Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Chocolate and Avocado Cake

I admit,  I was sceptical.  I am completely well aware that you can use fruit and vegetables in cake batter.  Carrot cake is a thing after all, and I've read banana is a great substitute for...well, most things actually.  But this is my first time seeing avocado.  Especially as from what I understand it's not usually considered a 'dessert' fruit.  I've seen it used in savoury dinners and salads and as a dip.  It's not exactly sweet (I figured I'd try some whilst working with it. Decided I didn't like it) so would it really hold up in a cake?  Particularly in the buttercream since that's where it's flavour is going to be detected.  Well, I like trying new things so I figured why not?

So how did this come about?  Well, today is the fiancé's Mum's birthday and so obviously that's an excuse to make a cake.  Question was, what kind of cake?  When I asked the fiancé, his response was that she liked the angel food cake I made her last year.  I hate repeating myself though, even if that's partly because I want something I can post about on this blog.  So I was still lacking inspiration by the time Friday last week rolled around and I needed to know so I could make sure I had all the ingredients before I ordered my groceries.  Now Friday I was doing the fiancé's Mum a favour and sitting in her house waiting for people to come and pick up a giant parcel.  I ended up waiting on them for a total of 6 hours, which is really quite boring.  To amuse myself I borrowed her laptop and did what I usually do when I can't think of anything better to do (or don't feel like doing any of the things I actually brought with me), which was browse around on Pinterest.  Recently I've been trying to expand what I make for my dinner so I've been hanging around the food section a lot.  It was there I stumbled across a pin about a chocolate and beets cake.  The cake itself wasn't what got me though, it was the accompanying comment, which mentioned chocolate and avocado cake and it being really good.  Now, I know the fiancé's Mum likes avocados so thought this could be a bizarre yet interesting thing to try and make.  It helped that there seemed to be a lot of positive feedback for the cake from followers of the blog. 

And that's how I ended up with this cake recipe.  As for the buttons for decoration, I knew I was going to be doing that regardless since she loves buttons and I have a button mould, albeit it a tiny one that only makes three buttons at a time.  There are 42 buttons in total.  They also were originally standing up in the middle but then they wouldn't fit in my carry container so I had to smoosh them down a bit.  Ah well.

I've never worked with avocados before.  They are such a weird fruit!  I was having a good giggle as I peeled them and scooped out the inside.  I have no idea if mine were ripe enough but they were a bit of a pain to mash up.  I probably could have done with putting them in a proper blend rather than using a stick one, but alas my one broke.

I was really nervous about this cake since it was a bit of a wild card.  I was dreading it being awful, despite all the good reviews on Joy's blog.  I shouldn't have worried though.  It went down really well.  The fiancé's Mum thought the buttercream tasted like a strange, cherry marzipan.  Her Mum, who was there too, did not agree.  They both ate their slices though and the chocolate cake got lots of compliments.  Very moist and you wouldn't know it was made with avocado.  Personally I think the aesthetic left a little to be desired.  The buttercream did spill over edges slightly and in an uneven manner so it looked a bit messy.  The buttons were also a bit dulled because I did that awful thing of putting them in the fridge to set but that's because I had so many to do and no patience at all.  Even with putting them in the fridge it took me three hours to do them all.  I will say though, I love the wonderful, bright green colour of the buttercream.  I think it looks amazing against the chocolate cake.

Recipe - adapted from Joy the Baker
Makes 2 x 20cm/8inch round cake layers

  • 400g/14oz plain flour (I used gluten free)
  • 60g/2oz cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 400g/14oz granulated sugar
  • 60ml/2fl.oz vegetable oil (I used sunflower)
  • 70g/2.5oz soft avocado meat (about 1 medium avocado)
  • 500ml/17.5fl.oz water
  • 2 tbsp white vinegar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4 and grease two 20cm/8inch round cake tins.
  2. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda into a large bowl.  Stir together.
  3. Scoop the avocado meat into a medium bowl and mash thoroughly.  You may want to blitz it in a blender (I used a stick blender to give me a hand).
  4. Once thoroughly mashed, mix in the oil, water, vinegar and vanilla extract.
  5. Add the sugar to the wet ingredients and mix well.
  6. Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl of dry and whisk by hand until smooth.
  7. Distribute the batter evenly between the two cake tins.
  8. Bake for 30-40 minutes until cakes are risen, slightly springy to the touch and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  9. Allow the cakes to cool in their tins before transferring to a wire rack.  Let them cool completely before frosting.
  • 200g/7oz avocado meat (2-3 avocados worth, ideally very ripe ones)
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 450g/1lb icing sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Put the avocado meat in a bowl (leave out any bits that have brown spots).  Mash thoroughly. (Again, I blitzed mine with a hand blender.  It probably wasn't as ripe as it could have been.)
  2. Beat the lemon juice into the avocado meat until it lightens in colour and is smooth (though I had a few bits of avocado floating round in mine but don't think it really mattered in the long run).  You might want to use an electric whisk.
  3. Add the icing sugar a little at a time, beating in after each addition.
  4. Add vanilla extract and beat in.
  • 100g/3.5oz dark vegan chocolate (optional for decoration)
  1. Place one cake round on a plate.
  2. Cover the top of it with half the avocado buttercream, smoothing it out with a spatula.
  3. Place the other round on top and press down gently.
  4. Cover the top of this one with the remaining buttercream and smooth out.
  5. If making chocolate decorations, melt the chocolate in a glass bowl placed over a pan of gently simmering water. 
  6. Pour chocolate into moulds (may have to be done in batches) and allow to set.
  7. Decorate.

1 comment:

  1. Claire McGinlay11 May 2013 at 23:04

    I cannot describe how impressive this cake looked with the dark chocolate 'buttons' against the green avocado. I took the cake into work and the general concensus was tht the bake was delicious and everyone loved the avocado in the cake but some thought they would prefer an alternative topping. thank you Becca