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Thursday, November 5, 2015

Hidden Treasure

Truth be told, I've never been all that fond of hiding vegetables in other foods.  I know Jessica Seinfeld has made a career of hiding carrots and spinach in brownies, but I'm just not that sneaky.  (For the record,  I tried Jessica's recipe for "Healthy Brownies" and all I could taste was vegetables.  Maybe it was because I knew there was spinach hiding in the batter, or maybe it was because the very idea of tainting something as truly delicious as a brownie with spinach was offensive and distasteful to me... I'm not sure.)

So we have established that I am not a vegetables in cakes kind of gal.  That is until I tried this really absurdly good recipe from my go-to bundt cake cookbook Cake Keeper Cakes by Lauren Chattman.

This chocolate-zucchini bundt cake reminds me a little of a chocolate chip bundt my mother used to make.  It was really chocolatey and had lots of chocolate chips scattered throughout.  One thing I can be sure was not on the ingredient list was zucchini.  (Until I was an adult, I actually thought zucchini was a soft and mushy vegetable because my mother, once she discovered it, cooked it to within an inch of its life.  I think I am safe in assuming that zucchini would never have made an appearance in a chocolate cake, or any other cake for that matter.)

Here's the thing about zucchini.  Because it has such a high water content, and because it doesn't have a particularly strong taste,  really the only thing it adds to this cake is moisture.  The end result is the most chocolately, rich, delicious, moist cake around.

The really good news is that we can all pretend that we're eating something far better for us than your average chocolate cake.  Or we can all pretend that there isn't anything green  in the cake.  Either way, it works for me.

Recipe:  Chocolate-Zucchini Bundt Cake
Cake Keepers Cakes, by Lauren Chattman


1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder plus more for dusting the pan
1/2 cup sour cream
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 cups coarsely shredded zucchini
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup sliced almonds


Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease a 12-cup Bundt pan and dust with unsweetened cocoa powder.
Whisk together the sour cream, eggs, and vanilla in a large glass measuring cup. Whisk together the flour, 1/2 cup cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and espresso powder in a medium bowl.

Combine the butter and sugars in a large mixing bowl and cream with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice as necessary.

With the mixer on low speed, add 1/3 of the flour mixture and beat until incorporated. Add 1/2 of the sour cream mixture. Repeat, alternating flour and sour cream mixtures and ending with the flour mixture, scraping down the sides of the bowl between additions.Stir in the zucchini, chocolate chips, and nuts.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then invert it onto a wire rack to cool completely. Slice and serve.

Store uneaten cake in a cake keeper or wrap in plastic and store at room temperature for up to 3 days.

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