Thursday, August 20, 2009

Chocolate Zucchini Cake Recipe and Zucchini Lemon Cranberry Walnut Muffins Recipe

It's that time of year.  You practically have them growing out your ears.  I'm talking about zucchini.  Some of them are huge.  They aren't quite as good for savory cooking when they get too big.  But they make a dang good killer chocolate cake!  Bah--look at this!

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Yep, believe it or not, there is zucchini in there!  I know.  I hear ya.  You just would NEVER know it's there.  So this means this cake is healthy, right.  Well, we can pretend anyway.  Sigh. 

Yeah, it's not healthy.  But for goodness sake, it's delicious!  (Dad--it's chocolate cake!)

After buying two giant, cheap zucchini at the farmer's market last week, I went on a Google search for just what to do with them.  I already shared with you my zucchini ("apple") crisp.  I knew there were all kinds of quick breads and muffins out there with zucchini and I even knew there were zucchini snack cakes.  But THIS cake, it's not just your run-of-the-mill "snack".  This is big time dessert here.  Kevin was even a little bummed that I didn't have any ice cream to serve with it.  (I know, me, slacking on the ice cream making! ;)

I found this beauty on Em's blog,  The Repressed Pastry Chef.  I actually didn't even know she was a fellow TWD baker.  (What?  I can't read them all.  I wish.  But after finding this cake on her blog and browsing around a bit, I've added her blog to my reader.)  Em found this recipe on the King Arthur Flour website.  I halved the recipe and baked it in an 8x8 inch baking pan.  I made some minor changes, so here's the recipe as I made it, but please when you're done with me, go look at Em's!

Chocolate Zucchini Cake, adapted by Katrina from The King Arthur Flour Company and Em at The Repressed Pastry Chef (halved)

1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened

1/4 cup canola oil

6  1/8 ounces granulated sugar (1/2 cup plus 6 tablespoons)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 large egg

1/4 cup buttermilk (original recipe calls for sour cream or yogurt)

1  1/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour

1  1/8 ounces Dutch-process cocoa

(optional 1 teaspoon espresso powder)  I did not use it

1 cup zucchini, finely grated (middle/seeds removed)

1/2 cup (3 ounces) chocolate chips  (I used 58% cacao Ghiradelli chips)  (I didn't halve the chips)

Ganache Icing--

3 ounces heavy cream

4 1/2 ounces dark chocolate (I used the Ghiradelli chips)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Line an 8x8 inch baking pan with foil.  Spray with cooking spray.  Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter, oil, sugar, vanilla, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  Beat in the egg.  Scrape sides of bowl. 

Stir in the buttermilk alternately with the flour.  Then add the cocoa.  Mix until well combined.  Fold in the zucchini and chocolate chips.

Pour and spread the batter evenly in the baking pan.  Bake for 30-35 minutes (mine took 32 minutes), until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool the cake on a wire rack.  Remove the cake from the pan using the foil edges.

Prepare the ganache by heating the cream to a simmer.  (I actually used the microwave and it worked great, just do it in 20-30 second intervals and stir in between.)  Pour the cream into a bowl with the chocolate chips.  Let sit a minute or two.  Stir the melted chocolate and cream until combined and smooth.  Spread over cake evenly with an offset spatula.  See how long you can wait before cutting slices of the cake and eating it.  (The ganache hardens as it sits, but doggonit it's good right away! ;)

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You know you want a bite.  I'm not kidding, there's zucchini in there.  (You would never in a million years know it, Bob!)

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Now after all that, take a deep breath, it's going to be okay.  Breathe.  Okay.  I kind of feel like these poor little muffins will take a huge back seat to that cake, BUT just keep in mind, sometimes you feel like a muffin and sometimes a little cake and the muffins really could be considered somewhat healthy and a great grab and go breakfast or perfect snack and they are also delicious if I do say so myself.   You'll have to try them and give them the credit they too deserve just as much as that cake.  Again, in my Googling around, I ran across this Low Fat Lemon Zucchini Bread on about.com.  These muffins were inspired by that bread, but I changed many things and came up with these darn-tootin' good muffins.

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Zucchini-Lemon Cranberry Walnut Muffins, by Katrina

1  3/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour (or could use all purpose)

1  1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

2/3 cups sugar

1 tablespoon lemon zest (zest of 1 lemon)

1/4 cup coconut oil (or any vegetable oil)

1 large egg

1 egg white

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup low fat buttermilk

1 cup zucchini, seeded and finely grated

1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped

1/2 cup dried cranberries

turbinado sugar for sprinkle over top

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line muffin tins with paper liners (this made 14 muffins). 

In medium sized bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon.  Whisk together and set aside.  In another bowl, combine the sugar and lemon zest, combining it together with your fingers until the sugar is moist, yellow and fragrant.  (I got this idea from Dorie Greenspan and love it.)  Combine the zesty sugar, oil, eggs, vanilla and buttermilk until well mixed with a wire whisk.  Stir in zucchini.  Add the dry ingredients with the wet and fold together just until moist.  Fold in nuts and cranberries.  Fill each muffin cup with a good sized scoop of batter.  Sprinkle each with turbinado sugar.  Bake for 14-16 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of one comes out clean.  Set pan on wire rack and cool for five minutes.  Remove the muffins from the tin and cool to room temperature on wire rack.

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There is some nutty, berry-sweet goodness hiding in there and a wonderful lemon flavor!

