Saturday, September 11, 2010

Ten Days of CSA: Day 4, Spiced Chocolate Zucchini Cake

There are a lot of chocolate zucchini cake recipes out there. Epicurious has a good one from a 1995 issue of Bon Appetit, which is similar to my recipe but has a little less going on in terms of spice. Sandra Lee has a semi-homemade one, naturally, using a chocolate cake mix. There's a Bundt cake that sounds pretty good, using real chocolate instead of cocoa, plus Bundts are quite attractive, in my humble opinion. So many options when you have a thousand pounds of zucchini (or yellow squash, presently) to make use of!


The one I go back to over and over again, however, is from the ever-so-democratic Allrecipes website. It was submitted by someone named L. Dart in 2008, and once you make this cake you will be in love with and forever indebted to L. Dart. It's just excellent, particularly if you like the combination of chocolate and spices, which I do v. much, plus it's super moist and rich, and the chopped chocolate sprinkled on top makes it all dimply and cute to boot once it's baked and cooled.

before and after

It is sitting on my stove top right now, tantalizing me until this evening, when I'm having company for dinner. And I'm not even going to talk about how good it makes your house smell. On one of the first days of fall, a dreary, overcast day, one of those days when I'd be otherwise stressing about what exactly I'm supposed to be wearing for the next month or so and cursing the winter that it just around the corner waiting to make me homebound and stir-crazy, the smell of warmth, chocolate, and spices that welcomed my daughter and me as we returned from lunch at Grandma's was reminiscent of Christmas and the cookies that our moms make every holiday season and... well, I just can't wait to eat this cake. It's been about a year since I made it last. I should have invited my friends over for a 4 o'clock dinner. Seven is so overrated.

sifted dry ingredients


chopped chocolate

[Post-script, pre-post follow-up: Dinner went well. We had carnitas tacos and black bean soup and wine and, yes, finally, the cake. Did I mention its crumb is just absolutely unbelievably perfect? It was everything I'd remembered and I wanted seconds. But occasionally, particularly when I'm in the company of skinny women, like I was last night, I can practice self-restraint.]

big tasty slice

Spiced Chocolate Zucchini Cake
Adapted (but not much) from Allrecipes
Yield: one 13X9" cake; 12 huge servings

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup grapeseed oil or other mild oil
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup plain yogurt (or buttermilk)
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups flour (I used 1 cup all-purpose + 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour)
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves
2 1/2 cups grated zucchini (or any summer squash)
8 ounces dark and milk chocolate bars, chopped - pretty, eh? - or 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 13 X 9" cake pan.

Using a wooden spoon, cream together butter, oil, and sugars. Add yogurt or buttermilk, then the eggs one at a time, then the vanilla, stirring well after each addition.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour and cocoa powder. Stir in the baking soda, salt and spices.

Gradually add wet ingredients to dry. Stir in grated zucchini.

Pour cake batter into prepared pan and smooth out using a rubber spatula. Evenly distribute the chocolate chunks or chips on top of cake. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until a knife in center comes out with only melted chocolate on it, and not uncooked cake batter. Allow to cool for at least 15 minutes before cutting and serving. (This isn't a must-be-served-warm cake. It's good on day three or four or seven, in fact.)


If, by the way, you find yourself still overwhelmed with zucchini after you make this fantastic cake, here are a few other tried-and-true recipes for you to add to your mix. The Paula Deen one is phenomenal.

Zucchini Salsa Verde - great as is, but wonder if roasting veggies first would be even better?
Summer Squash Enchiladas - super good homemade enchilada sauce; feels v. fancy!

These I have not tried but want to: Peanut-Soy Squash Pancakes. Hopefully I'll make them before my ten days are up. Heaven knows I have the squash for it.


  1. If you ever link to Sandra Lee again, I might have to stop reading your blog!

    Sorry to use such harsh language but there are not enough words for how much I hate everything about her.

    On a positive note, I love your dinner menu.

  2. I don't know anything about her except that she used cake mixes. She was the first hit on my food network search. I can't afford to lose readers, so I won't link to her again.

  3. about the zuch cake. yet another YUM. we had hopes of keeping it until tonight to have with our soup, but we both wanted to just have a quick nibble last night. shabam! gone within a couple moments.