I was wandering around the web the other day and from one blog I clicked on a link to another blog and clicked on a link to yet another blog, and found myself on Joy the Baker's blog. While there, reading one delicious sounding recipe after another, I came across this recipe. The pictures Joy took made it look divine. As I read through the recipe I noticed that the buttercream recipe was from my celebrity chef and the only man I would leave my hubby for, (besides Johnny Depp. Oh and George Clooney. Oh and...sorry, where was I? Oh yeah...) Mr. Alton Brown. When I saw that I decided to give the recipe a go. The other reason is that my daughter's best friend is coming for a visit this weekend and she is a Vegan. (Do you capitalize Vegan?) So, I figured she will end up with most of the cake and be pleasantly surprised that I made it for her. And, I felt adventurous that day.
Now, I have never made any recipe with avocado. All I know about it is it's green and used in guacamole. I didn't even know how to tell when an avocado was ripe. So, I googled "how to tell an avocado is ripe" and read a couple of how to's (when you press it, if its' ripe, it should feel like when you press your nose) and off to the store I went. I bought three avocados and came home to give this cake and buttercream a try.
Really a simple recipe to put together. Flour, cocoa powder, sugar, oil, a few other ingredients. No eggs, no butter. Of course, that's what makes it vegan. Comes together using just two bowls. Bakes about 40 minutes. My cakes sunk a little in the middle, but otherwise they baked up nice and tall and smelled wonderful.
The buttercream is made with avocado, lemon juice, powdered sugar and vanilla. It's not like most buttercreams I have made in the past. This was thick but not stiff. And, of course, it's green! Too fun!!
So, I tried the cake a little while ago. Can't very well have people trying something I baked without knowing what it tastes like myself. It's really good. I think I was a little surprised by that. The cake part is delicious...dark, moist, dense, everything you want in a chocolate cake. I loved it and can see myself making it again. It will also be good to have in my recipe rotation for people who call me for birthday, wedding, and/or anniversary cakes.
The icing? It's interesting. It's not too sweet. I had the word "earthy" come to mind as I ate it. But when I was telling my hubby that he said, "you mean like dirt?!" Men! No, it doesn't taste like dirt. It's a complex flavor, much different than most buttercreams which are full of butter and much more sugar. This is mild, mellow, earthy. It goes well with the cake, the flavors blending with each other. And, it looks so pretty against the dark brown of the cake. I only iced the middle and top. I think it looks pretty that way and I didn't think the icing would hold up well on the sides. I can't wait to share it with Leslie and see what she thinks. The recipe is posted below. Go on, try it! You might be pleasantly surprised.
Vegan Chocolate Avocado Cake with Avocado Buttercream.Recipe from A Vegetarian in the Middle East
3 cups all-purpose flour
6 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup soft avocado, well mashed, about 1 medium avocado
2 cups water
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 except the sugar. Set that aside too.
Mix all the wet ingredients together in a bowl, including the super mashed avocado.
Add sugar into the wet mix and stir.
Mix the wet with the dry all at once, and beat with a whisk (by hand) until smooth.
Pour batter into greased cake pans. Bake for 30 - 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.
Avocado Buttercream Frosting
from Alton Brown
8 ounces of avocado meat, about 2 small to medium, very ripe avocados
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 pound 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. Don't worry. It won't turn brown!