One of the many reasons I love being at home for the summer is the weather. Summers here are temperate more often than not, and the sun shines close and with luck everything will be green and fresh.
With the summer weather comes the garden– and, when it comes to this, I am a regular hobbit. I love to head out in my bare feet and get into the earth. My feet get dirty and my arms get tan.
Working in the garden is instant gratification because it is so measurable. In fifteen minutes I can leave with either a row clean and weeded or a bucket full of berries– either way it’s a reward.
Dante, the family dog, loves being outside best of all. He’s trained not to get into the garden, so he’ll run around and use his imagination to play. He likes to catch the weeds when we throw them out of the garden.
Our garden always has zucchini, and no matter how few plants are planted, there always seems to be an overabundance of it!
Zucchini is great because it can be eaten in so many ways. When we have it fresh it finds its way into omelets, breads, pancakes. Sometimes we fry it up with parmesan and bread crumbs.
However, the best thing about zucchini is that you can sneak it into desserts… and the pretend it’s healthy! So with my daily chocolate craving hanging over my head, I decided to make some Zucchini Fudge Cake!
It’s super simple to make and uses a ton of zucchini– and is also relatively low-fat, so that’s even better! To make it more healthy, you could use some white whole wheat flour and substitute the oil for sugar free applesauce.
- 2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder
- 3 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon allspice
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- 2 large eggs
- 2 cups brown sugar
- 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 4 cups shredded zucchini (leave the skin on. If the zucchini is large then scrape out the seeds like a cantaloupe)
- 1 cup chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9X13 or 10X15 pan and then line with sheets of parchment, leaving a 2-3 inch overhang on the sides.
In a medium sized bowl, mix together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, allspice, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside.
In a mixer (or large bowl), mix together the eggs, brown sugar, vanilla, and oil.
Add the dry ingredients and mix.
Then add the grated zucchini and chocolate chips. (I have to admit, it seemed like a shame to throw in a bunch of green stuff into this lovely batter!)
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and use a rubber spatula to make sure it fills the corners and is smooth on top.
Bake for 35-40 min (longer if you used the smaller pan), until you can stick a toothpick in and it comes out with no wet crumbs sticking to it.
When it’s done, put the pan onto a cookie sheet and let it cool for two hours, until it is room temperature (it’s painful, but the cake needs to “set” or it will crumble away).
When the cake is cool, use the parchment to pull the cake out– you may need help! Then dust with powdered sugar and cocoa powder.
The cake is deliciously dense, fudgey, and moist and has an intense chocolate flavor, enhanced by the spices. It’s even better when heated up just a bit. We ate the cake with Snickerdoodle ice-cream from the local dairy– and the resulting combination was, as my grandmother said, “wicked.”
And, luckily for all of us, the cake is even better the next day! So you can enjoy it for even longer.
Enjoy this Zucchini Fudge Cake this summer!
Adapted from Sweet Pea’s Kitchen’s “Triple Chocolate Zucchini Brownies.”