Time for a New Hue

Sunday, February 14, 2010 53 comments
Lemony Avocado Cream Cake: what I made for love

How Green is My Love
A poem by Tangled Noodle
For Mr. Noodle

As green as a summer leaf
That gently shades when Sun's ardor sears
And tenderly shields when Sky sheds tears
Softly rustling as if to say

How green is my love . . .

As green as an autumn herb
That in the garden seems not to wilt
While in the kitchen its flavor gilds
A simple dish as if to say

How green is my love . . .

As green as a winter pine
That waits so stoic beneath the frost
Patient and unbowed though ice-embossed
'Til kisses' heat frees it to say

How green is my love . . .

As green as spring's tender sprout
That grows anew from a hidden seed
Which tempests wild could never succeed
In keeping from waking to say

My love is ever green.

Changing of the Color Guard?

Red as the color of St. Valentine's Day is indisputable and solidly based on authoritative, albeit decidedly non-romantic, reasons: it is the liturgical color for feast days honoring martyred saints, such as the aforementioned, in the Catholic Church. There are, of course, other symbolic meanings which make red the seemingly natural choice to express love and passion - in various cultures, it represents life, energy, creativity, joy and luck. The latter two are particularly significant as this scarlet shade does double duty today during celebrations for both Valentine's Day and the first day of the Lunar New Year.

However, I would like to champion green as another worthy color to represent this romantic occasion. I know - this shade already dominates another certain saint's day in March, but its symbolic meanings pertaining to love are as potent as its more overheated counterpart and offer some excellent counterpoints:

(Image from Wikipedia.com)
  • Center of Love: Red is the color of blood, the essence of life flowing from the heart. However, the concept of Chakras (considered energy centers of the body in traditional Eastern medicine) holds that it is the color green which represents Anahata, or the Heart Chakra, where unconditional love and compassion reside. Red, on the other hand, is associated with Muladhara, or Root Chakra, where sexuality and physical pleasure are governed.
  • Feeling the Love: Though fiery red stimulates our energy and passions, the flame can quickly burn out, whereas green is about soothing and renewal, creating an enduring sense of harmony. For many, this is key to a longlasting relationship.
  • Consuming Passion: Red-colored foods that stimulate the appetite - both culinary and carnal - include chile peppers, strawberries and red wine, but when it comes to aphrodisiac foods, green is great. Many emerald edibles were considered as such due to shapes evocative of human sexual organs, such as asparagus and avocado, while others naturally contain nutrients associated with libido, like the phytoestrogens found in fennel (more beneficial to women than men). Other green aphrodisiacs include arugula (rocket), sweet basil, broccoli rabe (rapini), cilantro (leaves and seed) and rosemary.
With this latter point in mind, Mr. Noodle and I are celebrating St. Valentine's Day as many of us do - with a special dessert. However, rather than go with the obvious color and flavor of red and chocolate, I decided to go with something green, which also happens to be Mr. Noodle's favorite color. Most green foods are herbs or vegetables better suited to savory rather than sweet recipes. Fortunately, one of our favorites was a perfect candidate for what I had in mind.

Avocado has long been considered an aphrodisiac, primarily due to its form, which is reminiscent of both the female womb and male testicles (with which it shares the word 'ahuacatl' in Aztec language). But its creamy texture enhances its sensual qualities and it is also rich in potassium and vitamin E, important for overall, if not specifically sexual, health.

Sensational Color by Kate Smith

Lemony Avocado Cream Cake

"The course of true love never did run smooth." -- Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night's Dream (1.1.134)

Tell me about it. This dessert was meant to be a rolled cake, made from an easy sponge cake recipe. However, I admit to being distracted by a phone call from one of my sisters as I was preparing it and, as a result, probably overbeat the batter and then let it sit unattended too long while we happily chatted away. When I finally poured it into a cookie sheet (no jelly roll pan), I noted that the batter was spread thin but didn't make any adjustments to oven temperature or baking time. The result was an inflexible and too-dry cake. Fail!

