Running Fuel – Long Run Cake

20 Sep

The other day I finally got around to cracking open my October issue of Runner’s World magazine.  Normally I do the happy dance boogie all the way from the mail box across the street through my front door when it arrives, but lately I have been so busy that I did not have time to read through it until the other night.

This month’s issue has a fantastic section called “Secrets of the Marathon Chefs” where different chefs who are also runners share their favorite recipes for pre-race and post-race snacks and meals.  Being a wannabe foodie, the pages that followed got me all excited!  I love, love, love to cook, but growing up in the South has left me with an arsenal of recipes of super cheesy casseroles and deep-fried…well, ANYTHING.  Delicious comfort food? Yes! Fuel for my running machine? NO.

The recipe for the Long-Run Cake really piqued my interest.  For one, it is a cakeHELLO!  Secondly, its chocolate cake! (Chef Gesine Bullock-Prado, you are speaking my language!)  Then I started going down the list of ingredients.  I am sure the look on my face went from sheer excitement to utter confusion with ingredients like black beans, oat flour, and coffee.  I could not have ever imagined that a chocolate cake made with black beans could possibly be tasty, but always looking for an adventure, I decided to give it a whirl.  Off to Whole Foods to get my ingredients!

Ingredients! Ready to bake!

To get started, you can either check out the recipe in the October issue of Runner’s World (Page 67) or you can view and print the online version here!

Specifically, the ingredients I used were:
1 cup all-natural (no sugar added) Archer Farms applesauce (Target, already had this)
1 15.5oz can 365 black beans (Whole Foods)
1 ½ cups Bob’s Red Mill Oat Flour (Whole Foods)
1 cup Ghirardelli cocoa powder (Whole Foods)
2 teaspoons baking powder (store brand, already had this)
1 teaspoon salt (Morton, already had this)
1 cup Madhava Agave Nectar (Whole Foods)
2 eggs Organic Valley Large Brown Cage-Free (Whole Foods)
¼ cup Maxwell House coffee (already had this)
1 teaspoon McCormick vanilla (already had this)

I wanted to use ALL organic/natural ingredients as I thought this might produce the best output, but I also did not want to be wasteful, so I did use some ingredients that I already had.

The first step was to blend the applesauce and black beans in a food processor.  I was VERY wary about this step, but the black beans blended pretty smoothly and, when combined, the mixture did not smell like anything other than applesauce.

Black Beans + Applesauce

Next up was to mix the agave syrup and eggs with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.  My (heavy) electric mixer was on a high shelf and I could not get it down by myself, so I mixed this the old-fashioned way…by hand.  I could not get the full fluffiness an electric mixer would have gotten, but the ingredients were mixed nonetheless.

I continued down the recipe, finally combining all ingredients to make this super yummy-smelling batter.  Look, it even LOOKS like regular cake batter!  (I don’t need no stinkin’ Pillsbury!)

Yummy Long-Run Cake Batter!

The recipe said to pour the batter into 12 mini loaf pans, but I do not have those, so I used a silicone 9” x 9” KitchenAid baking square.

And into the oven...

20 minutes later at 350° F…


My first thoughts on seeing it come out of the oven…

  • Its pretty dense and not nearly as fluffy as the photo.  However, I know this is most likely my own fault for not using the electric mixer.  Next time, I will think ahead and have my husband take it down for me.
  • It smells delicious!  I used a high quality cocoa (as suggested in the article) and I think that made a lot of the difference.  It smelled so chocolately!

My first thoughts on tasting it once it was cooled…

  • My cake falls somewhere between cake and brownie on the chewiness scale.  It was definitely chewier than a cake, but still fluffier than a brownie.  The texture was definitely not a deterrent though!
  • It was GOOD!  You have to approach a cake like this knowing it is not going to taste like a chocolate birthday cake from the bakery.  For being a high-protein pre-run snack, it really hits the spot!  I think it has just the right amount of sweetness to make it tasty, but certainly not so much so that it leaves your body (and brain) craving more.  To me, it was just right!
  • The amount of chocolately-ness and flavor remind me a lot of the chocolate VitaMuffins VitaTops or one of the Chocolate Brownie Clif Kid ZBars.

