Saturday, October 1, 2011

Chocolate Yogurt Zucchini Cake


I had a different recipe planned for today (okay, yesterday. Fine. Thursday). But it has been a hell of a week: sickness, eye infections, and birthday festivities have left me more than a little tired. Writing out a new recipe + editing pics just wasn't in the cards. This fall has been so busy! And it will not be letting up for the weekend. No rest for the wicked. 




This recipe and its accompanying post were scheduled for my very first week of blogging, but they were pushed aside and forgotten. I am so happy I remembered it, because it sure is a yummy recipe. In the first weeks of September, zucchini and summer squash were over flowing the farmers markets. At one point they were going for 0.70 cents per pound…. Never one to resist a deal, I packed my reusable shopping bags to the brim and lugged my bounty home on the sky train. Probably getting strange looks the whole way.  

But I didn’t care, I was the proud owner of 12 Zucchini. Which I’d acquired for under $10! What a bargain! But wait…. Twelve? Did I really just buy twelve zucchini? For two of us? TWELVE? What on earth am I going to do with TWELVE zucchini?

I had a some muffins in mind for a friend. And I knew a great deal of it was destined for soups and curries. But I wanted to find something delicious and snackable that we could indulge in throughout the first weeks of fall. When I returned home I scoured my recipe folders and came across this recipe, which I had bookmarked a couple of weeks before. Chocolatey-walnutty-yumminess, with the added bonus of vegetables. Perfect! 




But more trouble came when I realized that twelve zucchini do not just turn themselves into zucchini bread. How was I – a girl without a food processor – going to break down this abundance of vegetables into something more manageable?  This was surely no job for the magic bullet.  I lost hope for a moment before I decided to take advantage of my resources. My aunt loaned me her trusty food processor, and I spent an hour or so in a zucchini shredding frenzy. Disaster aborted.

Almost. Disaster Part II came about when I realized I only own ONE loaf pan. This recipe makes two loaf cakes. And although I could have baked one at a time, it was a busy day and I needed to get the baking in and out of the oven quickly. So I filled one loaf pan, and divided the remaining batter across 12 muffin tins. This worked out okay, although next time I would adjust the cooking temperature/ time for the muffins, as they were a bit drier than the cake.

It all worked out in the end. And the week that followed was a celebration of the end of summer harvest.  There was a plethora of zucchini creations: Vegan Zucchini Date Muffins, Curried Summer Squash Soup, Ratatouille, and grilled zucchini thrown into everything from pastas to grilled vegetable salads and sandwiches with smoked tofu. That was a good week.




Chocolate Yogurt Zucchini Cake

Adapted from Seven Spoons

Makes 2 loaves or many, many muffins (at least 2 dozen)


I adapted this recipe according to what I had on hand, and also reduced the sugar a bit, but the changes are subtle. If you are looking for something just slightly sweet to snack on for dessert, afternoon tea, or even a portable breakfast, this is just the thing. If zucchini has already disappeared from your local markets, try swapping them for bananas or even carrot. Adjust the recipe accordingly, and be sure to let me know how it goes.



Ingredients

Softened butter, for pans

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 cup chopped toasted walnuts

8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped

1/2 cup olive oil

1 cup plain yogurt (full fat or Greek are best)

2 eggs, lightly scrambled

1 cups dark brown sugar (I used Demerera)

2 tsp.  vanilla extract

4 cups shredded zucchini



1. Preheat your oven to 350 F. Grease two loaf pans with softened butter and line with parchment paper. Leave an inch or two of parchment paper overhanging on each side, this will help you lift the cake out of the pan when it is done.

2. In a large bowl whisk together the flours, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir in the walnuts and chocolate and set aside.

3. In another bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the olive oil, yogurt, eggs, sugar, and vanilla. Beat until smooth.

4. Add the dry ingredients 1 cup at a time while mixing on low (with paddle attachment if using your mixer) until just combined.

5. Gently fold in the Zucchini, being careful not to over mix.

6.Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans and bake for 40-50 minutes, or  until a cake tester or tooth pick comes out almost clean. There will be bits of gooey chocolate or zucchini on your tester, and this may fool you into thinking it it not done. Don’t be fooled. Baking too long can result in a dry loaf. This was my mistake with the muffins, but I took the cake out when I still had doubts it was under done, and it was perfectly moist.

Let the cake cool in the pan for at least 20 minutes, then grasp the edges of the parchment to lift the cake out.


I have lots of cozy fall comfort food recipes in the works for you for next week. It was also a very special boy's birthday yesterday, and the celebrations seem to be spanning Saturday to Saturday. I'll have recipes for some of his favorite treats plus pictures and restaurant reviews from our many recent outings. 

Happy October! Have a lovely weekend.


XO,


Maia

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