Or maybe I should have entitled this post “The Tale of Five Recipes Made from One Monster of a Zucchini”. Fellow summer vegetable gardeners probably know what I’m talking about when I refer to monster–sized zucchini. You know how it is. You plant your veggies as soon as the weather turns summer–like. You patiently wait for them to grow and ripen so you can try them out in new recipes and blog about it. (They never seem to grow quickly enough in the early stages, do they?) Then they finally start taking shape, but still not quite to size or recipe–worthy ripeness. You leave for vacation, confident that they will be perfect when you return ten days later. Most veggies grow slowly enough to make that thought feasible. Zucchini don’t. Once they start growing, there’s no stopping them (apparently). I came back to find my once baby–sized zucchini had grown into something horror–flick sized. Porn star–sized even!
Finding this 3#15oz/20″ long zuke in my garden was the equivalent of finding a baby on my doorstep. I had to act, and act fast! This post and the upcoming ones will document the resulting recipes I was able to make with one zucchini (which I affectionately named Zukezilla). There were five recipes in total; all delicious and repeat make–worthy. Follow along with me as I tell The Tale of Zukezilla.
Recipe one is from Zoe Bakes, one of my favorite baking sites. Zoe humorously recounts her own beastly–sized zucchini story along with her recipe for this fantastically moist, perfectly not too sweet cake. Chocolate aficionados will love it, as will veggie haters as there is no chance of them ever guessing there’s zucchini lurking in this scrumptious dessert. It was so good, in fact, that it passed off as a birthday celebration cake. The leftovers were enjoyed the next day warmed up and topped with vanilla ice cream. It really doesn’t need much else than a sprinkling of confectioner’s sugar to finish it off (except maybe a nice dessert wine, of course!).
WI wine recommendation: The rule of thumb when pairing wine with dessert is to choose wine with a slightly sweeter character than the dessert. Since this dessert isn’t too sweet (but intensely chocolate), we enjoyed some extra–dry sparkling wine with it. A sparkling Moscato or a Tawny Port would have been good alternative choices.
Chocolate Zucchini Cake
(from Zoe Bakes)
2 cups (10 ounces) unbleached all–purpose flour; scoop and sweep
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup brown sugar, well packed
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup plain yogurt
2 cups grated unpeeled zucchini, tightly packed
4 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled to room temperature
Confectioners’ sugar for the top of the cake
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Grease and flour a 10–inch Bundt pan; set aside.
Cut the tops and bottoms of the zucchini off, and then cut into quarters. Remove the seeds if they are large and at all tough. Use a box grater (or the grater attachment for a food processor) and grate the zucchini.
Sift together the flour, soda, salt and cocoa powder; set aside.
In a stand mixer, cream together the butter, brown sugar and sugar using the paddle attachment (until it is light and fluffy). Slowly add the oil until it is evenly distributed. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each. Beat in the vanilla extract.
Add the dry ingredients, alternating with the yogurt in 3 additions each.
Remove from the mixer and stir in the grated zucchini until it is evenly distributed.
Stir in the melted/cooled chocolate. Pour batter into the prepared pan.
Bake in the middle of the oven for about one hour or until a tester comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan until nearly room temperature (you should be able to comfortably handle it).
Dust with confectioners’ sugar and serve with fresh whipped cream or ice cream.