It looks and tastes like any birthday cake you’d pick up from your local bakery: thick swirls of chocolate buttercream enveloping layers of fluffy cake. The recipe, however, is anything but typical. That buttercream? It gets its silky texture from fresh avocados, not butter. The cake is also completely vegan, relying on apple cider vinegar and baking soda to rise. Wait to reveal those secrets after your guests have taken their first bite—they won’t be able to believe it.
Yield: 1 cake
Active Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour and 30 minutes
For the cake:
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups unbleached sugar
6 heaping tablespoons cacao powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup coconut oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup brewed coffee
1 1/2 cups cold water
Make the cake
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease two 9-inch round cake pans with nonstick spray.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cacao powder, baking soda, and salt. Make three wells in the mixture and pour coconut oil into one, vinegar into another, and vanilla into the third. Pour coffee and water over everything and mix until just combined.
Divide the batter between prepared cake pans and bake in oven until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 35 to 45 minutes. Let cool in pan.
Make the frosting
When cakes feel cool to the touch, scoop out the flesh of the avocados and place them in a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Pulse until creamy, then add maple syrup, cacao, vanilla, salt, and coconut oil. Process until well combined.
Frost the cake
Remove the cooled cakes from their tins and place one of the layers, flat side up, on a flat plate or cake stand. Frost the top with a knife or offset spatula. Place the second layer on top, rounded side up, and spread the frosting evenly over the top and sides of the cake.
Photo credit: Paul Delmont
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