When you are reading this, I will be on a train heading up to Chicago for the DePaul University School of Hospitality Leadership Career Fair. It’s this giant job fair filled with businesses in the industry, ranging from restaurant management companies to hotels and country clubs. I’m excited to get my foot in the door and start networking. Along with promoting my personal brand, I will also be promoting TermiNatetor Kitchen and all the photography, videography, and blogging services I offer. Hopefully, I can find a job (and potentially gain a new client or two!). After the job fair, I’m spending the rest of today and all day tomorrow with my cousin Miss J! I am very excited to eat my way through the city this weekend. Have any recommendations where we should go? Plus, I’m taking Stella (my camera, my pride, and joy) along for the weekend. Hoping to get some cool photos and video shots to turn into a vlog.
Photo by Jason Howell
Last weekend, I had a friend and fellow EIU photographer Jason over to my home studio for an afternoon of photographing and cake devouring. It’s always so much fun being able to invite a fellow creative into my home and show him how I work through my creative processes. He also helped me on an upcoming project that I am announcing on Monday! So, keep your eyes open for that blog post!
Let’s talk about this cake. Hint, hint: It’s both amazing and vegan! When developing ideas for my secret project, I stumbled across Joy’s recipe for the chocolate avocado cake. I was both skeptical and intrigued. I knew I needed to dabble in this mystery cake. What I got was a super moist and incredibly flavorful piece of cake! The avocado flavor completely dissolves and you can’t even taste it. So, cool! All you are left with is this luxurious rich piece of cake. The bitter-sweetness from the dark chocolate mixes beautifully with the tart citrus flavor from the blackberry syrup. Then sealing in all those beautiful flavors with the silky smooth Swiss meringue rose water buttercream, you have before you a killer-diller cake. This cake is the ideal first cake of spring. The flavors are fresh and earthy, with the floral notes of the rose water just slightly tickling its way through. Excuse me while I get myself another slice.
Photo by Jason Howell
Blackberry Dark Chocolate Avocado Cake with a Swiss Meringue Rose Water Buttercream
Original cake recipe adapted from Joy the Baker
Original blackberry syrup recipe from Food & Wine
Original buttercream recipe adapted from The Pioneer Women
For the cake
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup coconut flour
6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup soft avocado, well mashed, about 1 medium avocado
2 cups almond milk
2 tablespoons white vinegar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
For the blackberry syrup
3/4 cup orange juice
2 ½ teaspoons cornstarch
12 oz. fresh or frozen blackberries
½ cup granulated sugar
Pinch cinnamon, ground cloves, and nutmeg
For the milk wash
¼ cup almond milk + 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the buttercream
4 egg whites
1 ½ cup granulated sugar
1 ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature and cut into tablespoons
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon rose water
Pinch fine sea salt
For the cake. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease and flour three 9-inch round cake pans. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, mix together the flours, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder, and baking soda and set aside. In a large stand mixer with the paddle attachment or with a hand mixer, mix together the vegetable oil, mashed avocado, almond milk, vinegar, and vanilla until well combined. Toss in the sugar and mix until well blended. Mix the dry ingredients in with the wet ingredients and mix together until smooth and well incorporated.
Transfer the batter evenly into the prepared cake pans. Bake for 25-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then turn them out to cool on wire racks. Wait until the cakes are completely cooled before assembling.
For the blackberry syrup. In a small bowl, combine the 2 tablespoons of the orange juice with the cornstarch and set aside. In a small saucepan, add the blackberries, sugar, the remaining orange juice, and the cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. Bring this mixture to a simmer over low heat and continue simmering 1 minute. Stir the cornstarch mixture and add it to the mixture. Simmer, stirring, until thickened, about 3 minutes. Pour mixture through a fine mesh strainer. Transfer the syrup to an airtight container and save the blackberries for assembling the cake.
For the buttercream. In the metal bowl of stand mixer, add in the egg whites and sugar. Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water, making sure it is not touching the water. Whisk or stir constantly until the sugar is dissolved and mixture comes to approximately 160ºF on a candy thermometer.
Immediately place the bowl in the stand mixer and whip on high using the whisk attachment until frosting has become thick and glossy, forming a stiff peak. Continue to whip frosting until the bowl feels room temperature to the touch, a total of about 10 minutes. With the mixer on low, drop in the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until smooth after each addition. Once all of the butter has been incorporated, mix in the vanilla rose water, and pinch of salt. If needed, continue beating until smooth.
Assembly. Place one cake onto your cake stand or plate. In a small bowl, combine the milk and vanilla. With a pastry brush, gently brush some of the mixtures over the layer of cake. Evenly spread some of the buttercream on top. Toss a handful of the blackberries on top, arranging them in a single layer. Drizzle a few tablespoons of the blackberry syrup over the buttercream. Repeat this process, carefully placing the other cake layers on top of each other until the cake is assembled. Place naked cake in the freezer for 10-15 minutes, or until the cake is chilled. Remove from the freezer and ice the cake with the remaining buttercream. Transfer to a refrigerator to set for an hour. Garnish with remaining blackberries.