Vegan Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Avocado Frosting

Sunday, September 11, 2016

September is momentous. It’s that time of the year when I bake and decorate at least six cakes just for the family. Seven, if my MIL is with us. And this week, I’m doing the first four for the quads. Yes, they get a cake each. How lovely is that? ;)

Every one of them will have a different cake. And I usually have a theme for them. This time, it was produce. Yep, produce! As in fruits and veggies. So we’re having German’s Chocolate Cake with coconut and pecan frosting, a beetroot red velvet cake, a chocolate zucchini cake, and an applesauce vegan chocolate cake with avocado frosting. Produce from a to z … apple to zucchini ;)

Like the quads, I loved all of them, the cakes I mean. But this cake, this vegan chocolate cake is pivotal! Because I just realized that cakes without butter, and without eggs can be just as amazing as the ones with. Now don’t get me wrong … I have enjoyed cakes of all sorts and ingredients, but for a celebratory cake that is layered, rich, lush, and downright gobsmacking good, this vegan cake takes the cake! And just to assure you, this is the third time this cake has been made at home and after all the successful outcomes with subtle variations in each, I rest my case on this particular one.

So yes, I’ve maxed out on the adjectives that describe this vegan chocolate cake. Rich, lush, oh but I haven’t mentioned moist, delicate, and oh-so-delicious? And when paired with the chocolate avocado frosting, it is to-die-for! The cake and the frosting are a match made in vegan baking heaven. They work wonderfully together, the delicate crumb of the cake alongside the unctuous and buttery avocado frosting.

Because it was going to be a decorated cake, I had the chocolate avocado frosting sandwiching the layers and had a vegan Italian meringue buttercream on the outside. (Psst … vegan butter and aquafaba does the trick) Now if it were a tea cake, you can even coat the cake with swirls of the avocado frosting, that would be so pretty too!

The best part about this recipe, for me, besides the fact that its vegan of course, is that you need not use your stand mixer for this. And since there are no eggs involved, you can taste and adjust for sweetness, as I like mine a bit under-sweet to compensate for the frosting. But if you are making it as a tea cake sans frosting, you may want to add a teensy bit more sweetener. 

So if you’re looking into vegan cakes, you should definitely make this one, frosting or not. I can guarantee you that, like me, you shall be most impressed. This recipe is adapted from the Minimalist Baker’s chocolate cake recipe. You may want to check out her blog for so many more amazing vegan recipes. Happy baking!

Vegan Chocolate Cake
540 ml (2-1/4 cup) almond milk
3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
450 g (scant 2 cups) unsweetened applesauce
160 ml (3/4 cup) strong fresh brewed coffee, unsweetened, cooled
240 ml (1 cup) canola or vegetable oil
3 tsp vanilla extract
480 g (3 cups + 3tbsp) whole wheat pastry flour
300 g (1-1/2 cups) light brown sugar
145 g (1-1/2 cup) Dutch processed cocoa
3 tsp baking soda
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt

1. Preheat the oven to 175C or 350F.
2. Place a parchment round on the bottoms of 3 8-inch round cake pans, then butter and dust with cocoa. 

3. In a large measuring cup, pour the almond milk and the apple cider vinegar. Let sit while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
4. In a large bowl, whisk together the applesauce, coffee, canola oil, and vanilla.
5. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

6. Whisk the milk and vinegar into the wet ingredients.
7. In three additions, fold the dry ingredients into the wet, just until you see no visible lumps of flour. 8. The batter will be loose, and somewhat pourable, and this is how it should be.
9. Divide it among the 3 cake pans and bake for 25-30 minutes until it passes the skewer test. 
10. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes before inverting it onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

Avocado Frosting
3 ripe avocados
50 g (1/2 cup) cocoa
120 ml (1/2 cup) maple syrup
1 shot of espresso (or 2 tbsp strong coffee)
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
up to 100 g (1 cup) of confectioners sugar, to achieve desired consistency

1. Scoop the avocado flesh into a food processor, pulse until broken into chunks.
2. Add the cocoa, maple syrup, coffee, vanilla extract, and salt to the processor and blitz until homogenous.
3. Transfer to a medium mixing bowl.
4. Sift the confectioners sugar and fold into the frosting until thick enough to hold a cake layer on it.
5. Frost when cake has cooled. 

Depending on the ripeness of the avocado, this frosting may range from too soft to firm enough. Because I was doing a three layer cake, I added a bit of confectioners sugar to firm it up. If you've adjusted the recipe and are having a one layered tea cake, or doing cupcakes, you may find that you don't need such a firm frosting. Play it by ear ;)

Uh oh ... I realize I'm doing a great disservice by not even having a photo of the cross section of the cake. This is why ... by the time we cut the cake, had dinner, had cake, it was nearing 10 and it was an early school day for most kids. I usually do my cake slice shot the next day, but the next day I boarded a flight across the pond. And that's why! Well, I will definitely be making another one of these cakes and by George! I shall be posting a picture of the cake innards on that occasion. 

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