With starting my new job at Dunkin Donuts, there’s been a lot less free time and subsequently, a lot less baking around here. With the fourth of July comes lots of picnics, of course, and Al’s aunt and cousin came in from Canada to visit, so his grandparents had a picnic today (the third). With today being my only day off of the week, as soon as I got off from work last night, I started baking the dessert for today’s picnic. Al’s mom gave me a few suggestions: chocolate, fruit, dairy free..so I decided to combine a bunch of recipes together and came up with a double layer strawberry upside down cake with a chocolate avocado cake base and a light ganache drizzled over top.
This cake surpassed all of my expectations. The cake was light while still being slightly dense, moist and almost spongy in texture. The strawberries added a nice tang but still added the perfect sweetness. The dark ganache balanced out everything else beautifully, adding a bit of decadence.
I was a bit wary of using the avocado, but it made the perfect texture – and no, you can’t taste it one bit! I love that it added healthy fats and made it so much better for you without weighing you down. It gives you a reason to take that big slice of chocolate cake!
Because I was making sure it was lactose free, I used lactose free milk for the ganache (fat free also), so it was a thin glaze, rather than an extremely rich, thick ganache that most of us are used to. It added the flavor without bogging you down too much.
Everyone loved this cake, and I’m SO glad it worked out as well as it did. It’s a little scary trying out a recipe for the first time for a small crowd, but it really paid off..delicious!
Chocolate Avocado Strawberry Upside Down Cake
makes one 2 layer 8-inch round cake
For the strawberry topping:
about 2 1/2 cups sliced strawberries
4 T Smart Balance spread (or butter)
1/2 cup brown sugar
Place 2 T of the spread (or butter) each in two 8 inch round cake pans and place in a 350ºF oven until melted. Swirl around so it coats the edges of the pan and then sprinkle 1/4 cup brown sugar on the bottom of each pan. Place the strawberries down in a single layer of each pan until they completely cover the bottom.
For the cake:
3 cups white whole wheat flour
7 T cocoa powder
1/2 t salt
2 t baking powder
2 t baking soda
1 1/3 cups agave nectar, maple syrup and honey (equal amounts of each – or just one is also fine!)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup mashed avocado (about 1 medium avocado)
1 cup water
2 T white vinegar
2 t vanilla
Mix together all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine all of the wet ingredients and whisk together on medium speed until smooth. Add in the dry ingredients and mix until smooth. Pour equal amounts of batter into the two prepared cake pans and smooth out with a spatula. Bake at 350ºF for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick in center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, and then slide a knife along the edges to loosen. Invert the bottom layer onto a cake plate. Spread with ganache and then invert the second layer on top. Drizzle the rest of the ganache on top, enough so that it drips down the sides. Chill the cake so that the ganache solidifies a bit or serve immediately.
For the ganache:
about 1 1/2 cups dark chocolate, chopped
1 cup fat free milk (I used lactose free)
1/2 t vanilla
Heat the milk in a small sauce pan over medium heat until just boiling. Place the chopped chocolate into a medium bowl. Pour the hot milk over the chocolate and whisk until smooth. Add in the vanilla and stir. Allow to chill in the fridge until completely cool before drizzling over the cake. For a thicker ganache that is more spreadable, use cream in place of milk.