Nina Manolson

Healthy Vanilla Bean Cake – Dairy-free, Gluten-free, Sugar-free, Grain-Free

I’ve made this delicious, easy and healthy cake 7 times in the past 25 days! Besides YUM, all I have to say  is thank you  Kelly Brozyna of The Spunky Coconut for the recipe!

I always feel like a Smokin’ Hot Mom when I put a cake on the table that  I know is healthy and that everyone loves!

This cake has a lovely moist texture, is so easy to make, and is totally versatile. You can see from my pics that you can dress it up or down.

I’ve had such fun serving this cake to guests. After they Ooh and Aah and ask for seconds, I pop the question: “There’s an unusual, secret ingredient in this cake, what do you think it is?” Besides my fabulous food-y cousin Sharon, no-one has guessed.

The secret ingredient is….white beans! There are 2 cups of white beans in this cake, and you would never know it. They give the cake a wonderful texture, as well as adding a ton of fiber and protein.

The reactions to the secret ingredient are priceless.

  • “That’s crazy, it’s so good, that’s really crazy!” – my 21 year old niece.
  • “Whoa, that’s freaky” – an 11 year old boy at my son’s birthday party
  • Speechless and huge wide eyes – a 12 year old girl at my sons birthday (who enjoyed seconds). I later found out she had never tasted beans before.
  • “Seriously?” – a grownup
  • “Can you make another one?” – my husband
Before I get to the recipe, let me give you a visual tour of our 25 days of cakes!
We started with my son’s 12th birthday. It was a big hit so….
I made it again for the birthday party he had with his friends. This was supposed to look like a pottery bowl filled with fruit (to go with the theme of the party – they were working with clay at the party). It ended up looking like a yummy cake with fruit. Oh well, I’m a health coach not a pastry chef.
I made it again for my father-in-law’s 82nd birthday.
Then I followed Kelly’s coffee cake variation in her fun recipe book. So tasty, and a good excuse to have cake on a non-birthday.
Then I dumped frozen blueberries (which I picked last summer) and raspberries on top of the batter. But, my husband missed the nutty coffee cake topping so…
I made it with both the coffee cake crumble and the fruit.
Wow! That’s a lot of cake! I think we may be done for a while. I’ll keep you posted.
Here’s Kelly’s recipe with my comments added in italics.

Vanilla Bean Cake:

Add to food processor:
  • 2 cups cooked white beans, room temperature, so they don’t cook the eggs or congeal the coconut oil (either canned or soaked and cooked at home)
  • 6 eggs
  • 3/4 tsp Vanilla liquid Stevia I’ve never liked using Stevia because it left an icky aftertaste in my mouth. But after reading Kelly’s blog for a year, I was persuaded to try it and it’s delicious and undetectable in this recipe. Stevia is a low-glycemic natural sweetener made from the Stevia plant.)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup honey
Puree well.
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, liquified
  • 1/3 cup coconut flour, sifted
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder 
Puree well.
  • Pour into springform pan (I used a regular pan and it worked out fine) lined with unbleached parchment paper on the bottom, and greased all around.
  • Bake at 325 degrees for about 30 minutes. Check to see if it’s done by inserting a knife into the middle. If it’s comes out mostly clean, it’s done. (It’s always taken more like 40 – 50 minutes in my oven)
Here’s a word about frosting. I’ve experimented with several different frostings for these cakes. They were lovely, but not quite dependable enough to blog about yet. However, Kelly just blogged her new frosting. I haven’t tried it yet, but have no doubt it will be luscious.
update: I made some more and made it into lemon poppyseed cake! Check it out here.


Nina Manolson, MA, CHC, is the Smokin’ Hot & Soulful Mom Mentor and Family Wellness Expert. She’s the founder of and She is a certified Health Coach and Psychology of Eating Coach.

She helps busy moms look and feel their best, and helps them feed their kids well in a world that doesn’t.

She’s the author of “Feed Your Kids Well In A World That Doesn’t: an everyday guide to make healthy food happen in your home and beyond”. She’s also the recipient of the prestigious Health Leadership Award from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition.

To get your F.R.E.E. Audio CD by mail and receive her healthy recipes and wellness tips click here.

10 Responses

  1. I loved this cake & love all its versatility (and I also love that I was the only one who guessed the secret ingredient!)

    May have to make it when I get home – something sweet & bakery-ish after “Paris sans patiseries”.

    Thanks for the celebratory cake reminder!

    love and vanilla-scented wonders,

  2. ninamanolson says:

    Mmmm, I can’t wait ’til you make it. You always add your own yummy twist.

  3. ANA MURIEL says:

    Nina, can you help me find a way to replace eggs as we are vegans at home? but definetely would love to try it vegan-version!

    • wellfedpoet says:

      Hi Ana,

      I haven’t tried this recipe vegan yet (and Nina may have other great suggestions), but when I do vegan baking, I usually use “flax eggs”, a spoonful of ground flax seed mixed with an egg-sized amount of water (let stand til sticky, then mix into recipe as you would a beaten egg). Sometimes it helps to add a pinch of extra leavening. It doesn’t usually change the taste much, though I might try it first with the coffee cake version where a touch of more density and nutty flavor undertones would be appreciated more than with a super-fluffy vanilla birthday party version.

      Looking forward to hearing how it works for you!


  4. [...] you’ve been following my blog you already know that I’ve gone cake crazy! A couple of posts ago, I reported that I had made 7 cakes in 25 days. That’s 1 cake every 3 1/2 days! (Here’s [...]

  5. leorat says:

    Made this cake today. I substituted agave and coconut sugar for the honey. Added a bit of almond extract. Drizzled the top with walnuts and choc sauce made with agave. Yum! My teenage son even liked it and he knew it was made with beans!

  6. [...] these food passions are phases (like last summer when I made Vanilla Bean Cake 14 times!), sometimes they are just foods I’ll always love (like blueberries), and other [...]

  7. Teresa Barker says:

    This cake says it is dairy free… why are there 6 eggs in it? My soon to be daughter-in-law is allergic to eggs… which is a dairy product???

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