Avocado Oil, Lime, and Almond Cake (Dairy-free)

Apologies for the length of time since my last post, but I promise this recipe will not disappoint.   A number of you might be thinking “what, avocado OIL?”…yes, avocado oil. I have eyed it in the grocery store for awhile now, and I finally got around to purchasing a bottle.  The brand I bought is La Tourangelle, a California producer of specialty oils, including various nut and seed oils.

I’ve wanted to bake with avocado oil as it is heart-healthy and I was curious as to what I could come up with.  In addition to being high in monounsaturated fats, which can help reduce cholesterol levels, avocados contain polyunsaturated fats, vitamins C, E, K, and various B vitamins (including B-6, folate, niacin, and riboflavin), as well potassium, magnesium, and lutein, an antioxidant which is good for your eyes and skin.  Avocados are one of the few fruits that contains healthy fats. In case you’re curious, grapeseed oil and olive oil are other oils derived from fruits that contain healthy fats.

That’s enough science…let’s get to the cake.

When I think about avocados, limes also come to mind.  The creamy, sweet richness of the avocado pairs very well with the tartness of the lime. (I guess my mind might also go to chips, salsa, and a margarita, but that’s a recipe perhaps for another time!).  I knew I wanted to incorporate heart-healthy almonds in this recipe as well, and have done so by incorporating almond meal into the batter as well as decorating the top of the finished cake with sliced almonds.   The result is a super moist cake…not too sweet, not too tart.

I must disclose that when I first came up with this idea, I searched through my cookbooks and the internet to see what else was out there.  Could not find anything in any of my cookbooks and only one recipe on the internet in a blog called alice in bakingland (cute) provided by a self-proclaimed “stay-at-home mum” from New Zealand who was a contestant on a reality show called “Chelsea New Zealand Hottest Home Baker”, and who incorporates lime-infused avocado oil into her lovely looking bundt cake.

And finally, onto the recipe…

Avocado Oil, Lime, and Almond Cake (Dairy-free)(serves 8-10)


  • 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour (2-7/8 oz, 81 grams) (If you prefer to use regular pastry flour or even all-purpose flour, that is fine.)
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup blanched almond meal (3 oz, 84 grams)
  • 1 cup superfine (caster) sugar (6-3/4 oz, 190 grams) (If you do not have this, put granulated sugar in a food processor and pulse for a few seconds)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs (separated)***
  • 1/2 cup avocado oil (4 fluid oz, 120 ml)
  • Zest of two medium limes
  • Juice of two medium limes [the limes I used yielded 3-1/2 TBL; if your limes are larger or yield more juice, do not use more than 1/4 cup (2 fluid oz, 59 ml)]
Topping (glaze and almonds):
  • Juice of half medium lime (keep the other half; you made need it)
  • 5 TBL confectioner’s (powdered) sugar  (have a little extra on hand)
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds (1 oz, 28 grams)
Preheat oven to 325°F (162°C, Gas Mark 3).  Grease a 8″ or 9″ (22 cm or 23 cm ) springform pan and set aside.  If you are keeping the recipe dairy-free, do not use butter. I used spray canola oil, but you can use regular canola oil, sunflower, or grape seed oil, for example.

Prepare the cake:

Dry ingredients: Sift the whole wheat pastry flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium-sized bowl. Just to give you an idea, the bowl I use is 3 quarts (a little less than 3 liters.  Sift the almond meal into the same bowl (sifting helps get rid of any clumps in the meal). Mix the flour mixture and almond meal together with a whisk or fork.  Set aside.

Wet ingredients – part 1
: In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the egg yolks and sugar and beat on medium speed until pale and fluffy, approximately 3-4 minutes.  If you do not have a stand mixer, you may use an electric hand mixer.  Add the vanilla and lime juice and continue to beat for 2-3 minutes until well-incorporated.  Slowly add the avocado oil, beating well.  This step should take 2-3 minutes.  Lastly, add the lime zest and mix for a few seconds until the zest is blended throughout.

