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Cannellini Vanilla Sponge Cake with Chocolate Avo Frosting

The Hemsley sisters' Cannellini Vanilla Sponge Cake with Chocolate Avo Frosting is rightly famous. Packed with nutritious ingredients, it's a perfect gluten-free celebration cake.

From the book

Melissa & Jasmine Hemsley


Just like our Paradise Bars from The Art of Eating Well, this cake is a unanimous favourite with our clients – so much so that we are repeatedly asked to share the recipe. So here it is! This simple recipe is great, just add fresh raspberries, and candles if you wish, and bam! This cake is just sweet enough; it’s also nut-free and as light as a wholefood sponge can possibly be. The chocolate frosting is wonderfully creamy thanks to the avocado. Swap the avocados for banana if avocados are out of season; or go half and half to save money. Just like the rest of our desserts, a little goes a long way, so slice on the small side and enjoy!
Extracted from Good + Simple by Jasmine and Melissa Hemsley (Ebury Press, £25)
Photography by Nick Hopper


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125g butter or coconut oil, melted, plus extra for greasing
3 x 400g tins of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
9 medium eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
220ml maple syrup
5 teaspoons apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
90g coconut flour
2½ teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
¼ teaspoon sea salt
150g punnet of fresh raspberries, to decorate
For the Chocolate Avo Frosting:
4 medium ripe avocados
5 tablespoons (about 75g) coconut oil, melted
8 tablespoons raw honey (to taste)
10 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons lemon juice
½ teaspoon orange extract (not essence)
A pinch of sea salt

Essential kit

You will need two 25cm-diameter cake tins and a food processor.


Preheat the oven to fan 180°C/gasmark 6, then line the bases of two 25cm-diameter cake tins with baking parchment and grease the sides with butter or coconut oil.

Blend all the ingredients for the frosting together in a food processor until smooth, adding a dash of cold water if needed. Taste, adjusting the flavourings to taste, then transfer to a bowl and set aside in the fridge.

For the cake, add the cannellini beans to the cleaned food processor bowl with the eggs, vanilla extract and maple syrup and blend until smooth. Add the remaining cake ingredients, except the raspberries, and blend to combine.

Divide the cake batter between the prepared cake tins, spreading out evenly and smoothing the surface. Bake in the oven for 35 minutes until well risen and lightly golden on top. (Check the cakes after 25 minutes and swap the tins between shelves, if necessary, as they will cook at different rates.)

Remove from the oven, transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool completely in the tins before turning out.

While the cakes are cooling, gently wash the raspberries and dry them carefully using kitchen paper or leave to air dry. (They must be thoroughly dry before adding to the cake.)

Spread half the frosting on one of the cooled sponges, top with the other sponge and spread over the rest of the frosting. Store in the fridge and bring to room temperature to serve. Decorate with the fresh raspberries just before serving.


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From the book: Good + Simple

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