Unusual Cakes: Delicious Cakes with Unexpected Ingredients

What’s the secret ingredient? In the case of these unusual cakes, it’s definitely not what you’d expect! From avocados to beets to parsnips and even tomato soup and sauerkraut, each one has a highly unusual key ingredient. Yes, they might sound strange, but adventurous bakers will find that these quirky recipes yield delicious results! Let the cake adventure begin:

avocado cake
Photo via CakeSpy
Avocado Cake: Nope: avocados aren’t just for guacamole anymore! They bring a surprisingly decadent richness to a chocolate cake, adding a healthy “fat” which is vegan-friendly. But the avocados aren’t just used in the cake! When “creamed” like butter along with confectioners’ sugar, they make for an unexpected but delightfully sweet icing. Find the recipe here.

beet cake
Photo via CakeSpy
Beet Cake: Did you know that beets are one of the most naturally sweet vegetables? This makes them a great cake ingredient–they add a natural sweetness and moisture to the batter! They work especially well when paired with chocolate, adding a wonderful depth of flavor. But why stop there? Adding a decadent creme fraiche frosting, as in the picture above, adds a creamy tang, and garnishing with poppy seeds adds a lovely crunch.

parsnip cake
Photo via Faith Gorsky of An Edible Mosaic
Parsnip Cake: Do you love carrot cake? Well, you just might love parsnip cake, as well. It’s a similar treatment of the vegetable, but the spiciness of the parsnips shines through once baked. As baker Faith Gorsky of An Edible Mosaic says, “It’s reminiscent of carrot cake but a bit earthier, and despite its humble appearance I think it’s quite a special cake.”

salad dressing cake
Photo via CakeSpy
Salad Dressing Cake: The name may be slightly misleading to some: the “salad dressing” in question is not balsamic or creamy ranch, but really mayonnaise. Grossed out? Don’t be. After all, the main ingredients in mayonnaise are eggs and oil–pretty normal cake ingredients. And it makes for an unbelievably moist finished cake which is bound to please–just make them taste the cake before you reveal the secret ingredient!

potato cake
Photo via Europeancuisines.com
Potato Cake: During times of penny-pinching and ingredient scarcity, potatoes have been used to “stretch” recipes. But happily, the end result is very tasty in the case of chocolate potato cake. The potato gives the cake a delightful fluffiness and a slightly earthy quality that makes it a pleasure to eat with afternoon tea.

sauerkraut cake
Photo via Cookie Madness
Sauerkraut Cake: While most people think of sauerkraut more as a hot dog topping or German side dish, it’s also an ingredient in a particularly tasty chocolate cake! The chocolate seems to “absorb” most of the sour flavor, so that the cake seems more like a sour cream infused sweet. The key is to cut the sauerkraut into very tiny pieces, or the texture will be distracting.

7-up cake
Photo via CakeSpy
7-Up Cake: A cake made with soda pop? Believe it. The buoyant bubbles make for a light texture, but the butter and sugar keep it buoyed to earth. It makes for a fun–although not fizzy–eating experience. It’s a cousin to other cakes such as root beer cake and cola cake, which are made similarly.

sweet pea cupcakes
Photo via Vanilla Garlic
Sweet Pea Cupcakes: Why not make cake with sweet peas? Like their friend carrot, peas make for a palate-pleasing dessert. “Sweet, fresh, bright” are the words that the Vanilla Garlic blogger assigns when describing the taste of these sweet treats, which are (of course) made even better with a healthy dollop of icing.

tomato soup cake
Photo via CakeSpy.com
Tomato Soup Cake: This unusual cake dates back to the great depression, when soup remained a pantry staple. Savvy manufacturers invented new uses for the soup to help promote sales. Generously spiced, it comes off more as a spice cake than a tomato-flavored cake, and one that famous foodie M.F.K. Fisher said was “A pleasant cake, which keeps well and puzzles people while you are cooking other things, which is always sensible and makes you feel rather noble, in itself a small but valuable pleasure”.

zucchini cake
Photo via CakeSpy
Zucchini Cake: It may not be easy being green. But it’s exceedingly easy to eat green, especially when we’re talking about zucchini cake. Now, you probably already knew that the abundant late summer fruit (yes, it’s a fruit) yields a moist, dense, and delicious quick bread. But please, don’t let the story end there—because when you take it into cake territory by adding a thick slathering of chocolate cream cheese icing, you’ll have a far sweeter finish.

Now that you’ve been introduced to a bevy of cakes you may not have considered, it’s time to take a cake adventure of your own! Of course, it’s up to you what the secret ingredient will be, and whether you’ll tell your tasters what it is, or make them guess.

You might also enjoy explore hand-painted cakes and dark wedding cakes.

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