Chocolate chip cookie cake

vegan chocolate chip cake made with chickpeas and aquafaba
Makes one 18cm (7 inch) cake

250g cooked chickpeas
150g soft brown sugar
50g oats
2 tblsp apple sauce OR aquafaba
1.5 tblsp olive oil OR coconut oil
1 tsp baking powder
0.5 tsp vanilla extract
0.25 tsp salt
0.25 tsp bicarbonate of soda

85g dairy-free dark chocolate chips

2 tsp cocoa powder and water to mix (optional)

Drain the chickpeas, whether home-cooked or canned, reserving the cooking water (also known as aquafaba) if you plan to use it in this recipe or elsewhere.

Put the chickpeas in a food processor and set to high speed for about thirty seconds, until the consistency is approximately that of hummus. You can use a stick blender to puree them more at this stage, if you wish, adding the apple sauce or aquafaba to make it slightly less dry.

Add all the other ingredients except the chocolate chips to the food processor, and use a low or medium speed to blend them well together.

Stir in the chocolate chips, then place in an 18cm (7 inch) greased and/or lined cake tin, preferably one with a loose base. If you want a more chocolatey centre section, put about three-quarters of the mixture in the tin, pushing it to the edges. Then mix cocoa powder in a small bowl with a little cold water, until it forms a slightly runny paste, and stir that into the remaining mixture. Place it in the middle of the tin, then smooth the top so it's even.

Cook for about 25-30 minutes at 180C until the top is firm but still pliable. Leave to cool in the tin.

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I had never heard of a chocolate chip cookie cake (or, indeed pie), although apparently they're well-known in the US. Traditional ones, it seems, have a pastry crust, and contain flour, butter and eggs rather than chickpeas, oil and apple sauce. They are highly calorific, and not suitable for vegans, nor for those who are gluten-free or dairy-free.

I first came across the wheat-free vegan variation, called 'deep dish cookie pie' on the 'chocolate covered Katie' blog. It sounded wonderful, but also huge. I didn't have a 10-inch (25cm) deep cake tin, either. So I did a rough calculation and decided that my convenient 18cm pan would be about right for half the quantity. That's the amount given, converted from cups to metric weights, above.

My first attempt didn't look much like the mouth-watering photos on Katie's blog, but it tasted very good. And was even better on the second day. To our way of thinking it was more a cake than a pie; pies, by my definition, contain some form of pastry. But that's merely semantics.

So I decided to try making the full recipe (ie double my version) for my second attempt, dividing it between two 18cm pans, to share with some friends. Since I’d soaked and cooked some chickpeas the day before, I decided to use aquafaba rather than apple sauce, as I didn’t want to have to cook an apple on a hot day to produce just a couple of tablespoons of apple sauce. It worked perfectly.

mixture for chickpea chocolate chip cake, in food processor

My food processor is fairly basic and it was difficult to get the chickpeas to a puree. The first time I used my stick blender as well, as suggested above, but the second time I didn't bother as it made a lot of extra mess.

It was fine from my perspective, and for those of us who like chickpeas; we couldn't taste them, but there was a hint of chickpea texture here and there. Those who don't like chickpeas may find that disturbing and prefer them more thoroughly blended.

choc chip cookie pie with chickpeas, baked and in the pan, showing chocolate centre
I started wondering about adding cocoa powder to one of them, then decided to make a smaller chocolate section in the centre of each.  I weighed about 400g of the mixture into each of the tins, smoothing it out and hollowing the centre slightly, then I mixed cocoa powder with water to form a paste, and stirred that into the rest.

It didn't look particularly pretty, but it worked well. It still doesn't look like the recipe I've adapted, but the taste is still amazingly good, with a fudgy texture ... and we think it's even better when it's been refrigerated overnight.

Important note: if you're vegan or strictly dairy-free, you will need to check the ingredients in the chocolate chips to ensure that you can eat them. Many dark chocolate chips are free of dairy products, but some of them contain traces of milk. If you are coeliac, check the baking powder too, as some brands can contain small amounts of gluten. 

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