When Tito Loved Clara was my book club’s selection for January. The book takes place in a small New York community made up of Dominican immigrants and first generation Dominican Americans. Throughout the book the author mentions the aromas of Dominican food culture, which honestly went right over my head; so you can imagine I was little stumped deciding what dessert to make for our meeting.
While researching I learned the Dominican Republic’s number one food export is sugar, so you can imagine the array of sweet things I was able to find. One traditional cake, simply named Dominican Cake, caught my attention. The strange thing about looking up Dominican Cake recipes is that while every description was exactly the same, a vanilla sponge-like cake sweetened with orange juice, decorated with shiny meringue icing, the techniques, ingredients and amount of ingredients was all over the place.
So my version of the cake became a median of everything I read with an added ripe banana. I used an avocado buttercream in place of the meringue icing, because I’m not a huge of fan of raw eggs in frosting. I also filled the cupcakes with my homemade pineapple jam (which will have to be a future post), but you could fill these with any jam, jelly, or preserve you prefer. I know the combination of flavors sounds a little weird, but trust me, they’re oddly delicious!
1 ½ cups (3 sticks) softened, unsalted butter
1 cup orange juice (you can also sub with any orange blend, I used orange peach mango juice)
Zest of one lemon
1 ripe banana
1 tsp vanilla
1 ½ cup sugar
3 egg whites
2 tsp baking powder
4 cups all purpose flour
1. Cream together butter and sugar until fluffy.
2. Add vanilla and lemon zest.
3. Next add the eggs and whites one at a time, combine thoroughly after each addition.
4. In a separate bowl mix together the baking powder and flour.
5. Add ¼ of your baking powder/flour mix to the wet ingredients.
6. Mash the banana in a separate bowl with a fork; add to your wet ingredients.
7. Alternate adding the rest of the baking powder/flour mixture and the orange juice to the wet ingredients, starting and ending with flour.
8. Preheat oven to the universal baking temperature 350°. Fill cupcake liners ¾ of the way full. Bake for 14-16 minutes.
9. When Cupcakes have completely cooled, use a melon baller (metal works best) or even an apple corer to remove a small portion from the center of the cupcake.
10. Fill the newly made hole with your jam/filling of choice. I prefer using the melon baller because you can now scoop the perfect amount of filling, no extra mess or guessing- the baller is the same size as the hole!
AVOCADO BUTTERCREAM FROSTING:
2 small VERY ripe avocados
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
4 tsp lemon juice
Pinch of salt
5 cups powdered sugar
1. Cube the avocado meat.
2. Cube the butter.
3. Combine butter, avocado, lemon juice, lime zest, and salt. Mix with your electric mixer until smooth.
4. Add sugar to the buttery mixture one cup at a time. Mix until smooth.
5. Pipe onto your cupcake and garnish with a plantain chip.