Wednesday, September 28, 2011

chocolate avocado cake

So this has been coming for quite a while.

I did something crazy. It involved avocados.

And cake.

Chocolate cake. With avocados?

So you want to know, why would I want to mess with a perfectly good thing, and taint it with my bizarre additions? Well...because I can.

Are you skeptical? Because you should be. I kind of was.

And also, there's a life lesson to be learned here--you don't get far without taking risks, right? I took a risk on chocolate cake. With green frosting. It was for my half-birthday, so I had to do something weird...because it's weird to celebrate your half-birthday...right? I've certainly never done it before!

The cake is really great, actually--it is dense and soft and moist, all things good cake should be. What it comes down to, with the avocado in the batter, is that it's simply the fat source, like instead of butter, for example. You all know I have absolutely nothing against butter, but using avocado in it's place seemed like an interesting twist. And it worked, oh yes it did. You honestly can't taste it in the cake at all--like if you fed this to unsuspecting avocado-haters, they would never know what you'd gotten past them. My one complaint is that it's not quite chocolatey enough, so I'm thinking more cocoa powder or some melted chocolate might be a good addition next time. Maybe some coffee, too?

As for the frosting, yes, the avocado buttercream. Yes, this happened.

 Same idea here, it was a pretty basic butter frosting recipe...minus the butter.

But plus avocado, hooray! ...hooray?

The result was a very green frosting, with an interesting flavor, to say the least. Lemony, but sweet, and with a distinct avocado flair. The haters wouldn't like this so much. Kind of looks like slime, don't you think?

Oh, so last thing that is kind of interesting--this cake is actually vegan. Yes, vegan--it may be the first thing I have baked that can be categorized as such. No butter or eggs? Nope. Just an interesting fact! Also, this does not mean I am becoming a vegan. Just to clarify!

Chocolate Avocado Cake (or just Chocolate Cake...with cleverly hidden ingredients)
adapted from Joy the Baker

3 cups all-purpose flour
6 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil (I used coconut oil)
1/2 cup soft avocado, well mashed, about 1 medium avocado
1 cup water
1 cup strong brewed coffee, at room temp.
2 Tablespoons white vinegar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease and flour two 8 or 9-inch rounds.  Set aside.

Sift together all of the dry ingredients in a big bowl, except the sugar. Mix all the wet ingredients together in a bowl, including the mashed avocado. Add sugar into the wet mix and stir. Combine the wet with the dry all at once, and beat with a whisk (by hand) until smooth. Pour batter into a greased cake pans. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or til a toothpick inserted in the middle 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.

Avocado Buttercream
from Alton Brown

8 ounces of avocado, about 2 small to medium very ripe avocados
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Peel and pit the soft avocados.  It’s important to use the ripest avocados you can get your hands on.  If the avocados have brown spots in the meat, avoid those spots when you scoop the meat into the bowl.
Place the avocado meat 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 extract until combined.  If not using right away, store in the refrigerator. It won't turn brown because of the lemon juice, so don't worry!

Soooo...maybe just straight-up chocolate frosting next time. Yeah probably.

Also, this is the best time of the year. No question. It smells like apples and cinnamon, drinking tea suddenly seems like the right thing to do, and the color orange is everywhere. I hope you're all enjoying it as much as I am!

"Autumn is a second spring where every leaf is a flower"
      -Albert Camus