Thursday, June 17, 2010

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

First, an admission that I don't like zucchini. I'm friendly with most vegetables out there, but not the summer squashes. I recall the first time I had zucchini bread as a child. I wasn't told what it was beforehand, and found it to be delicious! I especially enjoyed the long strings of what I thought were pieces of shredded coconut scattered throughout. Upon finishing, I was told what was really in it, but honestly I didn't believe that to be the truth. I did not like zucchini, but I definitely enjoyed that dessert.
Now that our family has joined a CSA, we get local veggies delivered each week. And with the summer season upon us, that means the omnipresent zucchini have arrived. I politely decline my portion of the share for this vegetable week after week. But last time I decided to take a single (albeit giant) zucchini from among the plethora of cucurbits in our haul.
I thought I'd make zucchini bread, and quickly found what is by far & away the most highly rated recipe for zucchini bread on But it has three cups of sugar (ack!) and two cups of zucchini. My single zucchini would yield far more than that, and I did not want any leftover. I mentioned this situation to my sister who wisely suggested "you should totally make the chocolate zucchini cake from The Baker's Cafe Cookbook." Most folks have had zucchini bread at some point, but how about a chocolate zucchini cake? Here's the kicker - it has less sugar (two cups) and more zucchini (three cups.) I'm guessing because of the chocolate it doesn't need to be so sweet? I dunno, I'm just making things up here. But what I do know is that it is awesome. And so are the rest of the recipes in this cookbook. I routinely make The Baker's Cafe's Oatmeal Cake for dessert when bringing a meal for friends who just had a baby. That recipe alone (conveniently located on the opposing page to the Chocolate Zucchini Cake) is totally worth the price of buying this cookbook.
So, when you see your local farmers markets teeming with fresh zucchini this summer, remember this cake. And that it freezes well too.

Chocolate Zucchini Cake
As printed in The Baker's Cafe Cookbook

4 eggs
2 Cups sugar
1 1/4 Cups (canola) oil
1 Tablespoon vanilla
2 1/2 Cups flour
1/3 Cup unsweetened cocoa (good quality, such as Droste)
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
3 Cups grated fresh zucchini (let drain for an hour, I have increased this quantity up to four cups, or whatever one shredded zucchini yields.)
1 Cup of chopped walnuts (or more if you like nuts)

Use mixer to combine eggs, sugar and oil. Blend in vanilla. In a separate bowl, sift together the dry ingredients. Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and blend. Fold in zucchini. Do not over mix. Stir in nuts.

Pour batter into a greased and floured bundt pan. Bake at 350 for 45-50 minutes, or until cake tester comes out clean (this was 60 minutes for me.)

Cool in pan for 20 minutes, then invert on a plate.

Frost cooled cake with Cream Cheese Frosting: (This makes a lot, I reduce the amounts by 1/4)

4 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 Tablespoons butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 Cup + 2 Tablespoons confectioner's sugar, sifted

Use mixer to blend cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add vanilla and sugar and beat until very smooth. Drizzle over cooled cake. Optional: garnish with additional chopped walnuts.

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