Wet ingredients – part 2
: If you are using a stand mixer and have only one bowl (as I do), transfer the egg yolk/sugar/avocado oil/lime mixture into another bowl and set aside. Wash the bowl to the stand mixture and dry well.  If you are using a hand mixer, you may leave the mixture in the bowl you have been using, but you’ll need to get another medium-large bowl for the egg whites.  Add the egg whites to the new bowl (make sure it is dry), and whip using the whisk attachment, starting on low-medium speed and working up to medium-high speed until soft peaks form.  Beat a few more seconds to make the peaks a bit firmer than soft.

Putting it all together
: using a rubber or silicone spatula, fold the egg yolk mixture into the dry ingredients until none of the dry mixture remains dry.  Fold in 1/3rd of the egg whites, being careful not to over mix.  Add another third of the egg whites and fold in. Finish by folding in the last third.  At this point, no ribbons or spots of egg whites should show.

Baking the cake and preparing the sliced almonds
: Add the cake batter to the prepared pan and bake for 35 minutes, or until the edges of the cake are golden brown, some areas of the top of the cake are lightly golden brown, and a cake tester comes out clean when inserted into the center of the cake.  Put the pan on on a wire rack and let cool 10 minutes.   Topping: If your oven stays hot for awhile (even when turned off), turn off the oven and place the sliced almonds for the top of the cake in a cast iron pan or on a cookie sheet or other baking pan and let toast for 10 minutes in the hot oven until just barely toasted, but not browned.  If you decide to leave the oven on, you’ll only need about 5 minutes.  Watch them carefully for if the oven is still on, they can easily go from toasted to burnt very quickly.

Using an offset spatula, or another tool that is thin and flat and does not have jagged edges, go around the outside of the cake and make sure none of the cake is sticking to the edge of the pan. Remove the outer ring from the springform pan base and let the cake continue to cool on the wire rack.

Glaze:  Put the lime juice from half a lime in a small bowl.  Over the bowl of lime juice, using a mesh sieve, sift 2 TBLs of confectioner’s sugar through the sieve to make sure there are no lumps of sugar (you might need to use the back of a spoon to help press it through the sieve).  Stir the sugar into the juice.  You want a pourable, green and slightly murky glaze.  Taste it.  if it taste too tart, add more sugar.  if it tastes too sweet or is too thick, just add more lime juice.  I ended up using 4 TBL and a little extra lime juice.  When the glaze is to your liking, spoon it slowly over the cooled cake.  Spread the glaze over the cake using the back of a tablespoon or pastry brush. With your hands, place the toasted almonds over the cake and gently the almonds onto the glaze (which acts as a glue).  Lastly, using the sieve, dust the top of the cake with another tablespoon of confectioner’s sugar.

Pretty, delicious, sweet but not too sweet, tart, but too tart, moist, a nice crumb.  For my taste buds, the combination of avocado oil and lime and the moistness of the cake, reminded me of meyer lemon bars, which is a very good thing indeed.

This cake will keep for at least several days.  I suggest refrigerating it if not eating it right away, but letting it get to room temperature before serving.  If you do this, you might want to sift some additional confectioner’s sugar over the cake just before serving as some of it will have been absorbed into the cake.  Freezes well.

***Separating eggs: always a good idea to have three small bowls on hand: one for the white from the first egg, one for the yolks, and one for the whites for the remaining eggs.   If you only use two bowls, you run the risk of contaminating all of your egg whites with egg yolk should any one of your eggs not separate properly.  Here’s the method: separate the first egg, putting the yolk in one bowl and the white in another bowl.  Be careful not to get any yolk in the white or your egg whites will not whip up properly.   IF there is any yolk in the white, either remove the particles of yolk completely, or if you cannot, toss the egg white and start again with a new egg (remembering you do not need the extra yolk). , For the second egg, put the white in the third not-yet-used bowl, and the yolk in the bowl that already has a yolk in it.  IF there is any yolk in the second bowl of egg whites, as for the first egg, either remove the particles of yolk or toss the egg white and try again with a new egg. If you are sure that your second egg white is yolk-free, add this egg white to the first egg white bowl. Repeat with the third egg, using the now empty third bowl to receive the white.


Eggplant with fresh mint

I’m still in the mindset of “it’s too hot to turn on the oven, but I want to eat something delicious”, so once again inspired by my farmer’s market finds, I offer you this simple, quick, but flavorful dish.  Aside from a little oil for the pan, just two ingredients: eggplant and mint.  That’s it.

