition. Black eyed peas for dinner on New Years Day. With today’s economy it sure can’t hurt to keep up with this tradition. I think this cake really takes the cake. DH is going to be so excited. Protein cake!

  32. That is totally the way to eat Black Eyed Peas! I can’t stand hoping John so I can’t wait to give this a try.
    Have a happy and healthy 2009 Hannah! Thanks for providing your fabulous blog to everyone.

  33. Ohhh, interesting! I already cooked my black eyed peas with garlic, so I’ll have to give this a try another time! hehe.

  34. The cake looks great, and is such a delicious-sounding spin on tradition that I couldn’t wait to make it!

    Alas, my attempt was a disaster. :o( (Oh well, I was about due.) After reaching a clay-like consistency about 40 minutes in, my cake refused to bake any further! I gave up after two hours total, thinking it might solidify when cooled…nope.

    Anyone know where I went wrong? The only changes I made were “firm” silken instead of “extra-firm,” and a few extra chocolate chips (no more than 1/3 c). Oh, I’m confident in my oven temp, too.

    Fortunately there’s time to make different cake for tonight, and eat our black-eyed peas the old-fashioned way! Happy New Year, everyone.

  35. Happy New Year 2009

  36. Wishing you a very happy and peaceful New Year Hannah!
    We are having a quiet one too, just wish I had time to make that delicious looking cake!!!

  37. Yuuuummmm love this brownie-like chocolate cake…wish I knew how to gather all the indredients and get something similar like that one…not good at cooking I’m afraid, but I promise I’ll try :)
    Happy new year!

  38. Black eyed peas??? Isn’t that a band? I thought cannabalism was illegal in most states… LOL. Very creative recipe. I may have to give it a go!

  39. How clever! (And yummy) :] Happy ’09!

  40. That cake looks so moist and delicious! Happy new year!

  41. Yum! Mine is in the oven right now, but I’m sitting here on the edge of my seat worried to death!! Upon putting it in the oven and reading over the recipe i saw “leveling off the top as best you can..” My batter was so runny! I didn’t have any extra firm silken tofu, so I used firm. Could this be the culprit? I’m afraid it will only reach a clay-like consistency like it did with the other comment above..!

  42. How interesting! I’ve already made my spicy blackeyed peas, but chocolaty beanie brownies sound good to me!

  43. These is a great way to work those black eyed peas into your diet!

    Happy new year!

  44. Hannah-
    I NEVER in the world would have thought of creating a flourless, bean-y cake, but from those pictures I would have never guessed! So simple yet delicious… Keep up the great blogging in the newyear! =)

  45. Ha, you totally reminded me of a scene in my head, my sister, brother and I sitting around the table, nearly gagging to get down just one black eyed pea each!

    Happy New Year!

  46. That is the coolest cake recipe – thanks for sharing. Happy New Year!!!

  47. I so want to make this for my niece! She is gluten intolerant and she loves chocolate. Actually, I think she lives on chocolate.

    Thank You and a Happy New Year to You!

  48. I had my black eyed peas and cabbage today. The southern tradition, which my mom-in-law taught me was:

    Black eyed peas: bring good health
    Cabbage: brings wealth


  49. just stumbled upon this blog and i’m loving it! i actually have lots of black beans i need to use, so i think i am about to make your lucky chocolate cake right now!!

  50. New Year, new potatoes for me. Or anything else with new in the name. Suggestions anyone?

    I thought your recipe was a great way of getting kids to eat beans too!

  51. I stumbled across you blog and am so glad I did. This cake sounds very intriguing. I love the creativity.

  52. I am very curious about this now! I have heard of using black beans, but not black eyed peas. I will have to give this one a try! I hope you have a great year!

  53. I tried this recipe and it was totally uncooked in the middle! I scooped it out and put it into silicone cupcake cases and every time I want a snack I put it in the microwave for a minute! I’m not sure if I will make them again, the tofu and bean flavor was quite overpowering.

    Having said that, I really appreciate the interesting recipe, and I felt very happy joining in the american tradition of bringing good luck with black eyed peas! Thanks.

  54. Thank You sooooo much for this recipe!
    I finally got around to making it. I kept eating all of the black eyed peas and couldn’t get around to making it… I had jetlag to tell you the truth.

    Well, I made this thinking,” Self, it is fun to try new things. It may not be a homerun but at least it is chocolate.”
    I was so wrong. This is a homerun!!
    It was a mix between a dense brownie and a wet cake. WONDERFUL!
    I can’t wait to make more with nuts, whole chocolate chips, or coconut!
    Thanks again!

  55. I love this!! I really want to make this!! However, what can I replace the instant coffee powder with? (I don’t consume coffee xD). But excellent cake though!!!! DIVINE!!

  56. Pingback: Yum yum. « Food thoughts of a Happy Vegan Lady

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  60. Can I change the black eyes peas to Soy beans? ]:

  61. I made this cake. It is terrific! It makes me not miss wheat and dairy–Thank you! I plan to have it regularly, to heck with waiting for the New Year!

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  63. Would it be wrong to admit out loud, that I ate half the cake already, because it’s so rich, dense and BURSTING with chocolate flavor????? WOW!!! **NO ONE** would know it’s vegan **AND** gluten-free! THANX for an AWESOME recipe–I look forward next to making the coconut chai ice cream!

  64. I made this cake for passover. It was absolutely amazing. I like it better than “normal” flourless chocolate cakes I’ve had. I baked it in a 9″ springform pan. It was just like eating fudge. Thank you so much for this recipe, I think it’ll become a staple of mine!

  65. Has anyone tried this with chickpeas instead of black eyed peas? i don’t have any of those handy… thanks!

    • Although I haven’t tried it, I don’t see why any other bean wouldn’t work just as well. As long as they’re well-blended, it should work out just fine. Go for it, and report back on the results! :)

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