I love zucchini. I eat it year round. It's my absolutely favorite weeknight vegetable since it's so easy to prepare. Just slice them up and put them in some boiling water with a pinch of salt. I could eat it every night. And I actually make zucchini bread because I really like it not just because someone had a bumper crop of zucchini.
Zucchini bread was one of the first things I ever baked on my own. When I was 15 my best friend Nora gave me a recipe for zucchini bread and she said it was easy and delicious. I thought it was strange to have zucchini in a dessert, but I tried it and she was right about it being delicious. All through my high school years I made zucchini bread over and over again. I remember sitting at the dining room table grating the zucchini by hand with my mom's old box grater. Even to this day I grate zucchini by hand. I know it's faster to use a food processor, but I like doing this particular task by hand.
But whether you love zucchini like me or just tolerate it, when zucchini is combined with chocolate it can't be bad. When I saw this chocolate zucchini cake recipe on the King Arthur Flour website I just had to make it. It definitely uses more chocolate than zucchini. I think the zucchini is more for moisture and texture than flavor. But every once in a while you'll encounter a green fleck which I find rather pretty. Regardless of the reason, it's a good way to add more vegetables to your diet.
I am giving away the King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Bakingcookbook. (The cookbook has a whole wheat flour version of this chocolate zucchini cake too.) Please leave a comment on this post before 11:59pm PST on November 12, 2009 and be sure to mention your favorite vegetable. I will select one comment at random. I plan to contact the winner by email so please make sure you have a valid email address associated with your user ID. Unfortunately I can only ship to U.S. addresses. My sincerest apologizes to my international readers.
Chocolate Zucchini Cake
(adapted from King Arthur Flour)
4 ounces (1 stick / 8 tbsp) unsalted butter, at room temp
1/2 cup canola oil
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1/2 cup sour cream or whole milk yogurt
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Dutch-processed cocoa*
2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
2 cups shredded zucchini
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1 cup chocolate chips, for glaze
Coarse sugar for decorating (optional)
Preheat oven to 325F. Lightly butter and flour a 9" x 13" baking pan.
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 until smooth. Finally, fold in the zucchini and 1/2 cup chocolate chips.
Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Bake cake at 325F for 35-40 minutes, or until the top springs back lightly when touched, and it seems set. Take the cake out of the oven, sprinkle it evenly with the 1 cup chocolate chips, and return it to the oven for 5 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven, and use an icing spatula or rubber spatula to spread the chocolate chips into a smooth glaze. Sprinkle with coarse sugar (if using). Cool on a rack.
* The recipe on the King Arthur Flour website uses 3/4 cup cocoa, but I like using only 1/2 cup cocoa.