Exhibit A: a normal sized courgette, green, with a medium sized yellow summer squash. Both can also be referred to as zucchini. Not pictured, lo zucchino grandissimo (THE HUGE ZUCCHINI, singular) which was utilized in the recipes referenced below. Yes, that’s cakes plural, and it only reduced my zucchini count by 1.
It’s the time of year when the zucchini can get very large. In this season, in some cultures (Maine, for example), this is the single item where what is usually seen as generosity (the anonymous [or not] free donation of foodstuffs) can be considered an act of hostility. We’re not kidding when we say that the only time that rural Mainers lock their cars is when zucchini is in its runaway stage.
I have found two very good zucchini cake recipes… one from the famous blog of Clotilde Dusoulier, Chocolate and Zucchini, for Chocolate Zucchini cake, and one (non-chocolate) from another recipe site, allrecipes.com. Given the amount of zucchini around this time of year, it may be necessary to dig for my paternal grandmother’s recipe, and make one of those, too.
To prove that there is some originality in this content, there were modifications made in this episode. Due to the fact that we don’t have hazelnuts right now, we didn’t make the hazelnut topping for Clotilde’s cake, and we used a variation of the other recipe, to replace half the oil with applesauce, and to add more zucchini, which a recipe tester had said did not affect the result. For us, however, it did. This made for a much moister cake, which needed more time in the oven.
In the interest of journalistic integrity, we had perfect results with Clotilde’s recipe, as we have several times in the past. However, I must tell you that the classic zucchini cake came out VERY moist, (DUH, as I think in retrospect), but according to DH, it was not a failure because it tastes good. My engineering-attention-to-detail self was not completely present this weekend. Personally, I consider the result a bit embarrassing.
What to do with the over-moist cake? I could still take it to work, since people there will eat any food that is put out on a certain table in the break room, with potential damage my reputation for very high quality output. Perhaps if DH takes it to church today, the congregation will forgive and understand my failings?
Please let me know, readers, is it better to know that I produce sub-optimal results, and show my humanity, or are you reading this for America’s Test Kitchen quality with a less obsessive tone? Or is it something else entirely?
OK, enough whining. On to the evidence. Let’s start with the chocolate cake, shall we?
The method for the chocolate cake involves mixing the wet ingredients (eggs, butter, vanilla) with the sugar, then sifting the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, soda, salt, cocoa) together. One half cup of the dry ingredients are reserved, to be tossed with the grated zucchini and chocolate chips, while the other dry ingredients are mixed with the wet ones, as shown above. This is a very thick batter.
The two are folded together, and then put in the prepared (greased and “floured” with cocoa) baking pan.
Clotilde uses a springform pan, but I like the Kugelhopf shape for presentation:
It’s not picture-perfect, but none of its issues are anything a pretty plate and a dusting of powdered sugar wouldn’t hide. “Flouring” a Kugelhopf pan evenly takes some practice, whether you are using flour or cocoa. DH and I are still perfecting our technique on this.
And now “Mom’s Zucchini Bread” as cake:
I should have suspected this would be overly moist…
And finally, it DOES look like a cake:
I really should have baked this longer. But evidently the UU members appreciated it enough to eat most of it.