But Mr. Noodle and I haven't enjoyed sixteen years of marriage by giving up when confronted with a problem. Rather than ditch the imperfect but still-edible and tasty cake, I simply re-considered the presentation. To moisten the texture, I brushed a lemon-infused simply syrup over the top then used a biscuit cutter to cut out round slices, which I layered with the avocado cream. While we didn't get our graceful roll, we did end up with a delicious tower of dessert!

For the sponge cake


1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
3 Tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon lemon extract
Confectioner's sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350°F;
2. Sift flour, baking powder and salt, and set aside;
3. Beat eggs until thick, then gradually add sugar;
4. Fold sifted dry ingredients into batter, then reserve 1 cup of mixture;
5. In a small bowl, fold reserved batter into melted butter, then fold back into larger mixture;
6. Line jelly roll pan or cookie sheet with parchment paper, then pour batter into the pan;
7. Bake for approximately 10-20 minutes (watch the cake carefully after the first 10 minutes to avoid over-baking like I did). Cake should be a light golden color and springy;
8. Lay a sheet of parchment paper on a surface and sprinkle with confectioner's sugar. Invert sponge cake onto sheet and carefully remove the parchment on which it was baked. Let cool.

For avocado cream filling

1 medium avocado*, peeled and diced
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 (8 ounce) package of low-fat cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar

1. Mix avocado cubes with lemon juice then beat with electric mixer until thoroughly mashed and somewhat smooth;
2. Add softened creamed cheese and blend with avocado. Gradually add sugar until mixture is fluffy and smooth, with few lumps; 
3. Refrigerate for 10-15 minutes before assembling cake.

*Next time, I would like to add another avocado and reduce the cream cheese from 8 to 4 ounces, for a more pronounced avocado-y flavor.

To assemble cake

If you were more successful than I at producing a pliable sponge cake, then hooray! Simply spread the avocado cream evenly over the cake; then, starting from the longest edge, slowly roll using the parchment paper underneath to keep it in place. Press very gently so that the cream keeps the cake from unraveling. Cut into slices and serve with a sprinkling of chocolate shavings. (At least, that was the plan!)

If, however, you experience my fate, then don't despair: using a biscuit, cookie cutter or a knife, cut out pieces in desired shapes or sizes, then brush tops with a simple syrup. Place one piece on a plate and top with avocado cream, spreading just short of the edges. Place another piece on top of the cream, pressing down gently so that it doesn't slide off; repeat with as many pieces as you'd like. Serve with a dollop of avocado cream on top - a sprinkling of chocolate would look very nice, too!

May every day be a sweet Valentine for you and your special love!

Update 2/16/10: Just under the wire, I'm entering this in Food Is Love contest, hosted by Jennifer at Savor the Thyme and Kelsey at The Naptime Chef. Please visit their sites to see the round-up of all entrants!


  • Daily Spud said...

    Hey, I've got a whole country awash with the colour green :)

    And if it's Mr. Noodle's favourite colour, then I'm guessing that he probably liked it over here in Ireland :) Meanwhile, I am intrigued by the list of green aphrodisiacs - I shall have to file the list away for future reference... :D

  • Erin said...

    Avocado cream is definitely one of my favorites - I've found it rare that anyone has ever heard of it! Because of the massive amount of sugar in it, I hardly ever make it...but that last photo of yours definitely makes me want to whip up a batch for some cupcakes!

  • -bcgw. said...

    TN! This looks delightful and what a nice spin away from the red & pinks of today... it's so nice to see you posting and hope you had a wonderful day ;]

  • Phyllis said...

    Way to improvise, TN! Green is my hubby's favorite color too and that avocado cream sounds delish. I've never used avocado in a dessert before unless you count es alpukat (Indonesian avocado shake). Happy Valentine's Day :)

  • Table Talk said...

