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Personal time has been a bit sparse around these parts lately. I know that technically, once you have children, this is no such thing as true “personal time”, but I’m talking more about the “I have an hour to just think or write or cook or read a trashy novel” variety.

But either way, I had to carve out some time for cake. And this is one I baked only this morning. I figured that if I didn’t post about it right away, it probably wouldn’t happen at all. So, apologies in advance for interrupting your Labor Day barbecue (or whatever else you do to mark the occasion, I’m a bit fuzzy on the details) with cake. But here’s my excuse: nearly half of this cake is zucchini. And I’ll be damned if you could even tell it was in there. Mountains of grated summer squash (probably growing to gigantic proportions in your backyard as we speak) do nothing more than make this cake amazingly moist…and then disappear into the background. Just what any self-respecting vegetable should do when it has the audacity to show up in a cake. Each slice has just a hint of orange and cinnamon to make things even more interesting. This is definitely a recipe to keep in your back pocket. Bake away, my friends, bake away.

Chocolate Zucchini Cake with Orange Glaze

Recipe slightly adapted from Simply Recipes

2 ½ cups regular all-purpose flour

½ cup cocoa

2 ½ teaspoons baking powder

1 ½ teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

3/4 cup soft butter

1 cup sugar

1 cup lightly packed brown sugar

3 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 teaspoons grated orange peel

2 cups coarsely shredded zucchini

½ cup milk

1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder, soda, salt, and cinnamon; set aside.

With a mixer, beat together the butter and the sugar until they are smoothly blended. Add the eggs to the butter and sugar mixture one at a time, beating well after each addition. With a spoon, stir in the vanilla, orange peel, and zucchini. Alternately stir the dry ingredients and the milk into the zucchini mixture, including the nuts with the last addition.

Pour the batter into a greased and flour-dusted 10-inch tube pan or bundt pan. Bake in the oven for about 50 minutes (test at 45 minutes!) or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan 15 minutes; turn out on wire rack to cool thoroughly. Drizzle glaze over cake.

To make glaze: Mix together 1 cup powdered sugar, 1 tbsp milk, ½ tbsp orange juice and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat with a fork until smooth.

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