Friday, September 11, 2009

A Craving and Healthier Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Today, after reading Emily's latest post at Visions of Sugar Plum all she did was say "Levain Cookie" and I was having a major craving for one of my favorite chocolate chip cookies!  I kept thinking, "Dang, I'll have to make some of those copycat cookies (<-favorite recipe from Lisa Michele) that I love so much.  Then all the sudden I remembered, I can't believe I forgot!, I had two actual Levain cookies in the freezer!  And I began singing, "Hot dog, hot dog, hot diggity dog..."  (Sam's favorite thing right now is Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and he LOVES that song!)  When we went to Indiana the beginning of August, Kevin had a little business trip to New York City.  He bought me two cookies and when we got home, I wrapped them up and stuck them in the freezer.  BINGO!  So thank you for the little reminder Emily (who, by the way, has posted some GREAT looking chocolate chip cookies that I know I'll have to try soon!)  While the cookies were thawing on the counter, I caught this guy trying to steal one.


"Excuse me, Mister, but that's MY cookie!"  I quickly (so as not to get bit) snatched it back just before he got it down.  Whew.  And do you see how big that cookie is--it barely fits in his mouth!   (hehe, I kill me.)


It was almost as if I was there in NYC.  (Okay, I wish, but it's the next best thing!)


The other cookie.  This double chocolate one is for some-really-strange-for-me reason almost too much for me.  By far--the chocolate chip walnut is the best!  But one of the times I was in NYC last year, I also tried the chocolate peanut butter chip cookie and it's great!  (Note--Kevin, on next trip to NYC, I'll take all ccw's please! ;)



I recently made this decadent Chocolate Zucchini Cake that originated from a King Arthur recipe.  Then I got to wondering if I could make it a little healthier and have it still be really good.  So I did.


This cake is so super moist and perfectly chocolaty!  It's even better after being chilled in the refrigerator and the next day!  There is a slight flavor from the whole wheat flour, but it's good, almost a little nuttiness.  Since I was making it with some healthier changes, I also used less ganache on the top, but it's still plenty!

Chocolate Zucchini Cake, Healthier Version, adapted by Katrina, original recipe from The King Arthur Flour Company

1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

1/4 cup coconut oil (or canola)

3/4 cup natural cane juice sugar

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 plus 2 tablespoons lowfat buttermilk

1  1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1  1/8 ounces Dutch-process cocoa

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

Ganache Icing--

2 tablespoons heavy cream

2  1/2 ounces dark chocolate  chips, melted (I used 60% cacao Ghirardelli 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 applesauce, 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.

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 10-20 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! ;)


I decided to do this after talking to one of  Kevin's sisters (Nutrition Momma--check out her blog and super cute kids!).  She told me she made the chocolate zucchini cake and I was quite surprised because she doesn't often eat goodies like that and after she told me of a few of her changes, I decided to give it a try.  This is a super delicious treat!  Thanks, N. M.!


Taylor's turn for some pictures from Indiana.


This one cracks me up looking at Taylor.  He could not be more thrilled with Tanner's bunny ears, never mind Sam's complete glee!



Taylor was not tall enough for a lot of the rides at Holiday World, but he also would not want to go on many of them even if he could.  While waiting for the others to finish a ride, Taylor was caught riding one all on his own.  ;)


After finding out the camera was on him---


I did get Taylor to ride this Eagles ride with me (I don't remember the real names of any of the rides.)  He thought it was pretty fun and cool to control which direction the eagle flew by pulling on it.


Whenever he'd pull it one direction and we'd go "flying", I'd holler like I was really scared.  He got a kick out of that.



Besides the fact that I was quite squished in this thing, the ride was pretty fun and perfect for Taylor's age.  He went on one other ride, the turkey--something--this one---


I went on this one with Taylor and he screamed scared to death and cried the whole time.  (It really wasn't that bad.)  I loved watching the boys have so much fun doing things they'd never done before.


The Trinigourmet said...

Hehehe love those pics :) Have bookmarked this chocolate zucchini recipe to try later :)

Lisa said...

I'm already working on Levain Copycat Part 3..BUT, at least I'm getting some great tasting chocolate chip cookies from my experiments, and they're close enough to satiate my Levain cravings. Your photos of the originals make me want to pop into the city tomorrow and pick some up!

Finally, I made an 'unhealthy' version of the chocolate zucchini cake, but have yet to post it (possibly late next week). I had such a hard time getting a decent photo of a piece of it since it's so dark! Your photo looks 'fudgy' fantastic, though..and sinfully rich, even though it's not :)

GarlicBOSS said...

Nice pictures, and the recipe is great..thanks

♥peachkins♥ said...

I wanna ride that cute Turkey ride with my daughter..hee!

Eliana said...

Great food as always. Your photos are making me super hungry right now.

Megan said...

Those cookies - Soon.

Last time I tried a Levain copycat I ruined them by overbaking.

I think the nuts are essential to the success, which means I'll have to eat all the ones I make.

I don't think that's too bad, do you?

Lisa said...

Katrina, I suddenly decided to post the zucchini cake entry after commenting here this morning. Yours looks so much fudgier than mine, and it's low fat, which is such a bonus!

That said, I have a little 'sumptin' for you at my blog. You can grab it here...

Liliana said...

Never tasted Levain cookies. Have to try some next time I will be in NYC.

I love the combination of zucchini and chocolate. Thanks for sharing your recipe. Now I know what to do with all the surplus zucchini!

Peabody said...

That first shot in the alligator mouth is too funny! Love it.

Selba said...

The cake looks so yummy...

Oh.. how fun is the ride! The boys must be really having fun :)

Judy said...

That chocolate cake photo is making mouth water. But, wow, Katrina, what self-control -- to leave Levain cookies in your freezer for so long! And boy do they look good. Funny, I've been thinking of Levain too, ever since I got a post comment from someone who made them from my blog post. And every time I make a different CCC, I think of Levain, because IMHO, they are the best of the best!

Sophia said...

your boys are braver than me. I wouldn't get on those things even if you paid me (ok, maybe a million bucks).

LOVELY cookies and cake! It looks SO moist and delicious and sinful!

Lisa Ernst said...

Your Levain cookie photos bring back fond memories of my not so distant past trip to NYC. Personally I loved their chocolate chocolate chip cookies, but I know it they're pretty over the top for some. No local bakery in Nashville can even come close to Levains n(or JT's cookie), so now I'm stuck either making my own cc cookies or going without -- until the next trip to NYC!

Emily said...

That chocolate cake looks incredible. You've got mad skills, woman!

But wait - you're telling me you had two Levain cookies in your freezer?! I would have eaten them as soon as possible. I envy you.

Don't try the ccc I posted. I'll tell you when. I can make that recipe better.

AnickH said...

Im a huge fan of the Levain Cookies as well. Does anyone know for sure if the copy recipe is the real recipe or is it just a "best guess?" either way, im happy that theres something that at least closely resembles the real thing

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Megha said...

Awesome recipe. I have bookmarked it. I will definately try this out with organic wheat flour

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