Citrus, Avocado, and Olive Oil Cake – A Heart-Healthy Treat

This cake is heart-healthy!  I know what you’re thinking…how can cake be heart-healthy?  But hear me out…though this cake may have sugar and eggs, like any old cake, its two main ingredients – avocados and olive oil give this cake it’s heart-healthy antioxidants.

Introduce Citrus, Avocado and Olive Oil Cake.

Avocado is a good source of potassium, a mineral that helps regulate blood pressure and can guard against stroke.  Additionally, one cup of avocado has about 23% of the Daily Value for folate, a nutrient important for heart health.

The beneficial health effects of olive oil are due to both its high content of monounsaturated fatty acids and its high content of antioxidative substances. Studies have shown that olive oil offers protection against heart disease by controlling LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels while raising HDL (the “good” cholesterol) levels.

I was inspired to invent this cake after attending an Avocado Festival.  Everything imaginable was made with avocados there – ice cream, smoothies, ceviche, tacos, guacamole, candy, bread, etc.

So, having four avocado trees in my backyard, I have an endless bounty of this green, healthy produce, and you can only make so much guacamole.

Citrus, Avocado, and Olive Oil Cake

*1 1/3  cup flour
*1 1/2 tsp baking powder
*4 eggs
*1/2 tsp salt
*1 1/3 c sugar
*1 tsp citrus rind
*Juice of one small lime/lemon/orange
*1/3 c olive oil
*1 medium, ripe, Haas avocado, mashed

Preheat oven to 350º, grease and flour a round 10-inch cake pan or spring form pan.
Combine the flour and baking powder in a bowl.  Whisk the four eggs until frothy in another bowl.  Gradually add the sugar while whisking.  Add the salt, citrus rind, citrus juice, olive oil.
Add the liquid mixture to a well in the flour mixture.  Stir well, but gently, almost folding the egg mixture into the flour.  Finally, mix in the mashed avocado and stir until no more green pieces can be seen.
Pour into prepared pan, and bake for about an hour, or until light golden brown on top.  Let cool in pan.  Run knife around edges and invert onto wire rack.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar.  This cake can also be served with a  simple citrus glaze, but it is fantastic on its own.

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Cinnamon Apple and Blackberry Upside-Down Buttermilk Cake

The best thing about living in Costa Rica is the abundance of fruit year-round. And in this zone, more so than in other parts of Costa Rica. Apples, peaches, plums, blackberries, avocados, tomatoes – you name it, they’re almost always available.

As I was out tromping around my property this morning, I came across a previously undiscovered blackberry bush, chock full of large, plump, juicy blackberries just waiting to be picked – screaming to be picked, in fact. And so I did. The thorns poked my hands and arms as I reached in deeper to get the hidden ones, and I came away with violet-stained fingers. But I didn’t mind. It was worth it.

On the way in I quickly grabbed a few ‘limón acidas‘ or limes to garnish a salad.

Earlier that morning I passed by my neighbors’ house who own Las Manzanas Cabins to purchase a bag of organic apples, some avocados, and some anonas all for only two dollars.

Upon returning home, it wasn’t too long before I was enjoying this cinnamon apple and blackberry upside down buttermilk cake.

Pure goodness with fresh, local ingredients.

Happy 2010 to you all! May many healthy meals come your way!

Cinnamon Apple and Blackberry Upside Down Cake

* 1 cup fresh blackberries
* 2-3 small apples, thinly sliced
* 1/2 cup sugar
* 1 1/2 tablespoons of sugar and cinnamon mixture
* 1 cup all-purpose flour
* 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
* 1 large egg
* 1 teaspoon vanilla
* 1/2 cup well-shaken buttermilk

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Line bottom of a buttered 8- by 2-inch round cake pan with 2 rounds of parchment paper, then butter parchment. Dust pan with some flour, knocking out excess.

Arrange blackberries and apples in 1 layer in cake pan. Sprinkle fruit with 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar/cinnamon mixture and shake pan to help distribute sugar.

Whisk together 1 cup flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Beat together butter and remaining 1/2 cup sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add egg and vanilla and mix at low speed until just incorporated. Alternately add flour mixture and buttermilk in 3 batches, mixing at low speed until just incorporated.

Spoon batter evenly over berries, smoothing top, and bake in middle of oven until top is golden and a tester comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes.

Run a thin knife around edge of pan, then invert a large plate over pan and, using pot holders to hold plate and pan together tightly, flip cake onto plate. Peel off parchment and serve cake warm and/or with ice cream.