Moist Avocado Chocolate Loaf Cake

Hate it or love it, the ‘moist’ hopefully caught you off guard.

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(Apologies for the almost horrific slice cuts here, I have yet to get a serrated knife for my uni kitchen).

I feel like I’ve finally settled into January right when it has mostly ended. Not to say January wasn’t great, in fact it was amazing and I’ve already changed a few important (bad) habits, but I do feel as if my head’s been slightly all over the place, for no particular reason at all. It might be down to a waning self-confidence and general stress. For that, the solution is baking, the right amount of socialising, and deep work– I’ve caught myself too many a time staring at my phone screen as if it will give me the answers to all my burning, deep life questions.

A classic problem of the privileged 21st century life is not knowing what to do with a lot of ripe fruit. Ripe bananas are always tossed into a flurry of melted butter, sugar and flour to make pancakes or banana bread/cake. Avocados are left behind because they’re less lucky. Their hard shells of a coat don’t make it easy to spot when they’re ready, and sometimes it’s a little too late, so you smell the rotting brown flesh and toss it immediately.

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The first time I made this loaf it was a hit in my graduate dormitory, but a tad too dry. This time it turned out much more moist, which I definitely prefer. So bake it longer if you don’t fancy such a moist crumb (which you can clearly see below). The chocolate is optional but the bittersweet nature of some of the dark stuff goes a long way, piercing the creamy avocado crumb. You end up with a crusty top, creamy fluffy inside and melting dark chocolate.

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Avocado Chocolate Loaf Cake (makes 6 large slices)

Ingredients

1 large ripe avocado

190g (3/4 cup) butter at room temperature

2 tsp salt (use just 1 tsp if you are using salted butter)

200g (1 cup) sugar, I used a mix of raw cane and brown sugar

3 organic, free-range, medium eggs (use two if you have large eggs)

1 tsp vanilla extract

300g (almost 2.5 cups) flour, use plain flour or substitute half with buckwheat, which is what I did

2 tsp baking powder

0.5 tsp baking soda

60-80g chopped dark chocolate

Directions

Preheat your oven to 180C (350F) and line a 9×5-inch loaf pan with parchment paper. In a large bowl, mash the ripe avocado. Add the room-temperature butter, sugar, salt and eggs and whisk those in well. In a separate bowl, add the flour, baking powder and chocolate and whisk together briefly. Tip this dry mix into the wet and mix well with a wooden spoon until everything comes together, but do not overmix. Your batter should be neither too wet nor dry, and should easily drop off your spoon if you give it a firm flick. Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes. A wooden skewer inserted into the middle after the baking time should emerge with moist crumbs clinging to it. Enjoy warm with a pat of butter or nut butter on top. Keep in an airtight container for up to 2 days, or freeze and reheat for a future midday snack.

Kaya Avocado Nut Butter Cakes

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A homemade gift goes far. In Tuesday’s case, it was my Grandma’s homemade kaya, or coconut jam, lugged all the way from Singapore when my mum came to visit just a few weeks earlier. It was the exact same recipe for the green batch of love I played around with for my kaya maple loaf cake, the recipe for which you can find on Amazon as I speak!! Whew, rush rush rush. Anyways, a throwback was in demand as I held the tubs of curdled emerald goodness. Once again, an odd combination formed the scaffold of more funny kitchen business.

I occasionally find myself refusing to go against instinct for the fast and funny. As a student, the will to carve out day-long space is for something in total artistic favour is admittedly a little impractical with coursework and intense lecture review. There is indeed worth in all that labour, and I look forward to when I can do so without a penny of guilt eating away at the back of my head. It is true creative catharsis.

So you whisk together the dry and wet, fill half your cake molds with the final batter, add a teaspoon of nut butter of choice, then continue filling, then bake. The combination of kaya and avocado was approved by my skeptical flatmate. The best bit, I personally think, is the crusty sugar outside of the whole cake. Mmmmm. Kaya is sweet and, depending on the way you make it or the brand you buy, very coconutty, as green as the pandan leaves used to flavour the homely concoction of coconut milk, eggs and sugar. Avocado pretty much substituted most of the butter in this case, so the final texture of the cake was incredibly tender but not reminiscent of your typical cupcake, which might leave a buttery crumb. Pressing this will leave your fingers dry (and beautifully scented), yet the mouthfeel is airy and moist.

