Healthy cake can sometimes be a bit of a contradiction in terms, but not this delicious dairy-free recipe by nutritionist Chrissy Freer from her new book The Anti-Inflammatory Cookbook (Murdoch Books). This Mandarin, Pistachio and Chickpea Cake ticks all the health boxes, but also offers a little touch of decadence at the same time. The book offers a two-week meal plan and 100 recipes that use ingredients with anti-inflammatory properties, helping you reduce chronic inflammation and boost immunity.


Chrissy Freer


Chickpeas in a cake may sound strange, but this cake is absolutely delicious. The chickpeas add a nutty taste, texture and body, and the cake does not contain any oil or butter.

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 1 hour 50 minutes

Serves 12


3 mandarins, unpeeled

150 g (1 cup) pistachio kernels, plus 1 tablespoon extra, coarsely chopped, to garnish

400 g (14 oz) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (see tips)

175 g (½ cup) single origin floral honey

4 eggs

75 g (½ cup) gluten-free or whole meal plain (all-purpose) flour

1 teaspoon gluten-free baking powder

Icing (confectioners’) sugar, for dusting (optional)


  1. 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, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 45 minutes, adding a little more water to the pan as necessary. Drain the mandarins and set aside to cool.
  2. Preheat the oven to 170°C (325°F). Lightly grease a 22 cm (8½ inch) round cake tin and line it with baking paper.
  3. Cut the mandarins into quarters, remove the 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.
  4. Use an electric mixer to whisk the honey and eggs in a large bowl until thick. Add the mandarin mixture and fold in until well combined, then add the ground pistachios, flour and baking powder and stir until well combined. Spoon the batter into the tin and smooth the surface with the back of the spoon.
  5. 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.

Tips: You can replace the canned chickpeas with 225 g (1 1/3cups) cooked chickpeas.

This cake will keep in an airtight container for up to 3 days.



Images and Text from The Anti-Inflammatory Cookbook by Chrissy Freer. Photography by Julie Renouf. Murdoch Books RRP $35.00






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