Once upon a time, a nice girl (or boy) could not go to the market and purchase an avocado without risk of ruining her (his) reputation. Avocados, it seems, were the culinary equivalent of items more typically purchased in drugstores, with much brow-beating and little eye contact. Back in the day, if you were after avocados, you were planning on making whoopee ~ not guacamole.
Simply put, Avocados were a forbidden fruit because way, way back when, the Aztecs thought they were nature’s answer to Viagra. On what did they base this? Let’s just say that the Aztec name for avocado is ahuacuatl because the fruit on the tree grow low and hang in pairs, and they’re shaped just like….
Anyway, avocados were considered to have such potent aphrodisiac powers that maidens were kept under lock and key during key harvest times.
Then in the 1920s, American avocado growers decided to get proactive about cleaning the naughty image of their fruit. To that end, an advertising campaign was launched declaring that avocados were not, in fact, aphrodisiac. Anatomical resemblances aside, sometimes a fruit is just a fruit ~ a yummy, buttery, wholesome fruit that would never dream of inflaming sexual appetites or endangering the virtue of maidens.
Happily, the advertising campaign was a success! Now the avocado was safe for consumption by good girls and nice boys, and the “alligator pear” ~ a much cuter nickname than “testicle fruit” ~ began its rise to Status: Inoffensive!
And that’s why, today, we do not have to buy our avocados online or in windowless stores that feature private viewing booths. We can boldly walk right into our supermarkets and walk out with an armload and, I assure you, no one but no one will suspect we have plans to get lucky.
Which is a little bit ironic if you’re buying avocados to make this cake. Because in that case, you’ll be feeling pretty lucky to be enjoying a piece or few of this incredibly luscious, intriguingly flavored, pale green pound cake. Who knows? After all, the Aztecs were a pretty populous bunch before they made some very bad choices in the making-new-friends department.
Avocado Cake with Lime Browned Butter Icing
The avocado in this delicate pound cake is present but subtle ~ don’t be afraid to try it, even if you’re not a tremendous fan of the flavor of avocados. It’s really very delicate.
- 6 ounces (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 3 cups granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup finely ground cornmeal
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 cup buttermilk, room temperature
- 2 very ripe Haas avocados, peeled, pitted, and mashed (about 1 1/2 cups)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F; grease two 81/2 x 41/2 loaf pans. If your pans are not nonstick or well seasoned, you might want to flour them as well.
- Cream butter and sugar on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Add mashed avocado and continue beating until incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Add eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Add vanilla extract and beat to combine.
- Whisk together flour, cornmeal, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Turn mixer down to low and add half of the dry ingredients. Add the buttermilk, then add the remaining flour mixture. Mix on low just until ingredients are incorporated. Use a spatula to scrape down the bowl.
- Divide the batter between the loaf pans and bake at 350 degrees F for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center of loaf comes out clean. If loaves are browning too quickly, cover lightly with a piece of foil.
- Let loaves cool on rack in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto rack to cool completely. Glaze with Lime Browned Butter Icing (recipe follows) if desired.
Lime Browned Butter Icing
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- 11/2 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
- Zest of 1 lime
- Juice of 1/2 lime
- 1/4 teaspoon lime oil
- Cook butter in a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat until golden brown (about 5 mins); remove from heat and let cool to lukewarm.
- Whisk together confectioner’s sugar, lime zest, lime juice, and lime oil. Gradually pour in browned butter while whisking. Adjust texture of icing, if necessary, by adding additional confectioner’s sugar 1 tablespoon at a time until a thick glaze consistency is reached.
- Use an offset spatula to apply glaze to cooled avocado cake; let set for 30 mins, then slice and serve.