Garbanzo Bean Chocolate Cake That’s Gluten, Egg, Dairy, Refined-Sugar and Tree-Nut Free

garbanzo bean chocolate cake that's gluten, egg, dairy and tree-nut free

When Little Girl was diagnosed with gluten sensitivity two years ago, I was utterly overwhelmed at the thought of even making dinner–much less cake for her birthday.

To be honest, I now look at gluten-free cooking at not being too hard. There are so many easy and delicious recipes that are naturally gluten free.

What makes her situation unique is that she is also intolerant to eggs and dairy. Toddler Girl is sensitive to gluten, dairy and tree nuts (and high oxalate foods–but that’s an entirely different post!). Baby Girl cannot eat gluten or dairy–so that makes me gluten and dairy free as well. And hubby? He’s allergic to tree nuts. They make this throat close up.

To say I have a challenge in the kitchen is an understatement. There are many, many days I just want to throw my hands up in the air and quit (or at least call in an order to Chipotle…which is actually one restaurant where we all can eat!).

So when I discovered the following garbanzo bean chocolate* cake that’s gluten, egg, dairy and tree-nut free, I was elated–to say the least. This is actually the original recipe. But I modified it–a lot. I first posted my modifications in this recipe over at Grain Mill Wagon–for the cupcake version.

I’m happy to report that the recipe turned out just as well as a cake–and Little Girl was super excited to have a double-layered, chocolate cake for her birthday that both looked and tasted like “the real thing.”

*Chocolate is a high-oxalate food. I want to try subbing the cocoa powder with carob to see how Toddler Girl can tolerate it.

garbanzo bean chocolate cake

Garbanzo Bean Chocolate Cake

{Gluten, Egg, Dairy and Tree-Nut Free}


  • 2 3/4 cups freshly-ground garbanzo bean flour, sifted twice (freshly-ground makes ALL the difference!)
  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar (sucanat, organic evaporated cane juice or white sugar)
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 “flax eggs” (2 Tbsp. flax meal + 6 Tbsp. warm water that has set or “gelled” together for a few minutes before adding to the recipe. If not egg-free, simply add two eggs here. It will make for a moister cake if you do.)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/2 cup olive or melted coconut oil
  • 1 cup rice milk (You can also use almond or coconut milk if you do not have an allergy to those.)
  • 1 cup boiling water


1. Whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

2. Add in flax “eggs,” vanilla, oil, and milk.

3. Mix in water.

4. Fill two greased 8 in. round cake pans.

5. Bake at 350 F for about 25-27 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

6. Let cool about 5 minutes before moving to a wire rack to finish cooling. Let cool completely before icing.

Be very gentle with this cake when moving to ice. It is more fragile than a cake made with wheat flour. I iced it with my easy dairy-free cake icing. It was a hit at Little Girl’s 5th birthday party! (We had none left!)

Have you ever baked with garbanzo bean flour? Does anyone in your family have food allergies? How have you learned to accommodate those with food allergies in your family?

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  1. says

    I totally understand that overwhelming feeling when you have to start cooking/baking allergen free. My son is allergic to dairy, oat, egg, peanut, carrot, pumpkin, raw tomato, celery, strawberry, and we avoid tree nuts (because of cross contamination). His first birthday cake was an experiment for sure! I usually like to bake from scratch, but at times have used Cherrybrook Kitchen cake mixes (they make a gluten-free version) and they are wonderful-expensive, but really tasty! Have you checked out the Babycakes baking book? They use garbanzo bean flour, too, and might be some good recipes for you to try. Not sure if it completely fits your needs, but I’m planning on trying some of their recipes even though we don’t need to avoid gluten.
    Rachel Hayden recently posted..What’s for Lunch? Allergen Free Lunches For Home Or On The GoMy Profile

    • says

      Wow–that is a lot of allergies! I’m meeting so many moms with kiddos in our same boat!

      I have never used that mix or heard of that book. Thanks so much for the suggestions! I’ll have to look into them!

  2. Naomi Snider says

    What mill do you use to grind your chickpeas? I’ve done it in my WonderMill, and it worked great until some beans started jamming in there. You’re supposed to be able to grind them but I think some of them must be too large to fit. I’m hoping to find a hand-crank mill or something to crack them up into smaller pieces. But I’ve only ever used chickpea flour for making pakora, those Indian vegetable fritters. I’ve always wondered how it would be to use it in baking.

    • says

      I use my WonderMill. It is honestly a little tricky (but so worth it compared to storebought garbanzo bean flour!). I can only put 2-4 down at a time and really have to work with it and jiggle it around. At one point I thought I had broken my mill! But it ended up that it was really a clump of GF rolled oats stuck in it! Sometimes I have to turn the knob while I’m milling the beans, and if one is stuck it will get unstuck that way. Does that make sense? I called customer service, and they were super helpful!! They just recommended feeding a few down the mill at a time (so, yes, it takes longer!) or using split garbanzo beans instead of whole ones, but I haven’t been able to find those.

      I think trying to crack some of them into small pieces in a hand cranked mill would be a good idea!

