Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Holy Zucchini! My kingdom for a Zuke!!!

Last evening after a satisfying rain, Luscious Larry and I went ankle deep in clay mud looking for veggies. Are we nuts or do we just like playing in the mud? The obvious is of course, we are both nuts and kids at heart. Every farmer has to like getting dirty just a wee bit!
Wellsir, after the torrential rain of yesterday, our squash and zucchini have blown up. What do you do with a surplus of fat squash and zukes? I am going to carry some into work today for friends and co workers, along with a tempting taste of Chocolate Zucchini Cake !

Do you think that these green veggies can be turned into something so very tempting, delicious and omg, lip smacking good? To tempt you even more, I am giving you two exceptionally good recipes for the cake. One requires a fancier variation of the old fashioned southern Zuke Cake. Both are moist, tender and require a second piece when no one else is looking!
If you ever see some good looking zukes at a good price, buy them up, shred them and freeze them for great cooking in the winter when you are hankering for a zuke bread or cake!

Chocolate and Zucchini Cake

2 1/2 cups regular all-purpose flour, unsifted
1/2 cup cocoa
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup soft butter
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons grated orange peel
2 cups coarsely shredded zucchini
1/2 cup milk
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
Glaze (directions follow)

Preheat the oven to 350°F.
1 Combine the four, cocoa, baking powder, soda, salt, and cinnamon; set aside.
2 With a mixer, beat together the butter and the sugar until they are smoothly blended. Add the eggs to the butter and sugar mixture one at a time, beating well after each addition. With a spoon, stir in the vanilla, orange peel, and zucchini.
3 Alternately stir the dry ingredients and the milk into the zucchini mixture, including the nuts with the last addition.
4 Pour the batter into a greased and flour-dusted 10-inch tube pan or bundt pan. Bake in the oven for about 50 minutes (test at 45 minutes!) or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan 15 minutes; turn out on wire rack to cool thoroughly.
5 Drizzle glaze over cake.
Glaze: Mix together 2 cups powdered sugar, 3 Tablespoons milk, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat until smooth.

Cut in thin slices to serve. Makes 10-12 servings.

Chocolate Zucchini Cake for Southerners

* 2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 teaspoon baking powder
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1 teaspoon cinnamon
* 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
* 3 eggs
* 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
* 1/2 cup vegetable oil
* 3/4 cup buttermilk
* 1/2 pound raw zucchini, shredded
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
* confectioners' sugar

Generously grease and flour a 10-inch Bundt pan. Preheat oven to 350°.
Sift flour with baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and cocoa; set aside.

In a large mixing bowl with hand held electric mixer at high speed, beat eggs until light in color and fluffy. Gradually beat in granulated sugar until light and fluffy; beat in oil.

With mixer at low speed, beat in the sifted dry ingredients in 3 additions, alternating with the buttermilk.
Drain shredded zucchini; fold into the flour mixture along with vanilla and pecans. Spoon into prepared Bundt pan and bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until a wooden pick or cake tester inserted in center comes out clean.

Cool in pan on rack for 10 minutes, then remove from pan to cool completely. Sift confectioners' sugar over cake before serving.

I want to stress for those of you whom have never baked with zucchini before - really drain and squeeze the liquid out of them. Grate them coarsely and let them soak in a colander until you are ready to press the moisture out.

Duke, our 90 pound Bassett Hound, says he would LOVE to try out any goodie. He likes to sing for it! Sorry Duke, no chocolate for you!

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