Blueberry juice feels rather decadent when you consider how many of the tiny fruits are required to produce just a glass or two of juice. Luckily, blueberry pulp is very easy to use. It becomes almost invisible when combined with chocolate or cocoa powder in baked goods, where it lends moisture and can even replace some of the oil or butter in your recipe. You may be surprised to learn that the cucumber I added to this juice is also a “secret ingredient” in the chocolate cake that follows. Using the blueberry and cucumber pulp enabled me to cut the oil in my recipe down by half and produced a tender, rich cake.

Papaya power

Papaya, the juice’s third main ingredient, yields a fairly large amount of spreadable pulp that I used to fill the space between the cake’s layers. Since the papaya pulp isn’t particularly flavorful on its own, I added some orange juice and a little sugar and cooked it all down to make a paste-like spread. The following juice recipe is thick, like a fruit smoothie, and a pretty coral color. When stored in the refrigerator it becomes almost saucy, so if you’re not planning to drink it right after juicing, you may want to add a little more cucumber to thin it out.

A twist of lime

A plump, round, yellow citrus fruit, labeled “sweet lime” at my local market, provided a nice contrast to the papaya’s somewhat starchy flavor. If you cannot find sweet limes, try squeezing a Valencia orange and adding that instead.

Blueberry Papaya Cucumber Juice

Juice Ingredients

  • 1¼ cup blueberries
  • 1 medium papaya, peeled, and trimmed, seeds removed
  • 1 large cucumber, peeled and seeded
  • juice of 1 to 2 sweet limes or 1 Valencia orange

Juice Instructions

  1. Process blueberries and cucumber in your juicer and reserve the pulp in one bag.
  2. Juice papaya and reserve its pulp separately.
  3. Add the sweet lime or orange juice to the mixture, stir, and enjoy.

Blueberry Chocolate Cake with Dark Chocolate Ganache and Toasted Coconut

The above juice left me with about 4 ounces (½ cup) of cucumber-blueberry pulp and ¾ cup of papaya pulp. Using slightly more or less pulp in your recipe probably will not affect your finished product all that much. Here I adapted my standard vegan chocolate cake recipe, with the pulp serving as a substitute for a large portion of the oil. As I mentioned above, the pulp in the batter is virtually undetectable and the cake came out incredibly moist and tender.

Cake Ingredients

  • 1½ cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1½ cups all purpose flour
  • ⅔ cup unsweetened cocoa powder, plus extra for dusting (I add a tablespoon or two of black onyx cocoa powder to my regular cocoa when I make chocolate cake — it gives a slightly richer product. Onyx cocoa powder can be ordered from the Savory Spice Shop.)
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup blueberry-cucumber pulp
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups brewed black tea*, chilled
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

*Either coffee or tea works very well in this recipe — for best results be sure to use a strong brew.

Cake Instructions

  1. Grease two 9-inch round cake pans and dust with cocoa powder. Line bottoms of the pans with parchment paper and grease the parchment as well.
  2. Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C) with a rack in the middle.
  3. Sift flours, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine the blueberry-cucumber pulp, vegetable oil, chilled tea, and vanilla.
  5. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and combine with a rubber spatula. Add the vinegar and mix in with as few strokes as possible (it’s okay if there are streaks in the batter).
  6. Pour batter into the prepared pans and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, testing doneness with a wooden toothpick.
  7. Let cakes cool in their pans for 5 to 10 minutes before running a knife around the edge of each pan and unmolding to cool completely.

Filling Instructions

While cakes are cooling, put the papaya pulp and a tablespoon or two or orange juice into a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Add a tablespoon of sugar and stir as the mixture simmers gently for about 5 minutes. Cook until you have a thick, spreadable paste. Cool. When the cake has cooled you may want to even out the surface of your first layer by slicing off the dome to create a flat, even round. Spread the papaya filling over the bottom cake layer and top with second cake.

Ganache Ingredients

  • 8 ounces chopped dark chocolate, or chocolate chips (about 60% cocoa)
  • ⅔ cup soy milk
  • 4 tablespoons maple syrup
  • topping: ½ cup toasted* unsweetened shredded coconut (*spread coconut onto a sheet pan and toast at 325°F (163°C) in a toaster oven for about 10 minutes)

Ganache Instructions

  1. Heat the soy milk in a small saucepan until it begins to boil. Remove from heat and immediately add the chocolate.
  2. Stir until all the chocolate has melted, then stir in maple syrup until the mixture is completely smooth.
  3. Let cool slightly before pouring over the cake. Top your cake with the toasted coconut, and chill in fridge to set the ganache.

This cake keeps beautifully for 3 to 4 days at room temperature when wrapped in plastic or stored inside a cake dome.