Gateau Chocolat

I ran my last Anna’s Kitchen cooking class a few days ago, I’ve taught over 100 participants since I started  and it has really been a joy. The last session was no exception, and was attended by a lovely group of people.

We made Gateau Chocolat, a recipe shared by a French visitor at the guesthouse last year. I have amended it slightly and cut the sugar content in half.  It is an incredibly dense and rich dessert cake to be enjoyed in small slices. My students thought it went well with matcha, powdered green tea. It is gluten free as well.




  • 200g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
  • 200g butter
  • 100g sugar
  • 100g corn flour
  • 4 eggs


  • Heat the oven to 160°C
  • Gently melt the butter and chocolate in a bowl over a pan of barely simmering water
  • Add the sugar and mix well
  • Beat the eggs in a small bowl
  • Add to the chocolate and mix
  • Sift the corn flour into the bowl and mix so that it is incorporated into the mixture
  • Pour the mixture into a lined cake tin and bake for 30-35 minutes
  • The cake should be lightly cooked on top but still a little loose (it will harden when cool)
  • Leave to cool completely before cutting, it is best left overnight



Sweet Potato and Black Bean Brownies

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Brownies


Anna’s Kitchen recently took part in Ayabe Tokusankan’s Yasai Matsuri (Vegetable Festival). Of course, a vegetable recipe was called for and I chose to use sweet potatoes, that are just coming into season, and locally grown and dried red beans. I decided on a dense, fudgy brownie, adapted from a Hemsley and Hemsley recipe that uses no flour and maple syrup instead sugar.

Any floury beans can be used, black beans, kidney beans or red ingenmame, available here in Japan, but avoid soy beans which are too waxy. The best way to prepare the sweet potato is to bake it whole in the oven. Then split the skin and scoop out the flesh.


  • 2 x 400g tins cooked black (or red beans), drained (or 480g cooked beans if soaking and cooking dried beans).
  • One medium sweet potato, cooked (baked or steamed)
  • 230g unsalted butter or coconut oil
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 90g unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 150 – 175ml maple syrup (to taste)
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract


  • 130g chopped walnuts
  • 100g chocolate chunks


  • Preheat the oven to 170°C
  • Rinse the black beans and drain
  • Melt the butter or coconut oil in a saucepan over a low heat
  • Place the drained beans, sweet potato flesh, eggs, cocoa powder, maple syrup, vanilla extract and salt into a food processor or large bowl and use a hand blender. Pulse a few times and then blend until smooth
  • Add the melted butter, slowly and blend
  • Taste the mixture, add more maple syrup if needed
  • Then, stir in most of the chopped walnuts, reserving a few, and the chocolate chunks, if using
  • Grease and line the inside of a 24 x 20cm baking dish, pour in the brownie mixture
  • Sprinkle over the remaining walnuts (if using) and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until the brownie feels firm and springy and its surface is cracked.
  • Allow to cool completely before cutting into squares, they become even more dense and fudgy if left in the fridge

Ingredients from Ayabe Tokusankan


Explaining the recipe





Interview with local radio station FM いかる


11911354_10153169637810765_1640790915_n11910897_10153169637080765_1655956023_nYasai Matsuri article

Yasai Matsuri article

Local paper Ayabe Shimbun