So, how many zucchini breads have you made lately? Too many? If you don't know what to do with all that zucchini that's coming out of your garden right now, how about zucchini + chocolate? Great combination, really. This cake uses quite a bit of grated zucchini, which keeps it moist and absolutely delicious, but you can't really tell there is zucchini in the cake. Ask my kids.
Before I get on with the cake, I wanted to thank Saveur for the nice surprise this past week in being featured on Saveur's "Best of the Web". They featured my post on Marcella Hazan's Roman Style Artichokes. If you are not a regular reader of the magazine, check out their web site. It's very good and has all kinds of great content.
As for the cake, I've made this a couple of times in the past two weeks because our friend, Brian, dropped off more tomatoes and zucchini from his garden. I made Sicilian Estratto (tomato paste) again from the tomatoes, like I did last year and then I made this chocolate zucchini cake from one of the large zucchini that he gave us.
And then, just to make you smile, look who I am babysitting this weekend. Bet you can't look at her and not smile.
Chocolate Zucchini Cake
- 2 medium zucchini, trimmed and grated (I grated mine on the medium holes of a box grater)
- 9 tablespoons of unsalted butter, at room temperature, divided
- 2-3/4 cup flour
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa, sifted
- 1-1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1-1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup buttermilk *
- 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
*if you don't have buttermilk on hand, which I frequently do not, simply add 1/2 tablespoon vinegar to 1/2 cup milk (whole or lowfat) and let sit for 15 minutes. Works.
Working in batches, put a small mound of the grated zucchini in center of a large square of double-layer cheesecloth (I used a thin tea towel). Gather corners together and squeeze out as much water as possible from the zucchini. Transfer zucchini to a bowl and set aside. (I had about 2 cups of this squeezed zucchini. Do not obsess about the amount, though. This is a very forgiving recipe when it comes to the amount of zucchini.)
squeezing out the liquid from the grated zucchini
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter a deep 9" cake pan with 1 tablespoon of the butter. Sift flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt together into a mixing bowl and set aside.
Beat together the remaining 8 tablespoons of butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy, 3-4 minutes. Add oil, beating well. Beat in one egg at a time, add vanilla, reduce speed to low and beat in flour mixture and buttermilk in 3 alternative batches. Stir in reserved zucchini.
Pour batter into prepared pan and bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 1 hour and 15 minutes (Start checking after 1 hour - baking time could be faster.) Remove from oven and set aside to cool for 15 minutes. Invert onto a rack to cook completely. Dust with confectioners' sugar.