Chocolate & Zucchini Cake

chocolate & zucchini cake with walnuts

When I asked my husband what he wanted for his birthday dinner, he responded with a list of ingredients. It was funny at first, but I also loved the challenge of it. It felt like an Iron Chef episode! Chocolate and zucchini jumped out at me together, because I wanted to use his requested ingredients but still surprise him. Hence, this Chocolate and Zucchini Cake, with a chocolate ganache shell.

plum blossoms

 

My recipe was inspired by “Flora’s Famous Zucchini Cake” from Nigella’s How to Be a Domestic Goddess: Baking and the Art of Comfort Cooking. My buddy Applemint‘s Chocolate Frosting, which she has used on her amazing cakes, was the basis for my chocolate ganache shell.

Of course I had to change things around, as I always do. I did not want to use eggs, heavy cream cheese frosting, or the lime curd that “Flora’s” cake called for. My recipe follows my food style of fresh, vegetarian, light, and healthy foods. Even a chocolate cake can be delicious with fresh vegetables :)My food style is representative of the way many eat and live in Seattle — in fact, Seattle was recently chosen as the number one U.S. city for healthy living by Cooking Light. As they put it, Seattle “best fit our philosophy to eat smart, be fit, and live well. An abundance of fresh local foods, walker-friendly streets, and inclusive attitudes helps make Seattle America’s best city for healthy living.” Our neighbors in Portland, Oregon ranked second, proving that our whole region enjoys unrivaled good-food-living. Cooking Light published their list to celebrate 20 years as the world’s largest epicurean magazine. Pictured next to the cake are the early Spring Flora I see everyday while walking to & from work. Cheers to Seattle, Portland, and to Healthy Living!

 

chocolate & zucchini cake with walnuts

I used:
1 big zucchini, finely shredded (next time I’ll use 2, to make the cake even more moist)
2 eggs replaced with Ener-G Egg Replacer
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour (Nigella suggests self-rising flour, which I’ll try next time, too)
1/2 tspn baking soda
1/2 tspn baking powder
2 tbsn dark, unsweetened cocoa

For the sauce:
1/2 cup chopped dark chocolate or bittersweet chocolate chips of your choice
1/4 – 1/2 cup heavy cream (equal or more cream than melted chocolate makes the best ganache)
1 tbsn butter
1/4 cup toasted walnuts or any of your choice.

My method:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 F (175 C)
2. Mix oil, sugar, and egg replacer.
3. Sift in the dry ingredients, and mix until combined.
4. Pour into a greased, 8″ cake pan.
5. Bake for about 30 minutes — until the cake is firm and brown, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
6. Let it cool for some time in the pan and then slowly transfer it to a wire rack over a plate, to frost.
7. Over a double boiler, heat the butter on low heat.
8. Add chocolate and cream, and stir till it melts.
9. As soon as the ingredients melt & combine, take it off the heat.
10. Pour it over your cake, by starting in the middle and letting it spread out.
11. You can even-out the chocolate sauce with a spatula, or be creative as you like πŸ™‚
12. Lastly, toss on walnuts or nuts of your choice before the chocolate starts to dry.
13. Let it cool to room temperature, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

plum blossoms