“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” That old familiar saying tells you exactly what to do when a hefty lot of negative is flying your way. No one tells you what to do when you have eight or nine perfectly ripe avocados on hand, and we all know that the worst thing you can do with perfectly ripe avocados is let them go to waste. I had this figurative batch of “lemons” in one hand and a bag of cocoa powder in the other. The logical thing to do was make a cake.
There are a number of chocolate avocado cakes out there, but at the heart of it all, they are often the same–vegan. The natural fat in the avocado, often combined with some sort of oil, provide everything you need to create a dense, yet fluffy cake. No need for eggs with the help of traditional leavening agents. The recipe for the cake was inspired by Joy the Baker’s Vegan Chocolate Avocado Cake. She actually found her recipe on another site, which no longer exists, so it appears as though, for now at least, we can credit Joy for this one. The original recipe calls for the avocados to be mashed, but a quick spin in the food processor is my suggestion. You end up with a luscious, creamy batch, and best of all, you can prep the avocados for both the cake and frosting at the same time.
Another difference in this cake is the use of half water and half almond milk as the liquid, as well as substituting olive oil for vegetable or nut oil. Finally, there’s the frosting, which looks like a rich buttercream. Of course, there’s no butter. The smooth texture is the result of that puréed avocado. The rest of the ingredients are nothing different than what you would typically find in frosting, and you can tweak the consistency as you like by adding more or less powdered sugar or extra almond milk. I made the frosting and cake a day prior to serving it, so the “buttercream” needed to be loosened a bit after a night in the fridge. The extra almond milk came in handy.
Now, don’t fool yourself into thinking that this is necessarily a healthy cake. It still has flour and sugar just like any other chocolate cake, but per serving, there is a little less overall fat, saturated fat and calories and more vitamins and nutrients thanks to the avocado. Rest assured that this vegan version is a delicious and welcome adjustment from the original. The crumb is tender, and the cocoa flavor runs deep. Play a little trick on your chocolate cake-loving friends the next time you have an abundance of avocados.
- Floured baking spray
- 3 cups flour
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 cups sugar
- 1/2 cup puréed ripe avocado (about 1 medium avocado)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup vanilla almond milk*
- 2 tablespoons white vinegar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 3/4 cup puréed ripe avocado (about 2 medium avocados)
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 1/3 cups powdered sugar, plus extra for dusting
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla almond milk, optional
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray the bottom and sides of two 8″ round cake pans with floured baking spray.
- In a large bowl, whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt until combined.
- In a separate large bowl, whisk the pureed avocado, olive oil, water, almond milk, vinegar and vanilla until smooth.
- Carefully stir the wet ingredients into the dry, stirring until smooth. Evenly divide the batter between both cake pans. Bake for 35-40 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through. The cakes are done once a toothpick inserted in the middle of both cakes comes out clean.
- Remove the cakes from the oven, and allow them to cool in their pans for 15 minutes. Transfer them to a cooling rack to rest.
- While the cakes cool, prepare the frosting by stirring the pureed avocado, cocoa powder, powdered sugar, vanilla and salt until smooth. Add the almond milk if you want a thinner frosting.
- Spread 1/3 of the frosting over the top of one cooled cake. Place the second cake round on top, and spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides.
- Dust the top of the cake with powdered sugar, if desired.