I find zucchini a pretty blah vegetable*, as vegetables go. It turns all soggy and mushy when it’s stir-fried and has such a mild flavour that it’s almost unnoticeable in soups and stews. So what to do with a garden brimming with this blandest of vegetables? Well, cake, of course! The exact qualities that make zucchini unsuitable for cooking combine to make it one of the absolute greatest ingredients in baking. It lends a particular moistness to baked goods that just can’t be achieved with anything else. Plus, it combines well with chocolate – always a bonus! I’ve made a lot of zucchini loaves, cupcakes, muffins, and cakes in my time but I have never been as wowed by any of them as by this particular recipe that I found doing a completely random google search, on a website called Simply Recipes. This is a cooking blog run by a woman named Elise Bauer, and if her zucchini cake is any indication of the quality of recipes on the rest of her site, I will be back to try them. To be honest, I don’t know what it was about this cake that made it so good. It contains no butter (canola oil replaces it), tasted great even without cream cheese icing, and I (*gasp*) added no chocolate chips. This was just plain zucchini cake in all its glory. I did tweak the recipe slightly from the original, adding less sugar and more spices than suggested. Below is my ingredient list, but you can find the original here. At the risk of messing with a good thing, next time I might try replacing half the canola oil with apple sauce and maybe one or two of the eggs with banana or ground flax seed. For cream cheese frosting, I used my new go-to recipe that I learned from recently making the Blueberry Pull-Apart Bread (but seriously, it tastes pretty great without the icing too!).
To make the cake, whisk together the following ingredients:
- 2 cups flour
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp allspice
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
Beat together 3 eggs until they are frothy. Then beat in:
- 1.5 cups white, granulated sugar
- 1 cup vegetable oil (or replace half the oil with applesauce – no discernible difference in outcome!)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Add the wet to the dry (or the dry to the wet – whichever bowl is bigger) and stir in:
- 2 cups grated un-peeled zucchini (don’t squeeze out the liquid as some recipes recommend; it makes the cake extra moist!)
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 1 cup of chocolate chips (optional)
Pour batter into a greased 9×13 inch baking pan and bake at 350°F for 40 minutes. Cool completely before frosting.
*I am aware that if it’s got seeds, it’s considered a fruit. But I’m sorry, I just can’t bring myself to refer to zucchini as a fruit.