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You've seriously got to try these.  Coming soon--more zucchini!  I bought two giant ones remember.  These two recipes didn't even use one whole one.  Did you know you can grate the zucchini and freeze it in plastic bags?  It will last a couple months in the freezer.  Run to your gardens, neighbor's gardens, farmer's markets, grocery stores now and stock up!  You'll for sure want to make this cake and these muffins over and over again! ;) 

36 comments:

Tracey said...

I was literally just over at Em's site commenting on this post! How funny :) Your cake looks awesome too and confirms that I am absolutely making this as soon as I get some zucchini!

Fallon said...

Wow.. that chocolate cake looks heavenly.

Avanika [YumsiliciousBakes] said...

I remember seeing and loving this cake over at Em's site! And now you're endorsing it :) It looks delicious!!

♥peachkins♥ said...

I love that shot of forkful of chocolate cake!!

Mary said...

Thanks..I need some zucchini recipes myself....cool..

Donna-FFW said...

My god, does this first photo make me want to jump through my screen. Terrifically delicious!! LOVE it!

Deb said...

I have been seeing recipes for zucchini chocolate cake and have wanted to try one. Yours looks good. I hope all is well.

Maria said...

I have zucchini to use up this weekend! I made bread last week and added cranberries, it was so good and I made it healthy too:) I want to try the cake though!
I am SO excited you will be at Blogherfood. We are getting to the city on Friday and will leave Monday. Where are you staying? I am sure I will find you at the conf! The agenda looks great!

noble pig said...

I must, must try this cake! Yum.

Em said...

Wow! OMG your chocolate zucchini cake looks AAAAA-MAY-ZING!

You go girl!!!!!!

Anyone on the fence about this? Jump off and make it!!!

A male colleague of mine exclaimed "wow - my wife will never believe I ate zucchini... but made like this I could eat it at every meal" LOL.

So glad this recipe worked out for you as well :) It is soooooo good and gets boatloads of raves!

Nutrition Momma said...

I have two zucchini jusst waiting to be used, I think I even have all the ingredients for those muffins. I am always looking for good breakfast Ideas. Cold cereal gets boring after awhile.

DessertObsessed said...

that zucchini cake looks soooo good! i love the frosting!

Judy said...

You've been a busy girl with your zucchini. I actually made KA's choc.zucch. cake (as cupcakes) and instead of the cream for the ganache I subbed PB -- delicious. Your photos are absolutely mouthwatering.

Emily said...

You have the best blog! I just adore it. I'm a little behind on your posts, but everything looks great. I can't get over that zucchini cake! It looks incredible.

Jacque said...

Yep, looks like health food to me (wink, wink) :)

Bethie said...

Followed you over from the Repressed Pastry Chef to see how your cake turned out. Okay, gotta make it now. The only thing I was missing was sour cream, but with your buttermilk sub, I can do it without a dash to the market. Looks wonderful!!

vibi said...

I was never a great fan of muffins, but I garanty that for a piece of that chocolate cake which looks too darn moist, I'd ring your dorrbell anytime!

Megan said...

Whoa - hold me back - I almost licked the screen (and that would be gross!).

Now I'll have to go and find more zucchini to make that cake.

Bunny said...

Whoooa! That cake is killer!! You can see how moist it is, the muffins are equally fine looking too!

Claire said...

No overabundance here but these do look delicious! I gave you an award on my last post.

Alwayzbakin said...

I really had no idea that you could put zucchini in so many baked goods. The cake looks sinful!

Karine said...

This cake might be not healthy... it looks really good!

We can say the zucchini had a bit of healthiness to them :)

Julie P said...

Oh. My. Goodness. That last picture of the cake makes it look like that 7 layer wonder from Costco. So we'll be making that this week!

Peabody said...

Now, that's the way to get your veggies in!

biz319 said...

Wow = that cake looks AMAZING! I love buying giant zucchini's just for baking - I did chocolate zucchini muffins over the weekend, but mine were healthy - but I think I'd rather have your cake!

pinkstripes said...

That cake does look awesome. YUM.

Amanda said...

I think I am really going to have to try this. I just made some AWESOME zucchini bread today, best I've ever tasted. The zucchini I used were HUGE and because the seeds were developed, were actually pretty "wet" once shredded. I ended up squeezing out the juice from the shredded zucchini and straining it into a cup. I couldn't believe how much came out! I saved it in a zipper bag for a later stew, I'll sneak in some nutrients LOL

Amanda said...

I added this to my Friday Recipes post which featured zucchini, thanks! You can see it here ;) http://oldtips.blogspot.com/2009/08/friday-recipes-zucchini.html

Paris said...

I have been seeing recipes for zucchini chocolate cake and have wanted to try one. Yours looks good. I hope all is well.

Anonymous said...

I made this cake yesterday, and am boasting to anyone who will listen that this is the best chocolate cake I have ever made. So moist and let's pretend it's good for us as it has zucchini. What better way is there to hide vegies?? Loving it in Australia x

Katrina said...

Anonymous in Australia--THANKS! I do love this cake and especially that it has hidden veggies! ;)

Ann F. Crump said...

Baking cakes for my diabetic friends is really hard. I really need to alter the ingredients so that it will not be bad for them. Your recipe looks really good! I will try to bake this but I will alter the ingredients as well.

Lorraine J. Barrera said...

This is chocolate overload! I love eating chocolates but in moderation. I think I should start learning how to bake so I can try baking recipes that I see online.

Sandy Smith said...

Great call on the buttermilk inclusion. This cake looks delicious.

Patsy K said...

I'm seriously intrigued by this zucchini chocolate cake! What a fun way to make a veggie taste decadent!

Shelby Law Ruttan said...

Yes, I'm sorry, those muffins do kinda take a back seat, but that cake is CHOCOLATE and looks moist and totally amazing! ;)