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Adding avocado meat to a dessert may seem counterintuitive because of the fruit’s popular association with savory dishes, but the creamy, fatty flesh can actually serve a beneficial purpose in cake batters. Avocado cake is popular among vegans since the recipes usually replace butter or margarine with avocado flesh, thus eliminating animal products while maintaining fat and richness. Non-vegan versions of avocado cake recipes certainly exist, however, and simply take advantage of the heart-healthy ingredient and unique flavor. Some recipes subtly celebrate the flavor of the avocado, while others are able to hide its presence by masking the taste with other flavors.
Avocados are technically a fruit even though they are not sweet and are generally used in main courses or side dishes rather than desserts. The flesh of a ripe avocado is creamy and smooth, and when mashed or whipped in a food processor, incorporates easily into cake batters. Since the fruit is rich and fatty, and even sometimes described as “buttery,” it makes an ideal substitution for butter or margarine. Doing so can potentially make an avocado cake a vegan option or simply a healthier choice than a traditional cake batter.
Although avocados are quite caloric and contain a lot of fat, the fat comes in the form of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Besides being healthy, these fats contribute to the texture of an avocado cake by making it rich, moist, and dense. Avocados also boast a range of vitamins such as K, C, and E, potassium, and fiber, all of which add a few more nutritional elements to avocado cake. Of course, avocado cake usually still contains sugar and is definitely a dessert so it is generally not a low-calorie food, but swapping out butter for avocado is a good start in making cake a healthier option.
Some avocado cake recipes embrace the unique flavor of the fruit, and complement the taste with ingredients such as citrus. People who are not fond of avocado flavor or who simply wish to remain more truthful to the concept of a sweet dessert, however, will find it possible to mask the avocado flavor with stronger ingredients. Adding cocoa powder or melted chocolate to the batter to make a chocolate avocado cake is a good way to hide the avocado flavor and create a less exotic-tasting treat that still maintains the health benefits and richness of avocado flesh. To really punch up the avocado flavor the cake can be topped with an avocado-based icing, or conversely the taste can be played down with a sweet, bold icing that does not include any avocado.