Monday, March 8, 2010

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

I'm not sure why the idea of Chocolate Zucchini Cake was so appealing to me.  For whatever reason the thought of baking a Chocolate Zucchini Cake has tantalized me for some time now.  So I decided to bite the bullet and go ahead and make it.  =I have never never tasted a Chocolate Zucchini Cake, so I basically made the cake just so I could try it and see if the cake could possibly live up to what I hoped it could be.  Seeing as I have absolutely no baseline upon which to judge my cake against other cakes, all I can say is that I thought my cake was delicious.

The flavor of the cake is deeply chocolately, and the crumb is incredibly moist and fluffy.  You can't taste the zucchini, but it does help make the cake incredibly moist, as does the use of buttermilk.  The cake has a very light background flavor that reminded me of very chocolaty gingerbread, rather than a typical chocolate cake, but it's really hard to describe.  I think that the touch of cinnamon and the use of brown sugar in addition to the granulated sugar are the cause.  It's really unique so I like it.  I also like that the cake isn't as sweet as a lot of other cake recipes.  We left the walnuts out this time because Alex doesn't like nuts in baked goods, but I think that walnuts provide a wonderful textural contrast to the fluffy cake, as well as a slight bitterness that I always find very appealing in baked goods.  If you are using the walnuts, I would probably recommend cutting back on the amount of chocolate chips.  Even if you aren't adding walnuts, you can cut back on the amount of chocolate chips to cut back on sweetness and richness if that's your thing.  Originally I was thinking about slathering this cake in some cream cheese frosting, but it really doesn't need it.  And considering how much I love cream cheese frosting, that really says something!

Recipe after the jump!

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

2 cups sifted all purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 cups grated unpeeled zucchini 
1 cup good quality bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Butter and flour a 9-inch springform pan.  Stir together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in medium bowl.  Beat sugar, butter and oil in large bowl with hand-held electric mixer or stand mixer until well blended.  Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.  Beat in vanilla extract.  Mix in dry ingredients alternating with buttermilk, beginning and ending with buttermilk.  Fold in grated zucchini and 1/2 cup chocolate chips.  Pour batter into prepared pan.  Tap pan on counter to evenly distribute batter and smooth with spatula.  Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup chocolate chips and nuts (if using) over batter.

Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 40-50 minutes.  Cool cake completely in pan.

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