As I’m writing this post I’m sitting by the beach in Dubai enjoying the sun and the late afternoon breeze coming from the sea. I’m in Dubai for a gastronomy tour organised by the tourism board as part of Dubai Food Festival and restaurant week. I’m having an amazing time discovering the emirati food and culture and I can’t wait to share all my photos and thoughts with you. But first I am going to share a recipe I made at home before my trip: a light chocolate cake with yoghurt and avocado.
Knowing I was going to spend a week eating out in Dubai (followed by another food tour of Tel Aviv next week!), I sensibly spent the previous three weeks following a low calorie diet. Cutting down on sugar and fats for a short while really helped me getting energies back and feeling good about myself.
I love baking tough and I didn’t want to stop just because I was controlling my diet. I was eating everything, just in moderation and keeping track of my daily calorie intake. I wanted to bake a cake to eat at breakfast or as an afternoon snack with a cup of coffee. To keep the calories low I replaced the vegetable oil of the original recipe with one medium avocado. If you have a ripe avocado at home you are not going to eat, bake this cake! ;)
The inspiration for this cake comes from ciambellone, a traditional Italian sponge cake with yoghurt and oil which all kids in Italy eat for merenda (afternoon snack).
I have fond memories of eating ciambellone at home and helping my mum baking it. She would make it plain, with chocolate, or marbled, as I made it here. She also used empty yoghurt cups instead of a scale to measure the ingredients, and I remember once I tried to bake the cake by myself, but lost count of the cups and added something like ten cups of oil in the batter. I was mortified! Luckily though my first ever #bakingfail did not put me off baking forever.
The result is a dense cake, perfect for dipping in a cup of caffellatte for breakfast.
Recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen.
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Lightly grease a bundt cake tin and dust with flour.
Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over simmering water. Once melted and smooth, remove from the heat.
Blitz the avocado in a food processor. Add it to a large bowl together with the yoghurt, sugar, eggs, avocado and vanilla extract. Mix well using an electric whisk.
In another bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt. Pour the yogurt mixture into the flour mixture and stir lightly a couple times.
If you want to make a marble cake like I did, now you need to divide the batter into two bowls and add the melted chocolate to one of them.
Pour the two batters into the cake tin, starting with a bit of plain mix, then the chocolate mix, then the plain, then the chocolate again, and so on. Bake for around 45 minutes (keep an eye out to the oven as baking times may vary).
Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack. Dust with icing sugar right before serving.
Store in an airtight container.