Friday, August 17, 2012

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

This is the time of year for an abundance of zucchini.  I am not a huge fan of zucchini, although you can never go wrong with breading and deep frying it.  Not exactly healthy.  I suspect that none of my favorite zucchini recipes are particularly good for you, but they each use up one to two large zucchini, and are delicious:  fritters, quick bread, and my new favorite, chocolate zucchini cake.

One of the first comments I had read for this recipe was DO NOT MODIFY.  So what do I do?  I tinker with it.  I swapped out the oil for apple sauce and substituted the buttermilk since I never have any on hand.  I've added cinnamon and nutmeg a couple of times, which was good, but so far I have found this cake is best in its unadulterated chocolatey goodness. (Although I have seen a modification with espresso that I may have to try.)

Zucchini cake batter
One thing the recipe did not state clearly was the shredded zucchini must be well pressed/drained.  I've done enough zucchini recipes that I know this instinctively.  I made the mistake of not explicitly stating that when I gave this recipe to a friend who was unfamiliar in working with shredded zucchini.  After baking the cake for twice as long as the recipe called for, she ended up with something that closely resembled thick chocolate pudding.  Truth be told, my first attempt with this recipe was a bit like a lava cake because I took it out too early.  Still delicious!  But it wasn't up to my standards to share with friends and coworkers.  (So I ate it all myself.)  I discovered that it freezes well, and it's especially yummy when warmed up and topped with vanilla ice cream.


CHOCOLATE ZUCCHINI CAKE

2 1/4 cups sifted all purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk **
2 cups grated (well pressed/drained) unpeeled zucchini
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup chopped walnuts

** 1.5 tsp lemon juice + a little yogurt + milk to make 1/2 cup

Preheat oven to 325°F.  Grease and flour a bundt cake pan. Sift flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt into medium bowl. Beat sugar, butter and apple sauce in large bowl until well blended. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla extract. Mix in dry ingredients alternately with buttermilk in 3 additions each. Mix in grated zucchini, chips and nuts. Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 60-65 minutes. Cool cake completely in pan.

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