I opted not to make the Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Icing that was also suggested in the recipe.  That part of the recipe was only available online and I was working out of the magazine, though I still do not think I would have made it.  While it does sound crazy delicious (and I would definitely make it in the future), the goal here was to master a gluten-free, high-protein, high-fiber snack.  SUCCESS!

Last night, I covered the leftovers with aluminum foil and put it in the fridge.  This morning I cut a square to take with me on the road to eat for breakfast.  STILL YUMMY!

My overall thoughts…
Should you try this?  Yes.
Should you follow the instructions and use an electric mixer? Yes.
Should you keep an open mind about baking with black beans?  Yes.
Should you expect that this cake tastes like your grandma’s that she makes with sour cream, butter, and lard? No.
Will I make this again?  YES!

Have you seen this recipe in Runner’s World?  If so, what did you think of it?  Will you be trying it?

29 Responses to “Running Fuel – Long Run Cake”

  1. SeeBriRun at 9:01 AM #

    I loved that RW article!! So glad you did a review. 🙂

    • katieRUNSthis at 9:10 AM #

      Definitely give it a try! By the way, oat flour smells so yummy! Had never baked with it before but I will definitely try it again!

  2. Steph at 9:04 AM #

    I saw this recipe and immediately wanted to try it. My husband is completely grossed out by the thought. I’m definitely going to have to do it…thanks for the review!

    • katieRUNSthis at 9:09 AM #

      Ha! So was mine! He thought there was no way it could be good, but I thought it was tasty. Just keep your expectations realistic and you will love it!

  3. Jenn at 9:10 AM #

    Oh my I’m going to have to try it….haven’t gotten my copy of RW yet in the mail. But I have to say – I’ve been a fan of black bean brownies for ages when I discovered them during a South Beach Diet phase….those are delicious! So I’m all up for new black bean dessert recipes! Thanks!

    • katieRUNSthis at 9:12 AM #

      I have never done the South Beach Diet so I was not too familiar with the black bean substitution, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought!! Would definitely try it again!

  4. Rivers Hughey at 9:43 AM #

    I saw this article! I love any recipe that hides random/healthy (i.e. black beans) ingredients in the batter, as I’m a picky eater and it’s easier for me that way. I’m like a little kid – I need to be tricked! And, I will eat ANYTHING that is covered in a cream cheese icing.

    Great job, lady! You need to come teach me your cooking skills, I’m sure Kevin would appreciate it. 😉

    • katieRUNSthis at 9:46 AM #

      Have kitchen space, will bake! I’ll make you a deal…you let me come play in your kitchen and we can make all kinds of (hidden) healthy goodies!! There are several other recipes in the magazine and on the website that I want to try!

      My friend gave me this yummy looking recipe for red velvet cakes that use beets and I have been dying to try it! Yay for being tricked!! 🙂

      • Rivers Hughey at 9:52 AM #

        Not only do I have WAY too much kitchen space, I’ve got all kind of crazy, nice gadgets that I don’t even know how to use. It’s all yours! I’ll be your little grasshopper.

      • katieRUNSthis at 9:54 AM #

        You may very well have just opened Pandora’s Box, my dear! I love, love, LOVE to cook!!! I told Brent our next place MUST have a good size kitchen. NON-NEGOTIABLE!!

  5. Maggie at 10:23 AM #

    Um. YUMMMM. And peanut butter cream cheese frosting??? OMG.

  6. Krissy Murphy at 10:36 AM #

    This is the coolest thing ever! I’m gonna have to try this!!

  7. liverunloveyoga at 1:47 PM #

    Thanks for doing the review on this! I saw it too and read the ingredients and decided not to make that but now I just might give it a try this weekend! It’ll be the perfect healthy, sweet snack for our taper before Chicago Marathon! Thanks again!

