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Mandarin, Pistachio & Chickpea Cake served on a white cake stand

Mandarin, Pistachio & Chickpea Cake

Yes, chickpeas in a cake! It may sound strange but this cake is seriously delicious. The chickpeas add a nutty taste and combined with the ground pistachios they add texture and body to this delightfully moist cake. Because there isn’t any added oil or butter it is a healthier option for an occasional treat. It will keep in an airtight container for up to 3 days. This is yet another mouth watering recipe from Chrissy Freer’s book Superlegumes: eat your way to great health.

  • Makes 12 slices
  • Preparation and cooking time: preparation time 20 minutes and cooking time 1 hour 50 minutes

Cook’s tip:  for gluten-free version, replace the flour with gluten-free plain (all-purpose) flour and use gluten-free baking powder. You can replace the tinned chickpeas with 225g (8 oz or 1  1/3 cups) cooked chickpeas. The liquid from the tinned chickpeas is called aquafaba and can be used to make eggless meringue. I’ve not had the chance to make the eggless meringue and if you do please let me know how you go.



  • 3 mandarins, unpeeled
  • 150g (5 ½ oz) pistachio kernels, plus 1 tablespoon extra, coarsely chopped to garnish
  • 400g (14 oz) tin chickpeas, (no added salt) drained and rinsed
  • 165g (5 ¾ oz / ¾ cup) caster (superfine) sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 75g (2 ¾ oz / ½ cup) plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • icing (confectioner’s) sugar, for dusting


  • Place the mandarins in a large saucepan, cover with cold water and bring to the boil, then drain. Cover with cold water again, return to the boil, the reduce the heat to low and simmer for 45 minutes, adding a little more water to the pan as necessary. Drain mandarins and set aside to cool.
  • Preheat the oven to 170°C (325°F). Lightly grease a 22cm (8 ½  inch) round cake tin and line it with baking paper.
  • Cut the mandarins into eighths and remove any seeds and discard. Process the pistachios in a food processor to fine crumbs. Remove; set aside. Add the chickpeas to the food processor and process to fine crumbs. Add the mandarins and process until smooth.
  • Use an electric mixer to whisk the sugar and eggs in a large bowl until thick. Add the mandarin mixture and fold until well combined, then add the ground pistachios, flour and baking powder and stir until well combined. Spoon the batter into the prepared tin and smooth the surface with the back of the spoon.
  • Bake for 50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out with a few moist crumbs. If the cake browns too quickly; cover the top loosely with foil. Set aside to cool for 20 minutes, then carefully remove from the tin and cool completely on a wire rack. Serve dusted with icing sugar and garnished with extra chopped pistachios.
Mandarin, Pistachio & Chickpea Cake served on a white cake stand
Mandarin, Pistachio & Chickpea Cake
  • Delish factor:  5 out of 5 stars
  • Suitable to freeze for up to 2 months in an airtight container or sealed plastic bag



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