Have you heard of coffee flour yet? Contrary to what the name suggests, it is not made from the beans that make us feel like humans in the morning. Coffee flour is an innovative new product made from coffee cherries – the plant that houses coffee beans – which are typically discarded during processing. Dan Belliveau, CEO of CoffeeFlour™ and former Starbucks engineer, advocates for the product as a way to improve the sustainability of our food supply chain, as well as to add more nutrients to our diets.
Each year, tons of coffee beans destined for our morning cups of joe are harvested in coffee origin countries. The surrounding pulp (known as the coffee cherry) is discarded and often dumped into rivers or left to rot in heaps, creating harmful botanical waste. Producing coffee flour from coffee cherries creates sustainable jobs and new revenue for farmers in some of the poorest areas of the world. What’s more is that the resulting coffee flour is highly nutritious: gram for gram, it contains more fiber than whole wheat flour, more iron than fresh spinach, more antioxidants than a pomegranate, and more potassium than a banana.
Coffee flour also does not taste like coffee. Rather, the product has an earthy, slightly acidic, fruity flavor. It can be used in baked goods, breakfast items, and as a supplement in smoothies. Coffee flour is already starting to gain traction within the better food movement, whose poster child Dan Barber of Blue Hill fame, is already cooking with it.
A few months ago, the folks at CoffeeFlour™ reached out to me and asked if I’d like to try incorporating it into my recipes. If it’s good enough for Dan Barber, it sure is good enough for me, so of course I said yes. After the crazy summer that I had, this past weekend I finally had the chance to try it in one of my favorite quick bread recipes: beet cake. If it sounds freaky to you, don’t be alarmed. Just think of it as carrot cake or zucchini bread, but with a different vegetable.
The original beet cake recipe I used (from The New Greenmarket Cookbook) is earthy, moist (ugh, sorry…), delicious and perfect for fall gatherings. To incorporate coffee flour, I simply swapped out a third of a cup of regular flour. The resulting cake took on a darker color and a more chocolaty flavor. This cake is best served with a dollop of sour cream or Greek yogurt, or with mashed avocado. Click here to buy coffee flour and try it for yourself.Print
No coffee flour? No problem. Use 1/3 cup all-purpose flour in its place. To avoid making a total mess of your kitchen counter, use a food processor to grate the beets instead of a box grater. (This recipe is adapted from The New Greenmarket Cookbook [Da Capo Lifelong Books, 2014].)
- 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup coffee flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 cup turbinado sugar, plus 2 tablespoons for topping the cake
- 1/2 cup melted unrefined coconut oil, plus 1 teaspoon for greasing the cake pan
- 1/2 cup Greek yogurt, plus more to serve, if desired
- 1 egg + 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon water
- 2 cups grated peeled raw beets (about 2 fist-sized beets)
- Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 10″ cake pan with 1 teaspoon coconut oil; set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together whole wheat, all-purpose and coffee flours, along with cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, nutmeg and salt.
- In a large bowl, stir together 1/2 cup sugar and coconut oil until well incorporated. Add the 1/2 cup of yogurt, eggs, vanilla and water, and stir to combine.
- Add flour mixture to the sugar mixture in three separate additions, stirring well after each time. Add the beets and mix until fully incorporated. The batter will be thick.
- Scrape batter into the prepared cake pan. Top with remaining 2 tablespoons sugar. Bake for 40-50 minutes, rotating the pan after 30 minutes, until the cake is firm and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with crumbs, not wet batter.
- Cool completely. Serve with Greek yogurt, if desired.