Thursday, March 19, 2015
Chocolate Avocado Cake
You know by now I like trying vegan recipes with a twist, like those that put vegetables in dessert. To be fair here, avocados are fruit, not vegetables, but still, they’re not usually in sweet dishes! However, the chocolate avocado puddings I made recently were good enough to make me want to finally try this recipe, a chocolate avocado cake from Joy the Baker. I know some people, like Dear Brother-in-Law, would be completely turned off by this, but luckily, the Engineer was game. (As for the Little Prince, anything we call “cake” gets his attention!) And in this dessert, it’s not like you can hide the avocado and just not mention it. The frosting is bright green, people! (Come to think of it, this would be a good cake for Saint-Patrick’s Day!) The cake itself barely tastes like avocado, but with the frosting, you can’t deny the flavor. And yet, it totally works. Honestly, this was a great cake! I can’t go so far as to say that it was healthy, though, because even though the fats are healthy, it’s so full of sugar that it’s definitely an indulgence. I’d love to find a surefire way to reduce sugar in baked goods and still enjoy them!
As a side note, I had also bookmarked a gluten-free vegan chocolate avocado cake from One Green Planet, but I was afraid to try it because of the mint it calls for. You see, I abhor the combination of mint and chocolate (and I know someone else who feels the same way, so I’m not the only weirdo who gags when thinking of After Eights). However, I recently realized that perhaps what I can’t stand is really artificial mint flavor or concentrated mint extract, combined with chocolate (I also dislike candy canes, for example, but I really like fresh mint or wintergreen candy). So in the interest of science, I got a fresh mint leaf from the garden, chopped it very finely, and sprinkled it on a few bites of this cake. And you know what? It was actually pretty good. So if you want to add some finely chopped fresh mint to the icing, I won’t hold it against you, but I’d obviously warn you away from mint extract. I might even try a riff on this icing next, because it calls for agave as a sweetener instead of powdered sugar (in a 4:1 ratio of avocado to agave), and I’d love to see how that turns out!
For the chocolate avocado cake
3 cups all-purpose flour
6 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
2 cups granulated sugar
¼ cup vegetable oil (I used safflower oil)
½ cup soft avocado, well mashed (about 1 medium avocado)
2 cups water
2 Tbsp. white vinegar
2 tsp. vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 °F. Grease and flour two 8- or 9-inch round cake pans.
In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, mix together the sugar, vegetable oil, avocado, water, white vinegar and vanilla.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and beat with a whisk until smooth.
Pour batter into a greased cake tins. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Let cakes cool in pan for 15 minutes, then turn out onto cooling racks to cool completely before frosting with avocado buttercream.
For the avocado buttercream frosting
8 oz. of avocado flesh (about 2 small- to medium-sized very ripe avocados)
2 tsp. lemon juice
1 lb. powdered sugar, sifted
½ tsp. vanilla
Peel and pit the avocados. (It’s important to use the ripest avocados you can get your hands on. If the avocados have brown spots in the flesh, avoid those spots when you scoop out the flesh.) Place the avocado flesh into the bowl of a stand mixer fit with the whisk attachment. Add lemon juice and whisk the avocado on medium speed until slightly lightened in color and smooth, about 2-3 minutes.
Add the powdered sugar a little at a time and beat. Add vanilla and beat until combined. If not using right away, store in the refrigerator. Surprisingly, the frosting will stay green for days – I’m assuming the sugar has something to do with this, because I can’t imagine there’s enough lemon juice to keep the whole thing green…