Vanilla “Bean” Protein Cake + Macro Tips! {Macro Friendly Mondays #5}

So I’ll go ahead and get the first elephant in the room cleared up… I realize that this is a Fourth of July themed cake and it is no longer Fourth of July. There’s a good reason for that…This gem of a recipe popped up in my Facebook memories the week of 4th of July.

As you can see from the date on this photo, it’s not a new creation. I can’t believe I’ve never shared it! I have made regular versions, but only took photos of the Fourth of July version. The version in this photo happened to be a day where I felt particularly creative and followed Anna Sward’s (aka @proteinpow) instructions on how to make an American flag cake. Only difference in the recipe is adding food coloring and layering the cake to design the flag.

Based on that date, it was probably about two years into my experimenting with protein baking. My journey with making healthier foods and #MacroFriendlyRecipes has been going strong for about 8 years now. This was one of the best concoctions to date and I can’t believe I forgot about it!

Ok, so onto the second elephant. You might be wondering… why in the world use beans in cake? Well, here’s how I came up with it…

Back when black bean brownies were a brand new thing, I decided to experiment with a few recipes that I found online and had success with a few and some flops with others. There was one particular recipe with black beans and Greek yogurt that turned out more like cake than brownies. It was still delicious and I was totally fine with healthy, high protein chocolate cake! Then I started wondering if I could create a white bean / vanilla cake version. I swapped black beans with white beans, yogurt for cottage cheese, and used one of my favorite protein powders (Naturade vanilla pea protein that already tastes a lot like cake batter on its own) for the chocolate one I’d used in the other recipe.


Don’t turn your nose up at beans and cake. They are actually a fantastic substitution for people who need to follow a gluten-free diet. Besides, sneaking veggies into your desserts is an automatic health boost! They also make the cake super moist along with the specific protein powder that I used. I’m sure this recipe will work with any protein powder, but don’t sub if at all possible… this protein is 💣 and gives it THE BEST vanilla cake flavor, and because it is a vegetable-based protein it makes the cake super moist.

Pea Protein

Which leads me to a few macro tips…

First: Not all protein powders are equal when it comes to baking. Whey protein can make things super dry if you don’t add other things to balance that out. On the flip side, plant-based proteins, casein, and beef proteins can make things super moist, But if you add too many liquid ingredients you can end up with something that doesn’t set quite enough.

Second: When you track your “calorie free” sweetener’s be sure to put them in with corrected calories and carbs. If you have one or two packets in a beverage, it won’t add up, but if you use a cup or two for baking it will. Companies are allowed to get away with calling them close calorie free if they are less than 4 cal per serving size. So they choose their serving size based on this, even though it’s obvious that people will use more than one serving.

For this recipe I use Splenda for baking and Truvia. I still included the measurements for reference, even though the calorie and carb content is not accurate. I typically and factor in the carbs and calories with a separate custom entry, but I deleted them from the ingredient list because I know everybody has their own preference on sweetener. Just be sure to account for that if you’re tracking strictly! Also if you’re a diabetic, there are carbs in “calorie free” sweeteners! Not all affect blood sugar the same way as regular sugar, but you may want to see if they have an impact on you personally by testing your glucose after eating. For the most part they do not spike blood sugar when you use the amount on the label.

I hope those were some helpful tips!

If you’re looking for more help with macros, you can get my macro coaching info here. If you need help with streamlining your nutrition, get info on my Meal Mastery Mentorship here! For a personalized Meal Mastery Nutrition Audit with a 100% money-back satisfaction guarantee, go here!

So if you’re convinced to roll with the beans in cake, the good news is you only need a few other ingredients to make this delicious cake! I can’t remember exactly what the frosting was, but luckily I saved the recipe for the cake in the Lose It! App (which is how I track all my macros and recipes). I think I just used fat free Greek yogurt with splenda mixed in to taste.

What’s even better about this recipe is that you just pretty much throw all the ingredients in a blender and purée until batter consistency, then bake as muffins or cake at 350 Fahrenheit until a toothpick comes out clean. Let me know if you try it!


  • 1 (15 oz) can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 + 1/4 cups (10 oz / 280g) fat free cottage cheese (you could substitute Greek yogurt, but applesauce would be too much moisture for this recipe)
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 1 + 1/2 cups of granulated sweeter substitute of choice that measures cup for cup like sugar
  • 7 scoops (126g total) Vanilla Pea Protein powder
  • 368g liquid egg white substitute (8 egg whites)
  • 1 TBSP baking powder
  • 1 + 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 6 TBSP (3 oz / 84g) sugar free maple syrup (I like this one by Lakanto)


  • I highly recommend using a kitchen scale for this recipe to do the measurements listed in oz / grams due to the finicky nature of baking with protein. Preheat oven to 350.
  • Rinse your beans well. I find this works best by running them under water while in a colander. Then shake them to dry.
  • Add all ingredients to a blender or food processor and purée until smooth. You may have to open the lid and scrape down the sides a few times.
  • Bake in as muffins in a muffin pan (parchment or silicone liners), or in a round cake pan sprayed with cooking spray. I don’t remember the exact time to bake it, but just bake until a toothpick comes out clean. I’m guessing somewhere around 10-12 minutes for the muffins and 15-18 minutes for the cake. When I make this again soon I’ll report back and update!
  • Let cool, then frost with desired frosting. Anything like Greek yogurt mixed with Splenda or sweetener of choice, light cool whip, sugar free Jell-o pudding mixed in Greek yogurt, protein powder mixed with milk of choice, etc. would be good! Even chocolate flavored frosting or reconsittuted PB2 would be yummy!

Note: The cake in the photo was made using smaller round cake pans so that I could create multiple layers. You should be able to get one layer in a standard cake pan, so duplicate recipe if you want multiple layers.

Note: The macros are for 1 serving of 12 and do not include the carbs or calories from the sweetener. I know each person will use their own based on preference. Frosting is also not included.

Again, if you’re looking for more help with macros, you can get my macro coaching info here. If you need help with streamlining your nutrition, get info on my Meal Mastery Mentorship here! For a personalized Meal Mastery Nutrition Audit with a 100% money-back satisfaction guarantee, go here!



Reader Questions:
1/ Did you making anything 4th of July / red, white, and blue themed for the holiday?
2/ Are you brave enough to try beans in your baked goods yet?

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