This recipe was not originally meant to be part of the Avocado Posts, but stranger things have happened. I have been pretty obsessed with Smitten Kitchen for a while ever since my dear friend introduced me to the blog. I became a little famous at my old job for making her s’more pie for office potlucks, but other than that I surprisingly haven’t actually made a lot of her recipes. I think I am mostly in awe of Deb’s talent and frankly, a little intimidated. This woman is crazy (in a good way). I mean, she makes her own graham crackers and marshmallows from scratch!
Anyway, another friend of mine recommended Deb’s Mom’s Apple Cake and after reading the recipe and deeming it potentially within my capabilities, I had it on the brain for quite a while.
Now, I’m really not sure why I have such an aversion to following recipes faithfully. Seriously, who I am to question the food wisdom of the original authors? I always have the best intentions. I try to make sure I have all the ingredients and tools necessary to execute the recipe. I read through all the steps so I am somewhat acquainted with what to expect. And somewhere along the way I get “kitchen brain” and start improvising. The inner chef in me starts to take over and let me tell you, this inner chef really doesn’t always know what she’s doing.
At first, the recipe modifications were relatively minor. These were simply due to the fact that I didn’t feel like making a trip to the store to buy ingredients so I had to work with what I had. I only had 5 1/2 apples in the house (the 1/2 was from an apple I had cut up the day earlier and hadn’t finished). Fine, a recipe can survive without 1/2 an apple. I didn’t have a carton of orange juice, but I did have an orange so I squeezed 1/4 of a cup of juice. It was probably better to avoid that store bought stuff anyway, right?
Next, I decided to mix brown sugar in with my apples instead of white sugar. Again, nothing groundbreaking. 5 tablespoons of brown sugar vs. 5 tablespoons of white sugar would not compromise the integrity of the recipe. In my humble opinion, brown sugar was obviously the superior choice.
Here’s where things got a little impulsive. I was all set to measure out my vegetable oil. I took the bottle out of the cupboard. I looked at the nutrition facts and was a little uncomfortable with pouring a whole cup of the stuff into my cake. I went to the refrigerator and looked at the nutrition facts on my Imperial margarine and that seemed a little better (the lesser of two evils, anyway). I put the bottle of vegetable oil away and proceeded to measure out the margarine. It just so happened that this process was occurring right next to the bowl that held the avocados. It just so happened that when my house received this plethora of avocados I had done some research on things to do with avocados. And I just so happened to remember reading something online about using avocados instead of butter. And thus, inner chef took over. I cut up an avocado, put it in my measuring cup, added margarine to make it an even cup, and threw it into the mix!
As I turned on my KitchenAid mixer (I love this thing, by the way), I started to have my doubts. Avocados don’t really melt like butter/margarine into a liquid like vegetable oil. Avocados are also green. My batter was definitely developing a green tinge. Would my cake end up being green?? But, avocados oxidize and turn brown, so it should be fine, right? At that point, I was wondering whether all my hard work was ruined by this very strange, last minute decision to throw an avocado into my cake batter. Cutting up 5 1/2 apples is really no joke. My KitchenAid was mixing away and the avocado was getting more and more incorporated into my cake batter, so there was not much I could do but try to follow the recipe faithfully from this point forward and hope it would all work out.
And thennnnnn, I realized there was a difference between a tube pan and a bundt cake pan. Whoops. I didn’t have a tube pan, so this bundt cake pan would just have to do. So much for following the recipe faithfully, eh? I put another pan underneath my bundt cake pan because I was paranoid that the cake would rise and overflow all over my oven. It didn’t, in case you were wondering.
In the end, the cake turned out beautifully! It smelled delicious! The cake parts didn’t look green or weird!!
I definitely need practice removing cakes from pans. I think I am too impatient to let the cakes cool for long enough, but I managed to put it back together and it looked…okay. I wouldn’t win any prizes for presentation, but it ended up cooling down and kind of reassembling itself into one kind of cohesive cake. Cohesive meaning I could cut it into pieces and serve actual slices, not just piles of crumbled cake and apple.
I think it’s safe to say that most of my impulsive kitchen decisions can be described with the sentence starter, “I remembered reading something online…” Thankfully, using avocado in place of vegetable oil was a success and I will definitely do it in the future. Nobody who tried the cake could guess what my secret ingredient was and they were all shocked when I revealed it. Sorry to anyone who hates the word moist, but there is no other way to describe this cake. It is moist, sweet, and really addicting. I definitely had a few, “It’s got 5 1/2 apples in it so it’s basically just fruit…” moments when I served myself a slice.
Even my boyfriend, who is the pickiest eater I have ever met in my entire life, told me it was good. Even after I told him there was avocado in it and he hates avocados. And trust me, he has no problem telling me if he doesn’t think something tastes good. This recipe goes in the victory column!
Since I didn’t have a tube cake pan, what was meant to be the top of the cake ended up being the bottom of mine. This wasn’t the end of the world, but it definitely affected the cake the next day. The moisture in the apples sunk overnight, so the bottom of the cake ended up getting syrupy, which I personally loved, and the top of the cake ended up drying out a little bit. It was still good, but I would have preferred it if my cake had a more uniform texture from top to bottom. It’s probably the perfectionist in me.
Next time I make this I will either 1) buy a tube pan or 2) put the apples down as the first layer instead of the cake batter. This way the apples will end up being the top layer and the moisture will sink down through the cake more evenly. Although, if I just arrange for the whole cake to be eaten on the first day, then there are no problems. Any takers?? 🙂
And that concludes my series of “Avocado Posts”. For now anyway. My mother’s coworker gifted us a few more avocados, so there may be more avocado recipes in the future!