Chocolate Zucchini Cake

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It’s moist, fudgy, and rich with chocolate flavor. The surprise is that it’s got two cups of zucchini in it, but you’d never know.  Many of the zucchini cakes out there on the blogosphere  and in cookbooks look more like quick breads than cakes, with a dense, heavy texture. This one is different. You could bake it in two round layers and serve it as a special celebration cake and everyone would think you’re a genius. It’s light and is really the texture of a delicious cake from a specialty bakery – only better because it’s homemade and it’s loaded with all those antioxidants from the chocolate and the zucchini.
Yes, chocolate cake that’s good for you. (Well, let’s not mention the sugar ok?) Zucchini are not only rich in cancer-fighting antioxidants. They’ve got beta-carotene, vitamin C, folic acid, calcium, potassium and phosphorus. And they’re a good source of fiber. So the next time your mom says “Eat more vegetables,” ask her to whip up this chocolate zucchini cake.
I got the recipe from “The Repressed Pastry Chef,” who adapted it from a recipe from the King Arthur Flour company. She changed it to include a chocolate ganache frosting and I did the same. Who could argue with cream and chocolate? Not I for sure. But there are those who would opt for a vanilla frosting, and we’ll forgive them their shortcomings if that’s what floats their boat (or frosts their cake, if we’re staying with the food metaphors.)
Start by grating the zucchini. I used a disc on my food processor made for such a purpose, but you could grate by hand on a cheese grater if you don’t have a food processor. Drain in a colander for an hour or so with a weight pressed down on the top.
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Then proceed as follows:
Chocolate Zucchini Cake
For a printer-friendly recipe click here
for the cake                                                                                                                                                                                                1/2 cup (1 stick, 4 ounces) butter
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) vegetable oil
1 3/4 cups (12 1/4 ounces) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1/2 cup (4 ounces) sour cream or yogurt
2 1/2 cups (10 1/2 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
3/4 cup (2 1/4 ounce) Dutch-process cocoa
2 teaspoons espresso powder, optional but tasty
2 cups shredded zucchini (about one 10″ zucchini, about 12 ounces)
1/2 cup (3 ounces) chocolate chips
… for the icing
6 oz heavy cream
9 oz chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 325°F. Lightly coat a 9″ x 13″ pan with baking spray. (I used two square 8” pans instead and gave one away – but it would freeze nicely.)
In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, oil, sugar, vanilla, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Beat in the eggs.
Stir in the sour cream or yogurt alternately with the flour. Then add the cocoa and espresso powder, mixing till smooth. Finally, fold in the zucchini and 1/2 cup chocolate chips.
Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Bake the cake for 35 – 40 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and cool on a rack.
To prepare the frosting, heat the heavy cream in a saucepan over medium heat until simmering. Remove from heat and pour over the chocolate chips. Wait 3-5 minutes then stir to combine. It may take a few minutes of stirring for the ganache to come together… but it will.  It will thicken as it cools… when warm (but not hot) pour over cake and smooth with offset spatula. Allow frosting to set for about 30 minutes before serving… or not.

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