Moist Chocolate Zucchini Cake
Here’s a sentiment you’re not apt to come across very often: no more chocolate cake.
A warning to my loyal readers (all 8 of you): The Chocolate Cake Project I didn’t know I signed up for has reached an end. So if you come here just to ogle pictures of naked or scantily clad chocolate cake, first: you should be ashamed of yourself, and second: you may want to direct your browsers elsewhere for the near future. There will be no more chocolate cake at The Shortlists for an as of yet undetermined amount of time. Possibly until February when Francesco’s birthday rolls around and I succumb to the yearly torture known as Sacher Torte. But that’s a story for another day. A day far, far away when I once again feel a sense of novelty, of treat, of occasion associated with chocolate cake.
Let’s recap, shall we?
There was the simple one with vanilla frosting and the pruney birthday one with chocolate ganache. Now the final installation of The Chocolate Cake Project comes in the form of an extremely moist zucchini one with orange glaze. And this, believe it or not, may be the best of the lot.
Unnecessarily titled Fudgy Orange-Zucchini Cake with Orange Glaze by its creator, the P-Patch Cookbook Committee, the real flavor of this cake is chocolate, chocolate, chocolate. But wait! What was that about zucchini?
Yes, zucchini. And not just a dapple of zucchini. THREE CUPS of the stuff. But get this: the zucchini – which makes up the bulk of the batter – is barely noticeable. So barely that it took my friend John the gourmand about 7 guesses to guess right (other guesses: liquor, yogurt, mashed pear). So barely that I assure you that, upon tasting it, no child will hurl the cake across the room running in circles screaming “ZUCCHINI!!!!!!!!” before collapsing in a heap on the floor.
Why ruin a good thing with zucchini, you ask? Why try to healthifize the epitome of get-near-me-when-I’m-eating-this-and-risk-incurring-fork-puncture-wounds? Why mess with chocolate cake?!
To be honest, I didn’t want to make another chocolate cake. I had a ton of zucchini in the fridge and after endless trolling around for reliable zucchini cake recipes, I kept coming back to this. 56 positive reviewers can’t be wrong! I thought. After running my options by him, even Francesco, taste puritan though he is, preferred this one over the other options (he is usually rendered helpless by the word “fudgy”). If you’re still not convinced, think of the zucchini as a true secret ingredient. No one needs to know what you put in your chocolate cake it make it so moist and delightful and chances are no one will guess.
And there you have it, ending The Chocolate Cake Project on a high note: a recipe that seemingly turns chocolate cake on its head (zucchini!) while actually elevating it to previously unknown heights.
I hope this doesn’t mean you’ll stop reading the blog. I promise we’ll eventually make more chocolate cake. In the meantime, and in the spirit of fairness, we will be giving lots more variety of cake their time to shine, crumble, ooze and surprise .
MOIST CHOCOLATE ZUCCHINI CAKE
One batch made enough for a shallow bundt pan and two small loaf pans. I served it for dessert with whipped cream and strawberries and have been having it for breakfast and afternoon snack ever since. The recipe calls for an orange glaze which I made but have since decided is unnecessary. I’ll include it, but rest assured that the cake is plenty moist on its own.
Recipe from P-Patch Cookbook Committee, found in The City Gardener’s Cook Book, courtesy of Epicurious
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup (170 grams) butter
2 cups sugar (I used 1 3/4 cups)
3 eggs, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup milk
3 cups grated zucchini
1 tablespoon grated orange zest (I also added 1 tsp nutmeg)
1 cup chopped nuts (I excluded this altogether [I hate nuts] but feel free to switch in chocolate chips instead)
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon vanilla