So much has happened since I last wrote here in the spring — our Gravenstein apples ripened, were picked and turned into pie, and are now a distant memory until next year; my little baby is on the cusp of being six years old and has started school; I’ve written a few more articles for the local paper; the late afternoon light and crisp breeze is a definite harbinger of fall; it’s zucchini season.
Lucky are those who don’t grow their own gardens but are given their friends’ and neighbors’ produce (this is me raising my hand). Zucchini is typically something – I’ve noticed – that the gardener gives away with a look of desperation and cheerfulness, something to the effect of “there’s more where that came from!” accompanied by a smile/grimace.
But seriously — give me your zucchini. I’ll make soup, frittata, galette, a stir-fry with garlic and chickpeas, and cake.
Not just any cake of course and not a bread, though I’ve been on the hunt for a really good, walnut-loaded zucchini bread for years. No, I’m talking deep, dark, dense chocolate-zucchini cake that is as good for dessert as it is for an afternoon pick-me-up.
I riffed an old recipe on this site to make this cake, which I made in a tube pan. I considered adding in nuts or topping with a chocolate glaze but as often happens I forgot/didn’t have time and the cake, with its bits of zucchini and fudgey chocolate chips baked into the batter, was just perfect as it was. Not fancy, but who could ever call zucchini fancy?
I’m not feeling ready for summer to end — we’ve practically lived outside these past months and have spent as much time as possible at various pools, the river, even a few camping trips here and there. Although on the flip side I’m looking forward to a bit of rain to refresh our lawn/backyard (I can’t justify watering grass in the summer) and am planning to use the winter “lull” to research native plants to put in our backyard next year. Maybe 2020 will be the year we actually plant vegetable boxes and make a real go of out; I imagine lots of kale and, yes, my own zucchini. Cross fingers I come back here in a year to update this post with the zucchini bread of my dreams. Until then, cake.
Makes 10 servings.
3 cups whole wheat pastry flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1 large zucchini (or about 1 pound), or more as needed
1 cup dark brown sugar sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup whole or low-fat Greek yogurt
3 oz. unsweetened baking chocolate
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Heat oven to 325 F. Oil and flour the bottom and sides of a nonstick tube pan. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Grate the zucchini and set aside.
In another large bowl, whisk together the sugar and eggs until light in color and thickened, about 2 minutes. Gradually add oil in a steady stream while whisking. Continue to whisk until batter is and thick (and slightly greenish from the olive oil). Whisk in the applesauce and yogurt until fully incorporated.
Melt the baking chocolate and add it to the wet ingredients. Add the dry ingredients and mix until combined. Add the grated zucchini and mix until incorporated. Add chocolate chips and stir again. Pour batter into prepared pan and spread evenly.
Place pan on a baking sheet and bake until a skewer comes out clean in the middle, about an hour.
Remove from oven and let cool in pan 10 minutes then turn out onto a rack to cool completely.