Okay, this is the last of the dishes I brought to C’s going away party: Pumpkin spice cake with caramel sauce, using avocado to replace the oil in the cake. I was a little nervous because it was my first time adding avocado to cake, but I’ve heard of it before and was sure it would work…pretty sure.
All my ingredients. This is yet another variation on my basic cupcake recipe – it’s such a great recipe, you can pretty much use it as a base for a million different flavors of cake!
I mashed up the two medium sized avocados. If you don’t mind, let me go a little off topic here: Every so often, I get these avocados with weird “strings” in them. It really grosses me out!!! After I mash the avocados, I have to go through and try to pick out all the stringy stuff. It’s not *so* bad if you accidentally eat it, but pulp in orange juice makes me sick, so you can imagine what these weird stringy things in avocado do for me…. Anyway. They were in one of the avocados I used for the cake. I did some googling and found out young, immature avocado trees may produce these fibers in their first fruits. There are other factors I cannot remember, but it doesn’t happen to all of them and the farmers have no way of knowing which avocados will have the stringy things and which won’t. So basically…there’s nothing we, the consumers, can do about it, either. They say it’s supposed to be rare, but it happens to me at least once a year. That is too much for my liking, but I can’t go without my avocados so I just deal with it! But anyway. Back to cake.
I had more than enough avocado to replace the oil (full recipe calls for 3/4 C oil). Besides what was in my bowl, I put an extra 1/4 C in the measuring cup by mistake. It made for a nice snack later.
Avocado is added to the flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg & ginger.
The original (full) recipe also calls for 2 cups of water. I replaced the water with canned pumpkin puree.
When I started mixing it, I realized the actual liquids in the cake – vinegar & vanilla – just weren’t enough to keep this from being the thickest cake batter in the world. I added some coconut milk beverage, maybe 1/4 C at most.
I used Smart Balance to grease, quite liberally, a 9×13″ cake pan. You really don’t need that much grease (sometimes I don’t even use any), but I just wanted the flavor and moisture. You could omit it if you want to have a hardcore oil-free cake : )
Spread, spread, spread…. Then bake at 350 (or 325 in a convection oven). Check often because this seemed to get done much faster than other variations of the cake.
Perfect. Now he just needs to get dressed.
Melting sugar for a caramel sauce requires a heavy, somewhat tall pot. I like to use this 1940s pressure cooker. Start with 1/2 C sugar over medium-high heat. You will need to stir constantly, and you really, REALLY need to have all your other ingredients ready! You also should be wearing an oven mitt on your stirring hand when you add those ingredients. And maybe some goggles if you want to be extra careful.
Oh. The other ingredients are 3 Tbsp margarine and 1/4 C heavy cream (I use the most fattening coconut milk I can find) – or in this case, pumpkin puree.
It will take a few minutes, but soon you’ll notice the sugar starts to feel different against your spoon. Then you’ll see it slowly start to melt. Keep stirring! And bring the sugar from the sides of the pot into the center to help it melt evenly.
After a while it begins to caramelize. Do. Not. Stop. Stirring. Even I had to put my camera down for the next couple steps so I wouldn’t mess it up, and taking the picture below almost caused me to burn the caramel. It’s that easy to burn.
Once the sugar is melted and has just, just begun to boil, add your margarine. Sugar melts at 367 degrees (F), so it is HOT. Adding the margarine will make it foam up and bubble and pop and possibly other sounds. That’s why the oven mitt is important. You have to keep stirring to melt the margarine as quickly as possible before the caramel burns. As soon as the margarine has melted, take the pot off the heat. Immediately start adding the cream/coconut milk/pumpkin puree a little at a time, still stirring quickly to incorporate.
It’s going to start to thicken up right away as it begins to cool. You might find the sugar starts to stick to your spoon and parts of your pot as thin layers of it begin to harden. Just soak the pan in very hot water as soon as you’re finished with it and it will come right off.
Now. I poked the cake all over with a fork and poured the caramel on top, then spread it around.
The cake was so dense, it didn’t soak up much of the caramel, but just enough to make the top extra moist. If you like salty and sweet, you might add a sprinkling of salt to the cake just before serving it. The End.