Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Vegan Chocolate Avocado Cake

I know. This is a weird recipe. Definitely the strangest thing I’ve posted about… and possibly ever made. Before you roll your eyes and close your browser, hear me out. This was not a case of me picking an exotic recipe just so I could blog about it – far from it, in fact. And don’t worry, I’m not turning vegan on you. I love cheese and ice cream waaay too much to give that a go. So what prompted me to make a vegan chocolate cake with avocado buttercream frosting? True friendship.

Recently, one of my dear friends has had to go completely dairy-free. That means no butter, no milk, no sour cream, no buttermilk – pretty much anything that typically goes into cakes and frostings to make them rich, moist, and delicious. So what does that leave you? Apparently avocado, which I discovered while searching for a dessert recipe I could serve to my friend when she and her husband came over for dinner last week.

I’ve used things like apple sauce in cakes before, so the idea of using creamy avocado as a replacement for butter in the cake didn’t seem like such a stretch. As a replacement for the butter in buttercream though – I wasn’t so sure. It turns out that the mashed avocado in the cake isn’t half bad. It doesn’t make the cake taste like avocado and it keeps the cake very moist. In the frosting, well, avocado and butter are definitely not the same thing, so the texture and flavors were not quite the same. However, the avocado flavor was not overwhelming and the frosting was a nice compliment to the cake.

All in all, Stan and our friends really enjoyed the cake. I must admit I didn’t love it, but I’m pretty critical of the things I bake. I found the cake a bit dense and the frosting a little too sweet. However, since my friends and husband liked it, I was plenty happy and wouldn’t hesitate to make the cake again for dairy-free or vegan friends. If you’re looking for vegan recipe, or just want to surprise your family and friends with a green cake, give this one a try.

Vegan Chocolate Avocado Cake
Adapted from Joy the Baker

For the Cake:
3 cups all-purpose flour
6 T. cocoa powder
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
1/2 cup very ripe avocado, mashed well
2 cups water
2 T. white vinegar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups sugar

For the Frosting:
8 oz. very ripe avocado
2 tsp. lemon juice
1 lb. powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

For the Cake:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 8-inch or 9-inch round cake pans. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In another bowl, whisk together the oil, avocado, water, vinegar, and vanilla. Add the sugar and whisk to combine.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Stir until just well combined.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cake pans.  Bake 30 to 40 minutes, or until a knife or toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean. (The time may be less if you use 9-inch pans, so keep an eye on the cakes.)

Let the cakes cool in their pans for 15 minutes, and then remove them from the pans and finish cooling on cooling racks.

When the cakes are completely cool, frost as desired.

For the Frosting:
Place the avocado and lemon juice in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk on medium speed until the avocado is smooth and lighter in color, about 3 minutes.

With the mixer running, add the powdered sugar a little bit at a time. When the frosting is smooth, add the vanilla and whisk to combine.  Frost your cake as desired.  (You can see from the photos that I used a light hand when frosting my cake.  Feel free to add more or less according to your taste.)

If you’re not using the frosting right away, cover it with plastic wrap and keep it in the refrigerator. I kept mine in the fridge for a couple of hours, and it didn’t turn brown!


  1. When baking chocolate goodies whose sides will be exposed, I "flour" the pan with cocoa powder so you don't see that white crust leftover from white flour. This cake was great! Moist, and not too sweet. I think the frosting was best on the same day.

  2. Allison - Using cocoa powder instead of flour to prepare baking pans is a great idea. Thanks for sharing!



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