July 30, 2010

Eggless Spiced Avocado Cake

I don’t remember my first set of school books, but I’m sure they included a book of alphabets with pictures. Our daughter never had any books to carry to school for her first two years. She just used to come back from school, proudly waving her very colourful “worksheets” to show us what she had done at school that day.

As I was saying, I still keep seeing those picture books with alphabets everywhere, and the first page almost always tells you that the letter “A” is for Apple! So I learnt that an Apple which was a somewhat round shaped red coloured fruit with a small stalk sprouting from its head to which was attached a single very green leaf!!

I wonder how many Indians living in India those days, other than in Kashmir and thereabouts, had actually seen an apple. I started school in East Africa where apples didn’t exist either. It wasn’t till I was in my teens that I saw my first apple.

The letter “A” also happens to be for Avocado, which I saw much before I did an apple. I never thought of avocados being grown in the African countries we lived in, but I think they must have. Those were the days before fruit was imported, and the avocados my parents used to buy were cheap enough to have to have been grown locally.

My mother used to love avocados, though she doesn’t seem to like them much now. I remember my mother scooping out the flesh and enjoying it with salt and a dash of lime juice. I never could understand what my mother saw in such an ugly looking tasteless fruit!

Actually, I still haven’t figured out what it is that there is to like about the avocado. I’m not sure I can even describe what an avocado tastes like, but I do know that I still do not like it. People say the taste is buttery (nutty somewhat) but I’d rather go with butter if I was looking for “buttery”.
However, there remains the fact that the avocado is rich in “good” fats (and calories), fibre and potassium. Avocados are nowadays as common as onions, potatoes and tomatoes at my market, in the season.
They are quite expensive and even though no one here likes it much, it seemed a good idea to buy a couple and see if they could be disguised (as in cooked or baked) and passed off as something else.
I had remembered seeing an avocado cake so I went searching for a recipe.

Why a cake with avocado? Well, why not? If one can make cakes with carrots, zucchini and beets why not with avocado? I also thought if I could hide the avocado in a cake, it would be likely to have more takers.
I improved the cake further by drizzling it with some melted chocolate!

The net threw up a lot of avocado cake recipes and all of them seemed to have cocoa or chocolate in them. Maybe the cocoa or chocolate is the avocado disguising ingredient and while I am self-proclaimed chocoholic, I didn’t want chocolate in my avocado cake.

I did find the odd link to a plain cake, but then the avocado was in the frosting! Again, this wasn’t what I was looking for.
Then there were a couple of cakes with avocado in the cake but required more eggs and butter than I was willing to bake with.
I thought the USP of the avocado was that its fat content (or being buttery) so I couldn’t understand cakes that caked for a stick and a half of butter!

So I came up with a workable recipe for the kind of cake I wanted. My recipe has much less butter and no eggs at all.
Many of the avocado cake recipes I saw used a bit of cornmeal along with all purpose flour. I happen to like the texture cornmeal lends to baked goods so I kept that in my recipe. If you do not like the taste of cornmeal in your cake, you can replace it with flour.
I also thought a bit of spice would add to the cake so I used chai masala.

The crowning glory was a chocolate drizzle. This recipe bakes into a pale green and moist cake that’s perfect to serve with coffee. There’s something mysterious about the pale green and just a faint hint of something different in the taste but it is not unpleasant. No one would say “avocado” if they didn’t know what went into it.

I would definitely recommend trying this once. I do not mind my avocado taking the form of this cake.

Eggless Spiced Avocado Cake


1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 cup cornmeal

1 1/4 cups sugar

1/2 tsp salt

75gm butter, softened

3/4 cup avocado purée*

1 cup buttermilk**

1 1/4 tsp baking soda

3/4 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 tsp chai masala (or all spice)

1 tsp vanilla extract


* I puréed one avocado with 1 tsp of lemon juice and that gave me 3/4 cup of purée from one avocado.

** I used 1 tsp of white vinegar in 1 cup of milk instead of buttermilk.

Put the flour, cornmeal, salt, baking soda, baking powder and chai masala in a bowl and whisk together. Keep aside.

In another bowl, using a hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar till light and fluffy. Add the avocado purée and beat well.

Add half of the whisked flour and half the buttermilk and beat on medium speed, just until the batter is smooth. Add the remaining flour, buttermilk and vanilla extract and beat again till just till the batter is smooth.
Do not over beat.

Pour the batter into a greased and floured bundt pan or a 8” or 9” cake tin and bake at 180C (350F) for about an hour, till the cake is done and a skewer comes out of the cake clean.
Unmould and cool the cake on a rack.

When cool drizzle with chocolate. Melt about 1/3 cup chopped dark chocolate and 2 tbsp cream in a small bowl, over hot water. Stir the chocolate-cream mixture till smooth and drizzle over the avocado cake.
Serve the cake as it is or with ice-cream, or as you would prefer.

This cake serves 8 to 10.

You might have noticed that I'm putting a bit more effort into my photography. This has nothing to do with this recipe, but I wanted to mention something because I'm kind of proud of it.
The first picture in this post has been shaot in colur and has not been edited for that effect. I believe this sort of thing can be done with editing software, but that's something I still do not know much about beyond the basics.

I shot the picture using black and white props (the napkin, the background, the plates, the cup and saucer) so that I could show a hint of green that was in the slice of avocado cake. It was only after shooting the picture that I realised the efect of the slice of colour in an otherwise black and white picture.


sarah said...

