Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Yes! Zucchini in your chocolate cake! This cake is light, satisfying, and super nutritious as far as cakes go. We love it around here, especially when we don’t know what to do with all our zucchini!

There are two ways to make this cake: the normal way and the “soaked” way. If you’ve never heard of soaking your grains, let me explain briefly. Whole grains, though they are more nutritious than their refined counterparts, contain substances that block your body’s ability to absorb them. However, if you soak them in an acidic medium (such as cultured milk or water mixed with lemon juice or apple cider vinegar) for several hours, you neutralize some of these substances (called phytates) and make the grains easier to digest.

So I’ve taken this original recipe (found in King Arthur Whole Grain Baking) and modified it for soaking to make this already nutritious cake even better for you! I’ll give you instructions for making it both ways, in case you don’t want to mess with soaking.

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 t. baking soda
  • 1 t. baking powder
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1 – 1 1/2 c. brown sugar or, even better, an unrefined sugar such as sucanat (alter according to how sweet you like your desserts)
  • 1/2 c. unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup cultured buttermilk (plain yogurt mixed with a little water works too)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 2 c. shredded zucchini, with some of the liquid squeezed out
  • 1 c. chocolate chips

Glaze ingredients

  • 1/2 c. heavy cream
  • 3/4 c. chocolate chips
  • 2 t. honey

Directions for Un-soaked version

(scroll down for glaze instructions)

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease a 9×13 or Bundt pan.
  2. Whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.
  3. Stir together the sugars and butter in a large mixing bowl until smooth.
  4. Add the buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla to the butter and sugar; mix well.
  5. Add half the dry ingredients to the wet, stirring until moistened.
  6. Stir in the zucchini, then the remaining flour mixture.
  7. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  8. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until the top springs back when touched, 45-50 minutes.
  9. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack for 15 minutes before removing from the pan (I don’t remove it from the pan if I use a 9×13).

Directions for the Soaked Version

(Begin the day before you want to bake your cake.)

  1. Mix together the flour, buttermilk, and softened butter (I use my stand mixer). Mix until all the flour is moistened. If there is not enough liquid to moisten the flour add some of your sugar (make a note about how much you added so you can add the rest the next day).
  2. Cover with a damp towel, and place plate on top of the towel. Leave in a warm place (next to a crock pot, in the oven with the light on, or on top of the refrigerator, for example) 7-24 hours.
  3. When you are ready to bake your cake, preheat the oven to 350 and grease a 9×13 or Bundt pan.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together the cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  5. Mix the soaked mixture to break it up a bit. Add the sugar, eggs, and vanilla and mix thoroughly to break up any clumps. (This may take a few minutes but be patient!)
  6. Add half the cocoa mixture, then the zucchini, then the rest of the cocoa mixture.
  7. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  8. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until the top springs back when touched, 45-50 minutes.
  9. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack for 15 minutes before removing from the pan (I don’t remove it from the pan if I use a 9×13).

Directions for Chocolate Glaze

  1. Heat the cream to a simmer on the stove.
  2. Place the chocolate chips in a heat-proof bowl and pour the cream over them. Add the honey.
  3. Stir until there are no more lumps and the mixture is smooth.
  4. Drizzle over the cooled cake.

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