You guys know how much I love chickpeas, but let’s face it, they don’t have an enormous amount of flavour on their own. That’s precisely why they’re so good at being dressed up in whatever outfit you fancy. Make them taste like pizza, nachos, peanut butter – or in this case, cake!
Okay, so this cheesy chickpea cake doesn’t actually taste like cake (I think cake might be one of the few things that even I wouldn’t add cheddar to) – but, it allows you to present your chickpeas in a totally new way so you never get bored of them… which I don’t think I would anyway, but not everyone is as freakish as me.
The chickpea cake begins with my standard combination of walnuts and chickpeas. I am honestly in love with this duo, they make such a wonderfully thick and satisfying mixture. Then it’s flavoured simply with some fresh thyme and some super mature cheddar cheese, and baked in a cake tin (which, honestly, is the only thing that makes this even remotely similar to a cake).
I used this cheese – the Snowdonia Cheese Company’s Little Black Bomber (so-called, I assume, because its strong flavour is like an explosion in your mouth). It’s extra mature (much like myself, har har), so it’s got a seriously cheesy flavour – the kind that makes your tongue tingly – and is beautifully crumbly. Using a really mature cheese means that you don’t need to use as much as if you were using a milder cheese – you get all the flavour, but with none of the greasiness or heaviness that comes with too much cheese.
Plus, I love peeling the wax off the little truckle of cheese (did you know that these little rounds of cheese are called truckles?! Possibly my favourite fact that I’ve learned this month).
Once the cheesy chickpea and walnut mixture is baked, it firms up into a sliceable cake, and a thick slice is perfect for lunch. I also had a slice crumbled up over a salad one day to make it into a substantial, protein-rich dinner. I can also see it going well with roast potatoes and gravy! (but then, what doesn’t?)
If you don’t have a cake tin (or just can’t bring yourself to call anything to do with chickpeas ‘cake’), you could also bake this mixture in a square tin, and cut it into sticks – which I’m almost thinking sounds even cuter than a cake-like slice?! Definitely one for a buffet table…
If you’re into seriously mature cheddar, make sure you get yourself a truckle (!) or two of Little Black Bomber and make this cheesy chickpea cake! You can find your nearest stockist at the Snowdonia Cheese Company website. Make sure you try some of their other cheeses too!
- 75 g walnuts
- 2 x 400g tins chickpeas 240g each when drained, drained
- 100 g mature cheddar cheese grated
- leaves A few sprigs of fresh thyme only
- Black pepper
- 1 egg
Preheat the oven to 190°C (Gas Mark 5 / 375°F).
Blitz the walnuts and chickpeas in a food processor until they form a coarse paste. Transfer to a large bowl, and add the grated cheddar and the thyme leaves. Season to taste, and then add the egg. Mix thoroughly to combine.
Transfer the mixture to a greased 9-inch springform cake tin, and press down with the back of a spoon. Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden brown and slightly crispy.
Leave to cool for a few minutes before undoing the clasp and gently removing the chickpea cake from the tin.