Friday recipe: high-protein torte

I love recipes with secret ingredients – components that no one would suspect. I once surprised my workmates with a batch of pork and bean bars that indeed contained an entire can of Van Camp’s but tasted like lusciously moist pumpkin bars (don’t look for the recipe here; those bars definitely don’t fit in the “healthy cooking” category).

Another favorite mystery-ingredient concoction is USA Weekend columnist Jean Carper’s high-protein torte, perfect for adding legumes to your diet, pleasing people who eat gluten-free, and for tricking kids and other finicky eaters to consume garbanzos in happy oblivion. You can moderate the calories by using Splenda instead of sugar and non-fat cream cheese for the icing, or substitute the icing with light whipped cream.

High-protein torte

  • 19-oz. can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 4 eggs
  • 15-oz. can pumpkin
  • 1 cup Splenda or sugar
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (or a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and/or cloves, to taste)
  • 6 ounces whipped cream cheese
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 11-oz. can Mandarin oranges, drained
  • 1/4 cup walnut halves (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a blender or food processor, combine the garbanzos and eggs until smooth. Add pumpkin, Splenda or sugar, maple syrup, baking powder and spice; process again until smooth.

Spray a round cake pan. Fill with batter. Bake until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, about 60 minutes. Allow cake to cool completely before removing it from the pan.

Combine cream cheese and powdered sugar. Spread over top and sides of cake. Decorate with Mandarin oranges and walnuts.

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