Tuesday, 28 February 2012

TTT Avocado pound cake with cream cheese frosting

Last week I baked three cakes for Sylvia's birthday.  I tried to keep it simple and plain.  Simple because my time and energy is quite limited at the moment.  Plain because there are so many ways to displease kids.  Neither plain nor simple is my strength.  I managed plain and simple with some twists.  Pound cake (also known as buttercake or madeira cake) is plain but mine was slightly green.  That is the joy of Avocado pound cake.

Not quite as green as I had hoped but greener than I had expected after using avocados with some grey patches and my yoghurt had some blueberries in it.  It was green enough for E to guess that it the cake might contain broccoli, spinach or courgette.  Green enough for me to smile with delight at the green puree in my food processor.

Sylvia then wanted a purple cake.  So I decided on some purple icing.  At which point she told me she wanted green icing.  Sometimes you can't win.  Fortunately she was more gracious about her presents.  E and I bought her a new purple bike.  I am not sure if it is more or less popular than the new dolly stroller from a local budget shop.  I think she will enjoy the bike more if the weather ever manages to find a balance between drenching rain and burning heat. 

Sylvia also received presents for her craft box as well as clothes, dress-ups, games and a new nurse dolly.  Little dolly is still ruling the roost but she is glad to have nurse dolly when she doesn't feel very well.  And Sylvia loves her new cape for being the wicked witch with her friend Gordon!  

Her dad bought her a 1970 movie of the Railway Children DVD.  She loves him reading her an abridged version of the story and was quite fascinated by the film.  Birthdays are about indulgence.  Watching a long DVD, eating pizza and then decorating a cake fit the bill.

I made a ring cake which seemed celebratory.  E thought it looked like a big doughnut.  While I am often happy to leave cakes plain (like Lorraine's afternoon tea loaf), I believe that icing is right and proper when it is a birthday.  I was surprised at how restrained Sylvia and I were in decorating the cake.  I suspect she planned to eat more of the sprinkles than she put on the cake but I did my best to stop her eating a handful of butterfly decorations. 

I was less successful at stopping Sylvia putting her face into the empty icing bowl.  It makes me laugh to see how much she embraces cakes.  Yet if I can make the treats a little bit more healthy I will.  Avocado was not just about colour.  It also imparted some buttery softness in the cake with healthy fats.  The frosting is one I like for not having a shocking amount of sugar and I love using beetroot powder to minimise artificial colourings. 

I served the avocado cake on Sylvia's birthday and it was lovely when fresh.  It was less popular when we had some people around for her birthday.  My mum commented that it had a slightly odd taste.  Probably the avocado.  I thought it barely discernible.  However I suspect the real reason that it was neglected on a table of party food was that there was tough competition.  I'll be back soon with her other two birthday cakes.

Meanwhile, I am sending this cake to Karen of Lovage and Lavender and Kate of What Kate Baked for their Tea Time Treats event.  The theme in February is Romance so I think this cake with purple frosting and pretty flowers seems just right.

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
This time last year: Teatime and tales - for the young at heart
This time two years ago: Baking: the good the bad and the healthy
This time three years ago: Valentine Day Polenta
This time four years ago: If music be the food...

Avocado Pound Cake
Adapted from Not Quite Nigella
  • 1 1/4 cups plain flour
  • 1/4 cup cornflour (cornstarch)
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/3 cup almond meal
  • 1 (scant) teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup rice bran oil
  • 3/4 cup castor sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 ripe medium avocados
  • 1/2 cup yoghurt (I used half plain and half sweetened)
  • 1 tsp lime juice 
Cream cheese frosting (Adapted from here):
  • 125g cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • purple colouring (I used a mix of purple powder and beetroot powder)
  • sprinkles (sparkly, flowers and butterflies)
    Preheat oven to 170 C.  Grease and line a 20cm ring tin (or a loaf tin).

    Place flours, baking powder, almond and salt in a medium to large mixing bowl.  Mix well.  Blitz oil, sugar, eggs, avocado flesh, yoghurt and lime juice in food processor until smooth and green. Gently mix avocado mixture with dry ingredients until combined.

    Pour into prepared tin and bake for 55 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.   Leave in tin for 5-10 minutes and then turn out onto a wire rack to cool.

    To make the frosting, vigourously mix all the ingredients with a spoon (or use electric beaters).  Spread over cooled cake and decorate with sprinkles as desired.

    On the Stereo:
    The Trip: Various Artists: curated by Jarvis Cocker and Steve Mackey.

    38 comments:

    1. Very cool ideas to use avocado for baking! :D I loved to make green cakes as a child, but I used green food color, and my cakes always imploded. :P

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      1. Thanks Kath - I would love to see a photo of your green imploding cakes - sounds like fun :-)

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    2. Good thinking Johanna and a happy birthday to Sylvia. What a great colour for a cake. I really must get a bundt tin.

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      1. Thanks Jacqueline - I always thought bundt tins were fancier than this but any ring tin is fun - you will see in the second cake that I do have a fancy bundt tin but am still getting used to it

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    3. Yes, very happy birthday to Sylvia!
      Love the green in the cake. Seems like that might work really well for a St Patty cake ;-)

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      1. Thanks Tanna - lovely to hear from you - I thought exactly the same thing about the green cake - perfect for st pat's day

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      1. Thanks Lisa - it was really all about the colours but tasted good too

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    5. Wow 3 cakes good for you!! I love the fun green and purple colours. :) Happy birthday to Sylvia!

