August 13, 2009

Chocolate Zucchini Bundt Cake {Naptime Entertaining}

Last Saturday I pulled my daughter to the Cooperstown Farmers’ Market in her wagon. She loves wagon rides with me at the helm since I often increase our speed over bumps and let her zoom, slightly too fast, down hills. (The look of glee on her face when we race down the street makes me think I have a budding daredevil on my hands.)

When we arrived at the market she happily hopped out of the wagon and began vegetable shopping with me. Since August is the peak of farm season in Central NY, there is no limit to the amount of fresh vegetables available to us. I practically swoon over the amazing variety, loving the fact that my beloved zucchini are put in my bag still dirty from the garden bed, not from a transatlantic plane ride.


With the glut of zucchini this summer I thought nothing of picking up 4lbs of the stuff. The only thing that my daughter didn’t like about this is that she was displaced by the zucchini in the wagon, and forced to walk home. Despite this impressive haul I didn’t worry about any of it going bad, I love cooking with this vegetable and there is no end to the zucchini-themed dishes I’ve been enjoying. During July I made my Baked Zucchini & Tomatoes several times, along with a few loaves of my Zucchini-Applesauce bread. Then, last week I thought it was time to change it up a bit, and decided to make a decadent summer dessert, my Chocolate & Zucchini Bundt Cake.

When I am in the mood for a rich chocolate cake in the middle of August, this is always the recipe I turn to. It contains all the elements of perfect chocolate cake, the sour cream keeps it deliciously moist with a tender crumb, and the Dutch cocoa powder gives it a true deep chocolate flavor. To some the addition of zucchini seems strange, but it actually makes perfect sense. The shredded vegetable gives the cake additional moisture and tempers the sweetness of the sugar. (I also like to think the zucchini adds an element of health to this cake, though I can’t really claim this is any sort of health food.)

When I made this last week I was able bake the entire thing, from start to finish, during my daughter’s afternoon naptime. It was even able to cool completely so I could dust it with powdered sugar before she woke up. I didn’t bother telling everyone to wait until after dinner to take a bite, that never would work in our house. Instead we had a slice in late afternoon and it was a huge hit. In fact, the whole thing went from delicious to disappeared within 24 hours. It also means that I’ve used up well over half of my zucchini stash and am in need of more for my next round of meals. My daughter is thrilled to hear this since it means another wagon ride to the farmers’ market, which, to her, is the best part about Saturdays in the first place.

Recipe

Naptime’s Chocolate & Zucchini Bundt Cake

adapted from Edible Vineyard

Ingredients

1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1 ½ c. granulated sugar
2 ½ c. all-purpose flour
3 eggs
1 T. instant espresso, dissolved in 1 T. hot water
2 t. vanilla
2 c. grated zucchini (make sure zucchini is peeled and ends are trimmed prior to shredding)
½ c. sour cream
¾ c. cocoa powder
2 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
1 c. semisweet chocolate chips

Confectioners’ sugar for dusting

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 350. Butter and flour a 10-inch bundt pan.
2. In a bowl mix flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
3. In stand mixer, or a mixing bowl with a handheld mixer, cream together butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, and mix to combine. Add espresso, vanilla, sour cream and zucchini and mix on low until completely combined.
4. Working carefully with mixer on low, add dry ingredients until everything is completely combined.
5. Toss chocolate chips with a teaspoon of sugar and stir into the batter with a wooden spoon.
6. Pour batter in prepared pan and bake for 50-55 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean.
7. Allow cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Then invert it onto a wire rack and allow to cool completely. Once cake is room temperature dust it with confectioner sugar and serve.

Naptime Notes

Naptime Recipe Serving ideas

This recipe is a fantastic take on a traditional chocolate cake. The slightly vegetal flavor juxtaposes the rich cocoa perfectly, making it wonderful for serving to friends and family.

Naptime Stopwatch

Preparing this took about 1hr 15min, including baking time. It is well worth it to spend the time making it, it is a large cake that will last for days.

Naptime Reviews

My daughter, ever the chocolate feign, loved this cake, as did all the adults. We like it served with vanilla ice-cream or whipped cream.