The origin of this cake is a peculiar one to say the least. Suffice to say it started with aubergines as I've been cooking with them a lot lately. The last time I was cutting some up I started to wonder if you could bake with them given how much water they release when baked. Surely you could make a wonderfully moist cake with them? Granted they're not sweet like bananas and can actually be bitter, although is this necessarily a bad thing? Keeping the bitterness in mind, I thought it would be great to pair them with cocoa. Inspired by Nigella Lawson's chocolate olive oil cake, I decided to develop a recipe which was also gluten and dairy free. What is a chocolate cake without icing though? I've tried avocado based icing years ago and was actually impressed with the taste and texture. Given what I was aiming to make, I thought this would be perfect for the cake.
The end result is a cake which is very fudgy, yet smooth, and not too rich or dense. I've decided to name the cake what it is, although I know some people will react negatively when presented with something so peculiar sounding. My response would be: Live a little and try it!
Hands-on Time 30 minutes (plus cooling)
Cooking Time 50 minutes
Baking Time 45 minutes
2 Aubergines, medium
100ml plus extra for greasing Olive oil
200g Caster sugar
2 Eggs, medium
200g Ground almonds
50g plus 2 tbsp Cocoa powder
1/8 tsp plus a pinch Fine salt
1 Avocado, ripe
Up to 100g Icing sugar
Handful pistachios (shelled and chopped) - optional
20cm Cake tin (springform or fixed bottom)
Freestanding mixer or mixing bowl and electric whisk
Preheat the oven to 170°C/150°C (Fan)/325°F/Gas mark 3.
Prick the aubergines all over using a fork, and place onto the roasting tray.
Bake in the oven for 50 minutes.
When the time is up allow them to rest until they are cool enough to handle.
In the meantime cut a disc and strips of baking parchment for lining the sides and bottom of the cake tin.
Grease the tin with olive oil before lining.
When the aubergines have cooled remove the purple skin, you may need a knife to do this. Give them a gentle wring to squeeze out some water, like you would wring a towel.
Add all of the flesh to the food processor. There should be approx 250g. It doesn’t matter if there’s a bit less than this.
Blend for 30 seconds.
Add the 100ml of olive oil and blend for a further 30 seconds, followed by the sugar, and then the eggs, blending each time.
Finally add the almonds and 50g of the cocoa, and the 1/8 teaspoon of salt, and blend again.
Scrape the bowl around the sides using the spatula before giving the mix one final pulse.
Pour into the cake tin, scraping the bowl clean using the spatula.
Tap the tin a couple of times on the worktop to ensure the mixture is level.
Bake on a middle shelf in the oven for 45 minutes. A tester should come out clean if you want to be sure it's baked.
When the cake has finished baking, allow the tin to stand on a wire rack for at least 15 minutes to cool.
Place your hand over the cake and flip over so it comes out of the tin. Remove the parchment from the bottom and sides and place back onto the wire rack, right-way up.
Allow the cake to come fully to room temperature.
For the icing halve, remove the stone, and scoop the flesh of the avocado into a clean mixing bowl, ensuring you weigh it (make a note of this).
Beat the avocado for a minute until creamy using a clean electric whisk.
Add 2 tablespoons of cocoa, a pinch of salt, and half of the avocado’s weight in icing sugar (you don’t have to be exact to the nearest gram). Carefully beat until you have a smooth chocolate fudgy icing.
Spread the icing over the top of the cake.
Scatter with chopped pistachios, if you wish.