Chocolate Avocado Cake

Yes, I do know how weird this sounds. But believe. And then go buy some avocados.

Before I go any further, let me confess: as much as I wish it were, this is not my recipe. It’s a Joy the Baker recipe. I purposely didn’t link to this particular recipe because her pictures are stunningly beautiful and mine are, well, not. You can search for her post if you must. And then spend a few minutes falling head over heels for this woman and her blog. Real talk: I want to be her when I grow up.

This cake is for Jason’s 26th birthday, which is tomorrow. Jason loves avocados and does not particularly love sweet things (ie birthday cake). This I do not even begin to understand, but I think chocolate avocado cake is a good compromise. You can’t have it all on your birthday, am I right?

Tonight was also the big debut of my brand new Cuisinart food processor (thanks to Eleanor and Jim for such a lovely graduation gift). I used it to make the avocados into a creamy, delicious substance that resembles something that might be used for baking.

It’s very pretty and clean and white. And, it comes with an instructional DVD that I’m totally going to watch before I go to bed.

I hesitate to tell you, dear reader, that this cake is 100% vegan. I hesitate because this is generally a turn off for me when choosing to bake something. However, in this case, the avocado offers the fat that butter generally provides. And from what I understand, it does not taste like avocados. (I’ll report on this tomorrow, after we actually eat the cake.) It does look (and smell) totally normal, which is more than I can say for a lot of the vegan things that I’ve baked before now.

I will admit, however, that I was a little scared at this stage in the game:

But, I pulled through the science experiment-looking stages and I think we have a success on our hands. I’ll let you know tomorrow.

Here’s the recipe, mostly as Joy tells it:

For the cake:

3 cups all-purpose flour

6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (dark chocolate)

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 cups granulated sugar

1/4 cup vegetable oil (or for fun, something like almond oil–not in my current budget)

1/2 cup soft avocado, pureed or 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 9-inch cake pans. Sift together all of the dry ingredients except the sugar. Mix all the wet ingredients together in a bowl, including the food-processor’d avocado. (You can totally just mash it up by hand.) 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 a greased cake pans. 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 icing.

For the avocado buttercream icing:

2 small to medium, very ripe avocados, pureed or well mashed

2 teaspoons lemon juice

A whole bunch of powdered sugar (yes, a bunch)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Place the avocado meat into a bowl (or a food processor), mix with lemon juice until smooth. Then, add the powdered sugar a little at a time and beat. Taste as you go until it’s sweet enough and doesn’t taste like avocados. Add vanilla extract until combined. This icing won’t turn brown (because of the lemon juice).

work night curry

Tonight I made curry. Sort of. Trader Joe’s helped:

This stuff costs like $1.50 and makes a tasty dinner with very little effort. I added tofu, red peppers, onions, zucchini, peas, broccoli, carrots, baby potatoes and simmered it all until the potatoes were soft (and Jason got home from work). Served it over jasmine rice and had the dishes washed and put away by 7:30. Can’t complain.

The photography is pretty shoddy, but it was dark and I was hungry. What can I say?  Resolutions would be boring if you achieved them 10 days in.

new year’s resolutions…the kind I’ll actually keep

Here’s to 2012!

To catch up: I graduated. I got a job a mere twelve days after graduating. (Donations Coordinator, Chatham Habitat for Humanity, at your service!) I’ve moved to Durham.

Okay, now for those pesky resolutions:

1. Blog. This blog, in fact. Yep, you heard me.

2. Take more pictures, especially of the things I cook.

3. Make sure that things I cook look pretty.

4. Get better at taking food pictures.

5. Read. For pleasure. Because I can.

I’ll admit, it seems totally cliche to say, but I’d really love to be my own boss one day. What shall I do, you ask? I have no idea. The list of pipe dreams includes, but is not limited to: wildly successful blogger, counselor, house-builder, librarian, cheese-maker, novelist, potter, goat farmer, newspaper columnist, glass blower, non-profit director, chef, children’s book illustrator, blacksmith, archivist, mixed media artist, beekeeper, book-binder, restaurant reviewer, magazine editor, or maybe a vegetable farmer. These are not all the things I’ve considered.

For right now, I’m paying rent. And luckily, doing something that I really believe in and enjoy doing every day.

Naturally, the blog is going to change a little. Hopefully I’ll still be doing a lot of cooking, reading and drinking coffee while eating cookies for breakfast. But we’ll see. The scenery will be a little different, for now.