Anna Jones' Amazing Lemon Cannellini Cake

August 22, 2016

Test Kitchen-Approved

Author Notes: When you consider blending beans into cake batter as a means of making it better—light and and airy, with a similar crumb to a regular butter and flour cake but with extra moistness and, in the words of Anna, "an almost fudge character"—then you'll want to shout those beans from the rooftop. You'll want to stick a small flag in this cake that says "Made with Beans!" You'll want to tell all your friends!

Because this cake is dairy-free and gluten-free and refined sugar-free, too, it's a great choice to bring to an event with an unknown guest list: Almost everyone will be able to eat and enjoy it (and enjoy it they will).

You won't have trouble making, it either. While the cake lives in the "Investment Cooking" chapter of A Modern Way to Cook, it only fits the bill in the context of the book's other recipes, which are grouped by speed: under 15, 20, 30, and 40 minutes. As cakes go, this one's speedy, with an easy clean-up: The batter comes together in a food processor; the frosting, in a blender.

Reprinted from A Modern Way to Cook with permission from Ten Speed Press.
Sarah Jampel

Serves: 8 to 10
Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 40 min


For the cake:

  • Two 14-ounce cans cannellini beans
  • 2/3 cup (150 milliliters) semi-solidified honey
  • Seeds from 1 vanilla bean
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 1/2 ounces (100 grams) ground almonds
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3 1/2 ounces (100 grams) melted coconut oil
  • A good pinch of sea salt

For the lemon icing:

  • 7 ounces (200 grams) silken tofu
  • 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon, plus more for garnishing
  • 2 tablespoons semisoldified honey
  • 1 teaspoon orange blossom water
In This Recipe


  1. Preheat the oven to 375° F and grease an 8-inch springform cake pan and line the bottom with parchment paper. Drain and rinse the beans.
  2. In a food processor, purée the beans, honey, and vanilla seeds until smooth. Then add the eggs one by one, pulsing as you go. The batter will rapidly increase in volume—it's fun to watch! Tip this liquidy mix into a large bowl, then add the ground almonds, baking powder, coconut oil, and salt and fold gently to combine. Anna says: "The batter may be a little looser than you'd expect from cake batter, but don't worry."
  3. Pour the mixture into the pan and bake for 30 to 40 minutes. The cake is ready when it's brown on top, firm to the touch, and a skewer comes out clean.
  4. While the cake bakes, make the icing. Put all the ingredients in a blender and blend until very smooth and shiny, 3 to 4 minutes total. Scrape down from time to time as needed. Transfer to a bowl and chill in the fridge as the cake bakes.
  5. Take the cake out of the oven, leave it to cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then release from the pan and cool completely on a rack. Once cool, top with icing and finished with additional lemon zest.

More Great Recipes:
Cake|American|Honey|Legume|Lemon|Bean|Bake|Serves a Crowd|Gluten-Free|Dessert

Reviews (22) Questions (2)

22 Reviews

V S. November 4, 2018
are the cannellini drained and rinsed?
Author Comment
Sarah J. November 4, 2018
reneej May 10, 2018
I made this cake with butter beans. My husband LOVED it! I left him the last piece, it was a challenge. Delicious!
Jen A. March 10, 2018
I don't have springform in that size - will a regular cake pan do??
Ivy W. January 5, 2018
I just made this and the batter was actually very thick once I mixed in the last ingredients. I'm thinking that was because the coconut oil resolidified when it came in contact with the cold batter. It's in the oven now -- fingers crossed!
Caroline M. November 29, 2016
This looks interesting, but it seems strange that there is no lemon in the actual cake. If you choose to use a different frosting you would lose the lemon element! I think I'm going to add lemon zest and some lemon juice to the cake batter.
Ritacooks/bakes October 31, 2016
I just made this cake for my book club. The texture was lovely and the flavor was nice, not too sweet. I had to bake it for 40 minutes to have the center baked but the top was over browned and bitter. I used another recipe for honey glaze. This was a hit.
Lisa October 27, 2016
Mine fell apart. It is not presentable. Does anyone have the same problem? Is it because of the consistency of honey: not viscous enough? Nonetheless , it was delicious.
Ruth N. September 4, 2016
I love, love, love your recipes....couldn't single ONE out...thanks
Lizzy B. August 31, 2016
Could we replace the eggs with flax eggs?
JoAnne L. October 22, 2016
I'm going to try!
melissa August 29, 2016
hmm, i wonder if the lemon icing could be replaced with a chocolate ganache...
Author Comment
Sarah J. August 29, 2016
That sounds great!
Sherene August 29, 2016
Can you explain what you mean by semi solidified honey? Is there a specific honey you recommend? Thanks!
Author Comment
Sarah J. August 29, 2016
Hi Sherene, I used this raw forest honey that we sell in the Shop ( - it's thick and hazy and has a very floral flavor. I'd look for a raw honey that's quite viscous, closer to spreadable than squeezable. The honey flavor is important here, so it's worth seeking out something you like!
Kimberly B. August 26, 2016
Is this recipe correct now? I'd like to make it...
Author Comment
Sarah J. August 26, 2016
Kimberly B. August 26, 2016
Thanks looks delish!
aunt C. August 23, 2016
The recipe says it may seem looser than reg. cake batter, I believe the ground almonds is the same as almond meal/flour, and it's about a half of a cup - so that would take the place of regular flour.
Leslie M. August 23, 2016
The baking powder and oil were left out in the original posting.
Author Comment
Sarah J. August 23, 2016
It's there now—thank you!
Leslie M. August 22, 2016
Some ingredients seem to be missing from the cake recipe. Please check. Thank you.