Interesting.... I am one of the veg-aholics who tries to get veggies in everywhere, so I can see that this might appeal to me. :-)

Ricki said...

I love using avocado as an egg substitute in cooking! Your cake is beautful--and the b&w contrast to the green in the cake is just gorgeous. Definitely a cake I could get into! :)

PJ said...

Awesome clicks Aparna!!!!Loved each one but the prize goes to the first one.Until I read ur note,I thought u used a software to get BW effect for all except the cake!!!Exceptional!!!!

As for Avocado,I haven't tasted one yet so can only guess how this cake would be..

Sayantani said...

beautiful photography Aparna. love this recipe too.

Asha @ FSK said...

Lovely cake Aparna.. I LOVE the first snap!! :))
WOW! You grew up with avocados?? LOL.. I always thot it was a South American veggie.. hmm perhaps it a South of Equator thing :)

btw.. i know what u mean about its taste. I didn't like it much as is for a long while. only thing i liked of it was guacamole. But, now like your mom I love it with just salt and lemon :)

lata raja said...

I have a tree yielding avocados here...I just don't seem to have a fancy for it, inspite of the many health benefits claimed.
I may have to do something similar just to have the avocado!! The chocolate drizzle is fascinating though.

simply.food said...

Perfectly made and beautifully captured on camera.

sra said...

Ah, so you stayed slave to your chocoholism after all!

Priya (Yallapantula) Mitharwal said...

wow dear, that looks amazing, who can say it has avocado in it :)

jayasree said...

More than the cake, the setting in the first pic caught my attention. Great job,Aparna.You can definitely be proud abt it and surely this is one of the best pics at MDK.

Cake with that drizzling of chocolate is very tempting.

dick said...

Definitely agree with you on avocado taste. My friend Carmen can't get enought of them and I cannot stand the taste of them. I like almost any fruit or veggie but avocado and eggplant. Love all the rest, even including okra.

May try the cake once.

Red Chillies said...

Beautiful pictures, Aparna. Avocado in a cake is such a cool idea and being eggless I am sure I will try this soon.

shobana said...

hi aparna.

I have become a great fan of your blog. You have a lovely collection of eggless cakes and your clicks are really good. They succeed in bringing out the 'mood' of the food. Great work. Truly.

Susan said...

Aparna, this is brilliant, not to mention beautiful.

Sanjeeta kk said...

Avocado is quite unusual and interesting to add.

Anne Louise Klein said...

Wow! I can't wait to try this. Thank you!

Anne Louise Klein said...

Question - Could you substitute Whole Wheat flour or Whole Wheat Pastry flour for the All-Purpose Flour?

Aparna said...

It just might Sarah. Even though I don't like avocado, I liked this cake.

Ricki, I actually used the avocado as a fat substitute rather than as an egg substitute.
But this cake works great without eggs. :)

Thank you PJ, Sayantani, SF and Jayasree.

Thanks, Asha. :)
I don't quite think of it as growing up with avocados but yes. South Africa used to grow them, but I think quite a few others do now.
Still don't really like avocados.

You have an avocado tree, Lata! Then you should experiment with the fruit.
Reap the health benefits by disguising it with something else. :)

Yes Sra, I did. :D

I used to dislike eggplant Dick, but now like them in certain preparations.

Do that Supriya. :)YOu could try the chocolate versions too.

Thank you very much, Shobana.

Appreciate your comment, Susan.

Anne Louise, you could substitute wholw wheat flour for APF but you would probably end up with a very dense cake.
You could try substituting about 1/3 rd the APF with WW and see how you like it. If its not too dense for your liking, you could then try it with half APF and half WW.
I don't get whole wheat pastry flour so have never tried that but understand you can substitute half the APF flour with it, to get good results.

Fuat Gencal said...

Çok beğendim. Ellerinize sağlık. Çok şık ve leziz görünüyor.


Veena said...

I remember that mom used to love Avocado and I couldn't stand the stuff. I am such a huge fan of home made guacomole, now though. I think the addition of onions, tomatoes, lime juice, cilantro and salt elevates it to another level, especially in combination with some corn chips or tortillas!

I have bookmarked this recipe - have to try it out sometime soon. Looks yummy!

ilcucchiaiodoro said...

Hello Aparna,
I would love to try this recipe, I am very curious.
Could you tell me the dose in grams?
We as a unit we do not use the cup.
It looks really good, congratulations!

Avanika [YumsiliciousBakes] said...

An avocado cake! Wow that's daring. I've never really tried baking with vegetables! It looks interesting :)

Kamalika said...

First time here....liked your blog and loved the snaps too....will be in touch with you.....

Aparna said...

Veena, since even Amma doesn't seem to like avocado anymore, I thought I was safer with the cake rather than guacamole. :)

Donatella, wish I could convert the ingredients to weight measures for you but I don't have kitchen scales. :(
But my cup holds 200ml by volume, so if you could measure the ingredients by cup and weigh them, you would probably have whay you want.

I really wish I could have been of more help. When I do get some kitchen scles, I shall do the conversions for you. :)

Welcome to my virtual kitchen, Kamalika.

Y said...

Avocado cake? Wow! Mind you, I'm not adverse to the idea of avocado as frosting either :P

Spice said...

Hi Aparna, nice cake....like your mom me too use to like it with salt & lemon but after second pregnancy can't stand that taste anymore, guacamole is still o.k....btw I also onec tried avocade cupcakes but that didn't worked out....I guess now it's the time to give it a second chance...