    • katieRUNSthis at 2:04 PM #

      Definitely at least give it a try. Like I said, the black beans almost scared me off but I tried it and you REALLY can’t even tell they are in there! It is not overly sweet, but has a natural sweetness (sort of like a granola or protein bar). Hope you like it!

  8. I’ve been debating on making some black bean baked goods recipes lately, so your post was super helpful. I’m going to have to try this one out!

  9. Thanks for sharing! I love, love, love to cook and try new recipes as well…Going to see what my hubby and the kids think!

  10. Genevieve De La Cruz at 12:08 PM #

    Hi! I just wanted to let you know that I too saw this recipe in the RW’s magazine and I had to try it. I did!! I went to Whole Foods and also purchased all the ingredients there 🙂 Great minds think alike. I did use the electric mixer and my results came out the same as yours. The cake did not come out as fluffy as it looks like in the picture. I also did not have the mini muffin tins and therefore used the brownie pan..
    However, I enjoyed the results.. I did a double batch and am therefore still eating it hehe.
    I did add some organic raisins to the batter.
    Here is the breakdown for the calorie count:
    1 oz of long run cake has:
    66 calories, 1 gram of fat, 14 grams of Carbs, 0 grams of Sat Fat, 12 mg of cholesterol, 65 mg of sodium, 12 gm of net carbs, 2 grams of fiber and 8 grams of sugar.

    • katieRUNSthis at 12:22 PM #

      Hi Genevieve! Thank you so much for the feedback! I am so glad to know that you tried it too and that even with the electric mixer that it came out less fluffy than the photo. As good as it tasted, I am definitely not deterred from making it again.

      Thank you so much for the nutritional breakdown too! I appreciate it!

  11. Eric Brickson at 11:32 AM #

    I’ve made this several times, first for my gluten free college runner son to take back to school, and the rest for me. I actually use a muffin pan, and you need to let them cool completely before you take them out to “minimize the deflation” that comes with gluten free baking. I skip the frosting and go straight for the peanut butter. Any yes, it hits the spot before my long morning runs. Glad you posted this to make it easy to share with friends.

  12. Mary Jo at 4:07 PM #

    I can’t find oat flour. Do you think wheat flour would be okay?

    • katieRUNSthis at 1:10 PM #

      I am not sure. I haven’t baked too much with either wheat flour or oat flour. I have only used wheat flour to make whole wheat pizza crusts. Anyway, I found Bob’s Red Mill Oat Flour at Whole Foods. Do you have a Whole Foods? If not, could you special order through a local grocer?

      • Mary Jo at 5:09 PM #

        Unfortunately, we don’t have a Whole Foods nearby. I will check with my local store. Thanks!

  13. Saralee at 12:26 AM #

    This Cake is AWESOME!! My sister made it for me for Thanksgiving and I have shared it with many of my aunts, who aren’t restricted to gluten free foods. I still can’t believe how the ingredients are wholesome and the flavors come together. YOU and your family will love this!!! Great alternative to brownies, it can be made in cupcake or mini bundt pans too. Enjoy:)))

  14. Jo at 6:58 PM #

    My daughter has been eating these since she saw the article. We don’t have the mini loaves either so we make them in muffin tins. She keeps one or two out and we freeze the rest. She takes them out when she wants one. We heat them in the microwave and she puts plain peanut butter on them. What’s better than chocolate and peanut butter together. Give them a try.

  15. UncleBobbyJr at 9:03 AM #

    This recipe has definitely peaked my interested. Adding ingredients to my shopping list now so I can cook it this Sunday!

  16. Sandy at 1:39 PM #

    If you can’t find oat flour just whip up oats into a fine powder. I have to be gluten free, so I use gluten free oats. Found this recipe in a Runner’s World at my chiropractor’s office (I’m not a runner), and made it as soon as I got home. They are good!


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