Zucchini Chocolate Cake

It’s not clear who was the first to add zucchini to chocolate cake, but no doubt it was a wonderful idea, as the zucchini give the cake a very moist texture and enhances the chocolaty flavor.
If so far you were reluctant to try this unique combination, thinking that the zucchini texture and flavor will be too dominant, you’d be happy to know that it’s not noticeable at all. In fact, anyone who eats the cake without knowing it contains zucchini in it, will be surprised to learn it does.
This easy to prepare “all in one bowl” cake, is loved by young and old and is an excellent example of homey American baking. If you’re looking for a cake to serve as part of the dessert table on the coming 4th of July brunch, it is the perfect choice. The fact it keeps well at room temperature for a few hours is an added bonus in such events. Baked in a large pan, as I’ve done here, will give enough portions to feed a crowd. Try it and enjoy.

Notes:
* I find the cake to be sweet enough, but if you prefer a sweeter cake, increase the amount of sugar to 2 cups
* If you don’t have buttermilk, mix 1 cup whole milk with 2 tsp of fresh lemon juice and let it stand for a few minutes until it sours.
* The cake can keep, covered,  in the fridge for up to a week, or frozen for up to a month.

Makes: 24
Prep time: 20 minutes
Baking time: 40-45 minutes

Ingredients:
For the cake:
2 L eggs
½ cup brown sugar
1 cup sugar
½ cup oil
1 tsp vanilla
½ tsp espresso powder (optional)
1 cup buttermilk (see notes)
½ cup raw cocoa powder
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
3 cups coarsely grated zucchini (from 2-3 large)
½ cup mini chocolate chips
For the glaze:
4 Tbs milk
4 Tbs sugar
4 Tbs cocoa powder
4 Tbs (2 oz, 60 grams) butter, at room temperature
For garnish (optional): desiccated coconut, mint leaves, berries

1. Preheat the oven to 350F (175C). Line a 12” x 8” (20.5cm x 30cm) pan with baking paper.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, oil, vanilla and espresso powder. Add the buttermilk and whisk again. Add the cocoa powder, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Whisk briefly and add the zucchini and chocolate chips. Mix with a spatula and pour the batter into the prepared pan.
 
3. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes up almost dry. The cake should be moist, so make sure not to over bake it.
4. Take out of the oven, let cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool to room temperature.

5. The glaze: mix the milk, sugar and cocoa powder in a small pot. Cook on low heat for a minute. Mix well, add the butter and cook for 1-2 minutes, mixing, until an even glaze is formed. Cool slightly, mix well and spread all over the cake. Let the glaze set before cutting.
  

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