  3. says

    I’m gluten free, but my 14mo is allergic to dairy, eggs, butternut squash, peas, lentils, and a few other things we haven’t pinned down :( Since I’m still nursing (thank the Lord for *something* he’s not allergic too! :) ) that makes my diet slimmed down with his. I haven’t done the Garbanzo bean cake (though I’m getting ready to try cookies with them) but I’m a HUGE fan of the Black Bean chocolate cake. Seriously the BEST chocolate cake I’ve ever had gluten/gluten free. We use chia seeds for “eggs” and thankfully have the option of rice, coconut or almond milk since we have no allergies there. We mainly stick to the veggies and beans he’s not allergic to, rice, and meat. Simple works for us! There *are* many days I want to throw in the towel. And yes, we are VERY grateful for Chiptole and if we had one any closer to us we would probably eat there weekly :)
    Naomi recently posted..The Very Hungry Caterpillar PartyMy Profile

    • says

      Oh wow! How did you find out he was allergic to all of those? One of my friends has a 11 month old with FPIES, and she hasn’t found ANY foods he can tolerate yet, which means he is 100% on breast milk still, and her diet is VERY limited. :/ She doesn’t know if she will even have a 1st bday cake for him. It’s been very challenging for her. Baby Girl has been very slow to gain weight, and I wonder if she still doesn’t have some other intolerances we don’t know about yet. :/ It’s tough!

      I would LOVE your black bean cake recipe!! Can you share a link?

      • Nikki K says

        Hello! I’m blessed that I don’t have any (known) food allergies, though my digestion has really changed over the past 5+ years. In any case, I’m wanting to bake something for Thanksgiving for my cousin who eats GF, SF, DF. SO….1) are other GF flours ok to sub? and 2) yes, I”d also love the black bean choc cake recipe!

  4. says

    That’s really cute! Are those normal skittles? Are they safe for your little ones to eat? We’re gluten/dairy/soy/pecans/walnuts/beef free… its a challenge for sure!!

    • says

      I think I tried it once before with a storebought version (different recipe), and it wasn’t great. I’ve been pleasantly surprised with the freshly-ground!

  5. MELISSA says

    i have these cakes in the oven as we speak! today is my DH’s bday, so time for a little something we can all eat. i substituted can garbanzo beans for the g.bean flour, so we’ll see if that makes a difference. i have another GFDF g.bean chocolate fudge cake which calls for the canned g.beans and it has always turned-out delicious, so hoping this one does, too! thanks for sharing!!!
    M from Texas

  6. says

    This is awesome and I am here because of Whole New Mom :)

    My question is can you make your own garbanzo bean flour and if so can you use the canned organic beans? I only have those in the house right now. I would love to hear if I could!

    Thanks!! :)

    Not really allergic here just trying to avoid processed low quality foods. We have given up on cake and I want to bake me some :)
    Beth recently posted..You Have Others That Need Your InspirationMy Profile

    • says

      Hi Beth! Thanks for visiting! Yes, I make my own garbanzo flour. But you have to use the dry beans and use a grain mill or a high-powered blender. I know there are a lot of other recipes on the web that do use canned/cooked beans, though. A lot of them are egg based. Blessings on your health journey!! :)

  7. Brandy says

    Wow! I can’t wait to try this! My kids have 35 food intolerances each… including wheat, rice, potato, eggs, plus all sorts of fruits, veggies, spices. It’s impossible to bake gluten free using most recipes, which call for potato starch or rice flour, and I sometimes have to ignore some of them, like vanilla and chocolate! But I like to bake as much as possible recipes that are ok for them! This recipe is 100% ok for my son, and my daughter can splurge on the vanilla and chocolate.
    Thank you! Following your blog for sure now!

  8. darren says

    I want to thank you for this recipe.I just wanted to share an idea because of the comments about the difficulty of the bean milling.I was thinking if you could put them in a blender first and then the mill it may help speed up the time frame.God bless you all.

  9. Lindsey says

    Tears of joy, I tell you, tears of joy when we tried these. My girls (5 & 8) have allergies to all grains, eggs, and dairy, and I’ve been on a quest for a cupcake.. and my 5 year old’s birthday is approaching. I have tried 4 versions, with the closest ‘yes’ being a very fudgey black bean brownie (good yes, but not a cupcake). These rose! They were fluffy! They weren’t ‘weird’! And I am certain I can make this for a room full of 5 year olds, and the will have no idea they are eating a hypoallergenic cupcake. From the bottom of my heart, thank you, thank you, thank you.
    BTW – I sweetened w/ a combination of coconut sugar and xylitol (I ran out of coconut sugar) and it was great. I also used bob’s garbonzo flour with success because I don’t have an appliance to grind my own.

  10. M. says

    HI! I just found this recipe. I have a garbanzo bean grinding question. I’ve used dry beans my whole life. Before I cook them, I rinse the beans. I am always surprised by the amount of dust that comes off the beans. Since I’ll be grinding the beans, and they need to be dry, and not cooking the beans, how do I ensure that my beans are clean? Thank you and God bless.

  11. Amy says

    Just curious, what process do you all use to determine the allergies your kids have? Main stream doctors, holistic, naturopathic? What sort of test are performed?

    • says

      My girls had the IgG/IgE blood tests, but their doctor (a MD pediatrician who also studied Eastern medicine/naturopathy and is integrative) told me an elimination diet will tell you the most. The blood tests are only 50% accurate!

  12. Dulcie Coy says

    Thank you for this recipe! My 4 yr old son is allergic to dairy, eggs, oats, wheat, peas, tree nuts, garlic, beef, pork and soy so I definitely understand the frustration when it comes to cooking! I have usually paid ALOT to have his birthday cake especially made (and they were not that great) so I’m very excited to try your cake and frosting!! If you have more great recipes that are free of his allergies I would really appreciate it or if I can buy a recipe book!!


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