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      1. Thanks Ashley - it is no coincidence that purple and green are my favourite colours :-)

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    6. Wow, you baked 3 cakes for Sylvia! What a lucky girl. The colours in this cake are fantastic.

      Where did you buy your beetroot powder from? I made something last night that needed a bit more colour and was thinking that beetroot powder would have been perfect.

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      1. Thanks Mel - 3 cakes seems a bit excessive - we still have cake in the freezer but a lot was eaten by others fortunately.

        The beetroot powder is from a retailer called Herbies Spices - http://www.herbies.com.au/ - there was a shop in lygon street with lots of their spices - fantastic range - and the next time I visited it had shut down so the only place I know to get it is online - which I may need to do when my stash runs out because I love it so much

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    7. Happy Birthday to Sylvia! And I'm honoured that the avocado pound cake was one of the three cakes that you made her. I couldn't really taste the avocado but others said that they could. Perhaps they had expected a different taste because it was green :)

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      1. Thanks Lorraine - how interesting that you also found different people had different experiences of the avocado - I though the frosting helped to make sure the taste wasn't prominent but only my mum commented about it and she was the only person who had some and knew what was in it - maybe that made a difference

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    8. Avocado pound cake? Creative and sounds delicious!

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      1. Thanks Caloric and Crazy - oh yes!

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    9. I love the colours! Happy birthday to Sylvia. :-)

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      1. Thanks cindy - who doesn't love a brightly coloured cake on a birthday :-)

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    10. Happy birthday to Sylvia! It sounds like she got some lovely presents (I loved the railway children as a child) and if 3 cakes isn't lucky then I don't know what is! I'm not sure that 3 'simple' cakes can collectively count as simple...:)

      I have had avocado in baking and desserts on my mind lately, so this cake looks wonderful to me. I'm all for embracing green, especially with purple icing.

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      1. Thanks Kari - Both e and I loved the railway children as kids too - 3 cakes felt a bit overwhelming but necessary - I probably should have made some cupcakes and had a few for each occasion but we had three celebrations and I felt a new cake was needed for each.

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    11. Wow these is an amazing cake!! Never heard of avocado cake before & I just the color! Stunning!!

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      1. Thanks Kit - I have made chocolate avocado cake before but only recently heard of this sort of cake - and was so amazed at the colour

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    12. Gosh, the green and purple on that cake is a killer combo! Looks lovely.

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      1. Thanks Lisa - my favourite colours - couldn't resist!

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    13. I love how green avocado cakes turn out! They always look so appealing to me!

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      1. Thanks Joanne - I was surprised at just how green avocado made the cake - and very pleased

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    14. Three cakes when you're lacking in time and energy?!?!?! You're clearly wonderwoman!

      I'll definitely be trying this one day. After all, the only way I like avocado is in desserts :P Happy birthday to the lady of the house! ;)

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      1. Thanks Hannah - wonderwoman or crazy - but I have a belief in birthday cakes being important! Hope you enjoy it - am sure it is up your alley

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    15. That's a real eye catching cake, love the green and purple! Never heard of using avocado in a cake, have seen it in icing though. Hope Sylvia had a great birthday!

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      1. Thanks Hannah - I thought about doing avocado icing too but I had done this cream cheese frosting before and it seemed simpler

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    16. I love the green cake with the purple frosting - it's gorgeous! Happy belated birthday to Sylvia.

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      1. Thanks Cakelaw - I think this is the prettiest of the three ckaes

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    17. Johanna, I love it. You come up with such brilliant things. The green cake is just lovely. If decent avocados weren't so difficult to get hold of, I'd be trying this out immediately. If only you'd waited a little bit longer, it would have fitted very nicely into this month's We Should Cocoa. I must see if I can get hold of beetroot powder. I do love colour, but won't use artificial colourings. I am VERY surprised this languished on the table.

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      1. Thanks Choclette - I keep blogging because I love the inspiration for making fun and interesting food. Sorry to hear that avocados are hard to come by - they are such a joy! Hope you find some beetroot powder - as I mentioned to Mel you can buy it online at http://www.herbies.com.au/ - I did grit my teeth when I saw the WSC theme for March but then I remembered I have leftover green frosting in the freezer from the 3rd birthday cake so I should be able to come up with something

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    18. It looks fabulous! I love the idea of using avocado in cooking - I've only ever done it in a chocolate cake where the colour was hidden - I'm impressed that the colour stays after baking. I love the contrast of the bright purple icing too!

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    19. Love the colours with this! Definitely a fairytale cake. Hope Sylvia enjoyed her birthday :)

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    20. Happy Birthday to Sylvia! I have to agree with everyone else--3 cakes seems not quite simple! And lucky Sylvia that you were willing to make them for her. The combo of the greenish cake and purple frosting is quite fetching. I love using avocado in baked goods, too, for all the reasons you mention (and the green). ;)

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    21. I don't know if I would make this, but I would def. like to try a slice.

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