    What a lovely poem! You are so sweet to share it with us.
    I knew oysters were an aphrodisiac, but had no idea the list included such a variety of vegetables! No wonder I love arugula so much ;)

  • onlinepastrychef said...

    I am on board with green's being the new red! The stack is lovely, and huge Yays to you for repurposing instead of rebooting--good for you, you intuitive cook, you!

    Happy Day-After-Valentine's-Day!

  • Chef E said...

    If one could have a girl crush
    or a cake crush; it would be

    Muey Beuno and bravo!

    If that man is not as in love with you as mine is, I will make him into one of my off beat recipes!

  • Tangled Noodle said...

    Hope you had a wonderful Valentine/Lunar New Year weekend!

    Spud - Both of us loved it in the Emerald Isle! I couldn't find a definitive list of aphrodisiacs but green foods were surprisingly prevalent! Mr. Noodle and I will have to test them all out . . . 8-)

    Erin - Thanks so much! I rarely make anything sweet with avocado - it's usually guacamole or simply sliced into a sandwich. This cream was tasty but next time, I'd like to increase the avocado flavor and reduce the cream cheese.

    doggybloggy - That lemon peel was the only part of the cake that came close to the 'roll' that was originally intended! 8-)

    Jennifer - Oh, meyer lemons sound great! It's been a long haul for Mr. Noodle but he's hanging in there! 8-D

    Pam - Thanks! It was a close call!

    BCGW - Happy belated Valentine's Day to you, too! Red is one of my favorite colors but sometimes, I just want to feel soothed . . . 8-)

    Elra - Thank you so much! It's nothing like the perfect desserts you create but I'm happy I didn't give up on it.

    Phyllis - In our household, avocado is usually destined for guac, so this was really new for me, too! Glad I didn't bail on the cake but I'm determined to try it again and get it right.

    Jenn - I do now! 8-) Thank you!!

    Sook - Thank you! Even though it didn't turn out as I intended, my husband still appreciated it. 8-)

    Sarah - Thank you and so happy you enjoyed it here!

    Dawn - I just know I can make this exactly the way I originally envisioned, so another avocado or two will have to be sacrificed. I also know that this would turn in something spectacular in your capable hands! Hope you're feeling better!

  • Tangled Noodle said...

    Table Talk - Thank you so much! And I do love all the green 'love' foods, too. 8-)

    Velva - Happy Chinese New Year and thank you very much!

    Kitchen Butterfly - Your compositions are amazing! Thank you!!

    OPC - It's an ongoing process but I must say, there's been quite an improvement! I'll definitely always try to repurpose rather than just reboot. 8-)

    Chef E - Gracias! (I'm really working the limited vocab I have acquired so far) He's still hanging around despite my many quirks so I think he sees something worthwhile . . . 8-D

    Erica - I just wish our avocados during this time of year were just a bit sweeter as they are in summer. Still, I love them any way, too. Thank you!

    Penny - Happy CNY and Valentine's Day to you, too! And absolutely, I'd rather be with my love whatever the shad surrounding us! 8-)

    5 Star - Thank you! Thought the texture of the cake was disappointing, its flavor was still too good to discard it. I hope to make this again 'properly'! 8-)

  • Manggy said...

    You are such a sweet wife :) Good save on the cake! One of the factors for breakage might be the fact that you have to do a preliminary (no filling) roll while the cake is still warm, to prevent breaking when you roll it cool.

  • Juliana said...

    Love the creativity of yours :-) Nice combination of lemon and avocado...and the poem is so sweet. I am sure that Mr. Noodle was very happy with it ;-)

  • Carolyn Jung said...

    Four points for that save and quick thinking on your part. I think all of us have been done in one time or another by a too browned or too dry cake. Now, thanks to you, we all know how we can rescue it when it happens again -- and I'm sure it will.

  • diva said...

    Yay for championing green! It's my favourite colour and definitely - mint green is so romantic. Lovely pudding here. Send me a virtual one?

  • Jackie at Phamfatale.com said...

