Dessert — Vegan Avocado Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Ganache

We made this for our daughter's birthday cake in 2013. It was a huge success!

A moist, vegan chocolate cake made with Avocado.
Author: Monique of

Serves: 12

Ingredients for the Cake:

  • 3 oz good-quality vegan Chocolate (I used regular dark chocolate, Dorothy)
  • 2/3 cup freshly brewed Coffee
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose Flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated Sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed Dark Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 cup Canola oil
  • 1/2 large very ripe Avocado, mashed (I used a whole avocado, Dorothy)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • 3/4 cup Unsweetened soy, coconut, or almond Milk (I used regular lowfat milk, Dorothy)
  • 1/2 cup vegan Chocolate Chips (I used regular chocolate chips, Dorothy)
  • Canola Oil and extra flour to prepare the pan

Ingredients for the vegan Ganache:

  • 8 oz vegan Chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 cup Coconut Milk (lite or full-fat), plus more if necessary

Instructions for Cake:

  1. Oil and flour a 12-cup bundt cake pan with Canola oil.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, (180 degrees C).
  3. Place a small saucepan over low heat and add 3 oz of good-quality vegan chocolate and freshly brewed coffee. Whisk until chocolate is completely melted, then remove from heat and set aside to cool.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, both sugars, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
  5. In a separate large bowl, beat together mashed avocado, oil, and vanilla extract until smooth.
  6. Whisk in cooled chocolate and your milk of choice.
  7. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
  8. Gently fold in 1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips. Your cake batter should be pretty thick. If it’s too thick, add in an extra tablespoon or two of milk.
  9. Pour batter into prepared bundt pan and smooth the top.
  10. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until tester inserted into center of cake comes out almost clean, with just a few crumbs attached.
  11. Let cool in pan for an hour on a wire rack before turning the cake over and transferring to wire rack to finish cooling completely.

Instructions for vegan chocolate ganache:

  1. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, add coconut milk and chopped chocolate.
  2. Watch carefully and whisk until chocolate is completely melted. If you want a thinner ganache, add more coconut milk.
  3. Let stand for a few minutes then immediately spoon ganache over the cake.
  4. Top ganache with sprinkles, more chocolate chips, nuts, or another topping of choice.
  5. Serve immediately!



Dessert — PAVLOVA (Hazelnut Gateau)

Compliments of the White Morph Hotel and Restaurant in Kaikoura, New Zealand, in approximately 1997. (The White Morf is a form of the Southern giant petrel bird.)

As uninitiated New Zealand citizens, touring the country, we stayed one night while on the South Island, in the White Morph Hotel, within sight of the amazing Kaikoura mountain range. A resident pod of Sperm Whales can be viewed from boats year-round. At the White Morf, we ordered our first ever Pavlova. It was exquisitely delicious, so I boldly asked the chef, Judy, for the recipe. This is the recipe as she hand wrote it for me on hotel stationery. The kindness of Kiwis has always impressed us.

Ingredients for the Gateau:

  • 1-1/4 cups Egg whites
  • 1-1/4 cups granulated Sugar
  • 1 pinch of Baking Powder
  • 1 pinch of Cream of Tartar
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 tsp white Vinegar
  • 1 tsp Cornflour
  • Hazelnuts, chopped

Ingredients for Decoration:

  • Dark Chocolate
  • Whipped Cream
  • Fresh Fruit, cut into chunks
  • Vanilla Ice Cream (optional)

Instructions for Making the Gateau:

  1. Beat Egg whites together with the Baking Powder and Cream of Tartar until light and stiff.
  2. Slowly beat in the Sugar, a Tablespoon at a time.
  3. When firm peaks form, beat in the Vanilla, Vinegar and Cornflour.
  4. Shape the mixture into two rounds on greaseproof paper on baking trays.
  5. Sprinkle a layer of chopped Hazelnuts onto each round and smooth over the top with a spatula.
  6. Preheat oven to 200° C (400° F).
  7. Put pans in the oven and turn the oven OFF.
  8. After 1-1/2 hours, the Pavlovas will be cooked. Judy leaves them in the oven overnight.
  9. Cool the cakes and turn them over onto two plates.
  10. Melt the Dark Chocolate and spread onto the cakes.

Decorate immediately before serving:

  1. Slice any fruit of choice onto the chocolate side of one of the cakes, and cover with 1 inch Whipped Cream.
  2. Place the other cake, Chocolate side down, on top of the Whipped Cream.
  3. Decorate the top of the cake with Whipped Cream and more Fresh Fruit.
  4. Serve with a scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream if you wish.

This is a Kiwi favorite recipe. However, the Aussies claim it as well.



Dessert — Eva’s Proportional Pastry for Pie Crust

When Eva Menuhin was aboard ADAGIO with us, sailing from New Caledonia to New Zealand in 2012, we really cooked up a storm. Her skills and precision were a joy to behold, as they confirm my belief in careful weights, measures and proportions. She has kindly contributed this recipe.


  • 3 parts flour
  • 2 parts butter
  • 1 part water (or less if you are using American butter)*
  • Salt

For a 1 crust pie, I use:

  • 300g. flour
  • 200g. cold butter
  • 100g. cold water (or less if you are using American butter)*
  • 1 scant tsp salt

For a 2 crust pie (top & bottom crust) I use 400g. flour and modify the other ingredients proportionally.


  1. Put Flour into a mixing bowl, stir in salt, grate in butter using the coarsest grater.

  2. Rub together with your fingertips until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs.

  3. Sprinkle in water and mix with a fork until the mixture comes together. Form into a loose ball with your fingertips, flatten slightly, put into the fridge for about 15 minutes.