As I’ve touched on before, I do enjoy eating and making vegan meals and desserts, especially after all those silencing documentaries and Youtube lectures I’ve watched on the veggie movement. Though I am not full vegan for personal and family reasons, I will now officially include vegan or at gluten-free versions for all my recipes. I only want this blog to cater to all types of dietary needs, so if any of you feel like something is amiss, please feel free to email or DM me.

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Kaya Avocado Nut Butter Cakes (makes 6-7 cakes)

Ingredients

*= vegan substitute

190g plain flour (*same weight of gluten-free flour)

a generous pinch of salt

1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1  1/2 tsp baking soda

300g kaya (*recipe for vegan kaya below, using 1 sweet potato, 1 tsp pandan extract, 80ml coconut milk and 3 tbsp coconut or maple sugar)

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 egg (*1 mashed banana)

120g white caster sugar (*same weight of coconut sugar)

1 mashed avocado

3 tbsp olive oil

optional: nut butter of choice

 

Directions

*to make vegan kaya: Roast one large sweet potato (about 200g) at 200C for half an hour or until soft and mashable. Using a fork or blender (you pick the easy way out, ha ha), mix with the rest of the stated ingredients. And there you have vegan kaya! You should be able to use all the kaya you make, but weigh out 300g to be sure.

Firstly, preheat your oven to 180C and grease a 8 of your muffin tins. In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients: flour, salt, cinnamon, baking soda and sugar. Add the rest of the ingredients excluding the nut butter and mix well. You should have a thick, green batter of easy dropping consistency. If it’s too thick, add a drop of milk/nut milk until you get the desired consistency.

Fill your cake molds halfway up, then add a teaspoon of  nut butter to the centre, then continue to fill with the batter until the mold is 3/4 full. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes. Serve with more nut butter, yoghurt, honey and frozen berries (trust me on this one).

Avocado Yin Yang Mousse

Black and white. OK, green and white. It’s balance, it’s harmony, it’s almost meant to be.

I’m all for avocado and all the variations it can take on. This will be a short one, because I’m aching to get the directions out; it’s ridiculously easy and delicious. Plop everything into your blender or food processor and you’re in the groove. Chocolate avocado mousse has been done before, aka the wholesome take on a classic chocolate pudding. Look, I love the green stuff, but I still think a good chocolate pudding deserves to be just that– sinfully chocolatey, donned in cream and your normal sugar. But wait! Let’s think thick, rich, glorious breakfast toast spreads here. Maybe a snack, or something along those lines. With dark chocolate done, why not experiment with white? This one here incorporates both dark and white chocolate, with a few different ingredients thrown in here and there to enhance the chocolate theme, simultaneously complementing the natural richness and creaminess of avocado.

I was pleasantly surprised by the texture of the white chocolate variant in particular. The incorporation of the special ingredient –tahini– is what made it lush, thick and deliciously spreadable. No graininess, nothing. Just ease. Smoothness, a slight hint of salt, the childlike sweetness from melted white chocolate. That’s what I love about white chocolate. It appears to lack dimension and sophistication, but it’s the perfect medium for so many other things.

Avocado Yin Yang Mousse

Ingredients

For the dark chocolate take:

half an avocado

2 tbsp cocoa/cacao powder

1 tbsp honey/ maple syrup

1 tsp milk of choice

pinch salt

For the white chocolate take:

half an avocado

30g white chocolate, melted in the microwave

2 tbsp milk of choice

1 tbsp tahini (optional, but highly, highly recommended)

pinch salt

Directions

Blend the ingredients for the respective versions together in a food processor or blender. If you wish to make both (of course!), start with the white chocolate take first so that you won’t have to wash out your blender or processor after dealing with the cocoa/cacao powder. Spread on toast or eat on its own, maybe with a couple of dark chocolate truffles, mmm. This will keep for a week in the fridge.