    I've only used avocado in sweet dish in smoothies. It never occurred to me to use them in desserts. I'm sure it gives a rich texture to the filling. This sounds absolutely lovely. Mr. Noodle. And wow, congrats on your 16 years of marriage!

  • Lori said...

    I hope that Mr. Noodle fully appreciates your talent and effort. My husband certainly didn't get a poem. Heck, we were traveling so he didn't even get a homemade dessert. Ha, ha! :)

    I love the use of the avocado here and what a creative save. It looks delicious!

  • Tangled Noodle said...

    Thanks for the great new comments!

    ABowlOfMush - Thank you, but your rose petal cake is hard to beat!

    Manggy - I have my wifely moments! Thanks so much for the tip about the roll - it was overbaked but I'm determined to try again. I'll take your advice and roll it w/o filling first.

    Karen - The cream was tasty although I'm going to add even more avocado next time. But I want to prove to myself that I can make a cake roll!

    Mariana - With that kind of provenance, I hope that green becomes more popular as a color of love! Thank you!

    Juliana - I thought that he might be a bit embarrassed but he liked it! I only wish that the cake roll had turned out better. 8-)

    Kat - Thank you! Since I couldn't swing a roll, I'll take a twist!

    Carolyn - Unfortunately, I doubt this is the last time I'll fall short of a springy, moist cake but I'm happy it was salvaged! Next time, perhaps I should add a little something extra to the syrup - perhaps use a nice liqueur. 8-)

    Diva - It's late, but consider your virtual pudding on its way! 8-)

    Pearlyn - Thank you! Green and something sweet were a delicious combination for my husband. 8-)

    Caitlin - I've been on a coconut kick recently but now I think my affections have been transferred to avocado! Despite my failure to make a roll, the hubs did enjoy this improvisation!

    Jackie - Thank you! The filling turned out well although I'd like to add more avocado next time. My husband has managed to hang in there for 16 years and I've promised him that if he sticks around, I'll get the hang of this cream roll! 8-)

    Lori - I couldn't just give up on it and the hubs was very patient as he waited for his dessert! Hope you and your husband had a great time traveling during Valentine's!

    Sarah - Now, I'm definitely green - I would love an overabundance of avocados!

    Teanna - At first, I found recipes that incorporated avocado in the cake batter but as a substitute for the butter or oil. I like it much better as a frosting or filling!

    Rohan - Thank you so much! I'm glad you enjoyed it.

    Anh - It tasted very good, although it was more on the cream cheesy side - next time, I'd like to add another avocado. 8-)

    Mardi - Although both the color and flavor were a bit light in this, avocado is a really great complement to a sweet dessert!

    Ann - Thank you! Change always keeps things a bit more interesting, I think! 8-)

  • Deeba PAB said...

    Happy belated V day TN...♥ the green! How deep is your love .... VERY!! Beautiful post. So evocative!
    Sorry TN...that Rohan abovewas me. The son was signed in & I left a comment with his name. Was just checking today & went GASP!!

  • Gera @ SweetsFoodsBlog said...

    A lovely, literally, post!! The avocado (here called "palta") is a must in Mex dishes for me. The cake is superb and hope your Valentine was great too.
    Just returning from a short - rainy break.

    Have a great week!

  • Brenda said...

    Well, well, well - mr. Noodle has very good taste in colors. Green is also my favorite and I am therefore intrigued and delighted by your choice of dessert and info on aphrodisiacs. I always KNEW green was the color of love, but now I have legitimate information to prove it! :)

  • Mark Scarbrough said...

    Isn't green a liturgical color, too? As I recall, it's the color of "common time" or (as some call it) "ordinary time." I love that: that there's time that's sacred and time's that ordinary. Frankly, most of the time, I'd rather be in ordinary time. The rest seems too hard.

  • catty said...

    Your lemon avocado cake looks DIVINE! Ia lso love green, but more in the form of matcha right now, but then again who can say no to lemon & avocado??

    great pics as usual too xx


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