  4. Roll out on floured surface (I use floured non-stick parchment) to a thickness of about 3mm/1/8th inch. If making a 2-crust pie, use 2/3 of the dough for the bottom crust and 1/3 for the top crust, rolling them out separately.

  5. Line a 20cm/8-9 inch pie dish with the dough. Cover with cling film and chill for 30 minutes. Roll out top crust and put in fridge too.

  6. Remove from fridge and add your filling. Cover with the chilled top crust if you’re using one.

  7. Bake as per your pie recipe.

This crust works beautifully for tarts and quiche too, but must be pre-baked as follows:

  1. Put rolled out dough into a tart/quiche tin. Cover with cling film and refrigerate as above.

  2. Line the pastry with greaseproof paper and fill with baking weights/lentils/beans.

  3. Bake at 200 C. for 15 minutes, then remove paper and weights and bake for another 5-10 minutes until the base is pale golden and remove from the oven.

  4. It might puff up. Prick with a fork if it does.

  5. Fill and bake as per your tart/quiche recipe.

To use scraps:

  1. Take leftover scraps of pastry and lay them next to each other, slightly overlapping, on a board thickly covered with grated parmesan. Grate more parmesan on the scraps. Fold into thirds, pressing cheese into dough gently. Roll out again and cover with more parmesan. Fold as before. Roll out again. No need to be neat. Gather all stray parmesan and sprinkle on top, pressing into the dough gently. That stuff is expensive!

  2. Cut into 1 ½ cm / ½ inch strips, twist 2-3 times and lay the twisted strips on a very lightly greased baking sheet. Dust with a bit of paprika if you like. Bake at 180C until completely pale golden brown. This will depend on your oven, and should take about 15–20 minutes. If they’re not completely baked they’ll get soggy; if they’re overdone, they don’t taste as nice. Stay in the kitchen and watch.

  3. They’re best warm, but will keep overnight in a plastic bag in a dry place, though the chances of them lasting that long are minimal if there’s even the hint of a drink or a man around. Drink & man…better hide a few for yourself!


  • American butter contains more water than butter from England and New Zealand.


Beverage or Dessert — ADAGIO’s Spiced Chocolate Ganache

This sauce of melted dark chocolate and milk is enlivened with ground spices. We put it into our morning coffee, and whip it up with a hand-held “frother” to make Cafe Mocas. We also heat it slightly to use as a chocolate sauce poured over fresh fruit or ice cream. It is also a good and easy chocolate frosting for a cake.


  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 250 grams (9 ounces) good quality bar of Dark Chocolate 50%
  • 1-1/2 tsp ground Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground Sweet Paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground Ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground Nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground Cloves


  1. Break the chocolate bar into chunks and put it and the milk into a microwave-safe container, or in a saucepan.
  2. Heat for 2 minutes on High Microwave, or heat gently in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring, until the milk is hot and the chocolate is very soft. Do not boil the milk.
  3. Take off of the heat and stir with a wire wisk for a minute or two, until completely mixed into a uniform, thick chocolate liquid.
  4. Add the spices and mix well again.
  5. Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator.

The chocolate will solidify more or less as it cools, depending upon the ratio of chocolate to milk.

Adjust the spices to taste.

Excellent in coffee to make a Mocha. Just scoop out a large spoonful and put in a cup of hot coffee, then whisk or froth.



Dessert — Orange and Almond Mediterranean Cake and Jaffa Cake

This was my favorite dessert in Australia, and I was thrilled to learn how to make it in an Adult Education cooking class in Hobart.


  • 4 large Navel or Blood Red Oranges
  • 90 grams unsalted Butter, softened
  • 9 large Eggs, stirred with a fork
  • 375 grams Almond Meal
  • 375 grams granulated white Sugar
  • 1-1/2 Tablespoon Baking Powder

Instructions for Preparing the Oranges:

  1. Boil the Oranges whole in water for 30 minutes.
  2. Drain the water.
  3. Cool the Oranges, and cut them into chunks, removing seeds.
  4. Put the chunks of Oranges (skin and all) into a food processor until pulped.
  5. Cool.

Instructions for Making the Cake:

  1. In an electric mixer, beat together the Butter and Sugar.
  2. Add the Eggs, Almond Meal, Orange pulp and Baking powder.
  3. Butter and line two cake pans with baking paper.
  4. Pour the batter into the cake pans.
  5. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour at 200° C, or until a sharp knife inserted into the cake comes out clean.
  6. Allow to cool in the cake pans on a rack before removing and inverting onto a plate.

Jaffa Cake:

If you pour chocolate frosting onto a slice of this cake, the Australians call it a Jaffa Cake.
I use the recipe for “ADAGIO's Spiced Chocolate Ganache” on this site for the chocolate frosting.
Make the Ganache according to the recipe and cool until it is the right consistency to pour over the cake or spread onto the cake.



Dessert — Brownies

From the galley of Krista on M/V KARMA
Bay of Islands, New Zealand, 2009


  • 2 oz. Unsweetened Chocolate
  • 1/2 cup Unsalted Butter
  • 2 large Eggs
  • 1 cup granulated Sugar
  • 1/2 cup white Flour
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 cup chopped Nuts
  • 6 oz. semi-sweet Chocolate Chips


  1. Melt Butter and Chocolate in double boiler for 1-1/2 minutes in the microwave, and allow to cool.
  2. Mix together Sugar and Eggs.
  3. Add cooled Chocolate and Butter to the Egg mixture.
  4. Add Flour, Vanilla, Nuts and Chocolate Chips.
  5. Stir just to combine.
  6. Put into a buttered pan.
  7. Bake in a preheated 175° C (350° F) oven for 30 minutes.