Eggplant: I was lucky enough to find some beautiful, baby eggplant, but I realize it is not common to find them.  I suggest you use the smallest, skinniest eggplant you can find – the seeds will be smaller and the flesh will be far less bitter than the large globe eggplant most commonly  found.  My preference is Japanese eggplant, but Chinese eggplant are a good option as well.

Mint: please do not make this dish unless you can find fresh mint….dried mint will not do it justice.

Quantities: it depends upon the number of people you will be serving.  I used one pound (450 grams) of eggplant and about 10 mint leaves, and ended up with 2 cups (1 pint, 475 ml) of the cooked dish, good enough for a side dish for 2-3 people.  If you are cooking for more people, please adjustment amounts accordingly…using the amount of mint you want to meet your taste preferences.

  • Slice the eggplant into 1/8″-1/4″ (.32 – .64 cm) rounds and set aside.
  • Grease a cast iron griddle pan or skillet with a thin layer of spray oil or bottled oil (I used canola for it can handle high heat and has a neutral flavor), and place over medium heat.  if you do not have a cast iron griddle pan or skillet, use a heavy-weight pan with a large surface area.  Note: depending upon the amount of eggplant you are using, you might need to cook the eggplant in more two (or more) batches.
  • Place each slice of eggplant flat on the heated pan/skillet.
  • While the eggplant is cooking, separate the mint leaves from the stems and discard the stems.  Coarsely chop the leaves and set aside.
  • When the underside of each slice is golden brown, using tongs, flip each slice over to cook the other side.  Depending upon the thickness of your slices and how hot your pan is, you’ll probably need about 5 minutes per side, but best to check after 3 minutes.  If your pan gets too hot, turn it down a little. (Do not worry if some pieces are dark brown…will give character and texture to the dish.)
  • When both sides are golden brown, remove the eggplant and put in a glass or ceramic bowl.  Add the mint leaves and toss with a spoon.  Best if served right away, but can be eaten later as well.  If you wish, season with black pepper.  What you’ll notice is that the natural sweetness of the eggplant comes out due to the slight caramelization that takes place in the cooking process.


Strawberry Rhubarb Compote

When it’s super hot out, as it has been recently, my desire to cook does not wane, but the thought of having my oven on is not exactly at the top of my list of must-do’s.  It’s days like these when I want to create something that is simple to prepare and no oven is required.

At my local farmer’s market, I recently came upon the most gorgeous strawberries and rhubarb and was inspired to make some compote.  If you’ve never had compote, it’s basically stewed fruit, left either whole or puréed.   I prefer compote that does not have large pieces in it for it can then be used as a sauce for ice cream, or swirled into yogurt, or used in place of jam.

You’ll notice that I only used one tablespoon of sugar in this recipe as the strawberries I found were already very sweet.  If the strawberries you buy are not very sweet, and/or you prefer your compote to be sweeter, feel free to add more sugar, but I suggest doing so only a little at a time, and taste after each addition.


Strawberry Rhubarb Compote (makes 2 cups, 500 ml)

  • 1 quart strawberries  (4 cups, 1 liter)
  • 2/3 lb rhubarb (10 oz, 300 g)
  • 1 TBL granulated sugar, or more to taste

Prepare the fruit: Trim the ends of the rhubarb and cut the remaining stalks into 1/2″-3/4″ (1.25 cm – 1.9 cm) pieces.  Remove the stems from the strawberries.  If the berries are large, cut them in half, otherwise leave them whole.

Add the rhubarb to a small sauce pan set over low-medium heat and add enough water so that the water level is just below the top of the fruit.

Cook until the rhubarb starts to breakdown, stirring occassionally, then add the strawberries.

Continue to cook until the strawberries have broken down, and the mixture looks like a purée.  Add sugar to taste, reduce the heat to low, and continue to cook the compote until it reaches the thickness you desire.

The time will depend upon the water content of the fruit and how high you have your burner on.  For me, the entire cooking process took 50 minutes.  Remove the saucepan from the hot burner and let the compote cool.

When cool, transfer the compote to a 2 cup (500 ml) jar or divide into smaller jars and give some as gifts.   Refrigerate.  Best eaten within one week.  Delicious stirred into plain Greek yogurt or ricotta cheese, spooned over vanilla, strawberry, or peach ice cream, or spread onto a slice of a lightly toasted country bread.