No-bake Honey Avocado Tartlets

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I’ll break it down for you. What you see is basically mashed avocado, honey and cream cheese, sitting atop a gingersnap crust. A little shaved chocolate on top. Weird? Ew? Yeah, the rest of my family thought so too. Until they tried it… And loved it. My sister included, and she scoffs at anything that ‘tries too hard’ or ‘just doesn’t work’. Thankfully, this ‘works’. There’s none left in the fridge now, and that makes me happy.

It’s tiny revelations like these that make me determined to carry on pursuing a growing creative streak, egging me on, to keep experimenting with wacky combinations, as well as the tried-and-true stuff. I know I’m typically all about easy, but what’s striking about this particular combination of avocado and gingersnap is its hidden complexity. Look, I had leftover gingersnaps that looked pretty neglected, all the other choccies and biccies stealing the limelight, simple M&S stuff tucked away in the very corner of the fridge. And then, of course, the avocados. On the brink of mild brownness, tenderness (yes, ok, rottenness). Everything was so simple, so random. Nothing to lose. I’ve seen a few avocado frosting recipes before on some health blogs and decided to give the touch of cream cheese a go, though I chucked in some honey, instead of powdered sugar, which was a strong contender as I sat in the kitchen wondering what really would go best with what I had.

The cream cheese in the filling luxuriates what would otherwise simply be avocado on very sweet toast. The gingersnap offers some bite to sharpen its creamy, wholesome counterparts- lots of good unsalted butter and the ripe avocado. Each tartlet is small but rich, holding up its worth. Have two or three the morning after you make them for pure pleasure. Best straight out of the cold fridge, when the filling is slightly stiffer, and the flavours, especially that of the honey, taste fresh and distinct. Creamy, dense, delightful.

Honey Avocado Tartlets (makes around 12 mini 2-inch tartlets)

10 gingersnaps, crumbled (90g after a good smashing)

20g melted butter

half an avocado (around 65g)

50g cream cheese, softened

1 tablespoon thick honey

Either in a food processor or ziploc bag with a rolling pin, bash/whizz the biscuits till you get fine crumbs. Mix this with the melted butter. I used a rolling pin to bash the biscuits, then mixed the butter in by hand. Hand work is so therapeutic. The end result should feel like wet sand.

In a 12-mold tart pan (or if you would like bigger tarts, you can use a muffin tin), press around a tablespoon and a half of the mix into the molds. It took me a good 15 minutes to do this for all 12, but patience is key. Press, press, press. Just try not to let the sweat drip into your work.

In a small bowl, mash the avocado, honey and softened cream cheese together. If your cream cheese is as hard as a block from the fridge, microwave it for a minute or so, or until it’s much softer and pliable. Using a teaspoon measure or your fingers, put (or pipe, if you’re feeling all posh) the filling into the centre of each mold. Place the tart pan into the fridge and let them rest there for at least 4-6 hours. Pop each tartlet out to enjoy later on in the day or the next morning. The crust will be firm and almost crisp. If you want, add some chocolate shavings on top by using a knife and a block of good dark chocolate (thank you extra Mast Brothers goodies), the knife scraping bits off away from you, almost like how you would sharpen a knife. Drizzle more honey on top. These last 3-4 days in the fridge.

Avocado milkshake

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I love avocados, you know.

Its nourishing green-ness (it’s officially a word now), its thick, fatty, buttery consistency. Yes, that’s it, it’s a healthy butter. Most people hate its slippery meatiness, its grassy and lightly sweet consistency, but to me, it’s practically life in another form. Apart from being mashed thickly on toast with a drizzle of good honey and coarse sea salt, it’s wonderful in this shake. In my opinion, a shake or smoothie should only be thick. So ridiculously thick that you might as well eat it, not drink it, with a spoon, if there were no such thing as fat stripey straws. It makes the process all the more pleasurable, and almost cheeky.

You don’t need much, I promise. And extremely glad my mother owns a Vitamix!

Avocado milkshake (for 2-3 servings)

1 ripe avocado (I used a Hass for this)

1 small or half a large frozen banana (you can use a normal banana, just increase the amount of ice to 2 cups)

1.5 cups ice

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon each of salt and cinnamon

half cup milk of your choice (I used a blend of almond and whole)

Blend everything together until you get a rich, thick and delectably creamy consistency.

Avocados are worth the life hype.