my ultimate chocolate cake.

those who knew me well before i met my husband know that i am not one for chocolate. i love sugar. but, for me, it is about salt and sweet, or tart and sweet. or just a hell of a lot of sweet. or lemons and sweet, which is a whole other category.

chocolate is something that is difficult for me to grasp at, particularly in cake form. i find the combination of flavour + texture to be too much. and chocolate with more sugar? no thank you.* also, if i am going to be making a cake with vegetable or fruit, i expect it to be savoury or spicey, not chocolatey. do not give me chocolate-banana cake, i will not eat it.**

this was an attempt to find use for the zucchini i bought last week on a whim. i’ll make zucchini loaf, i said. and zucchini latkes! neither happened. i got busy. things happened. but things with zucchini, not so much.

maybe it was meant to be. because on sunday, i decided i would make chocolate-zucchini cake. it would please our friends and get rid of the zucchini in our house. and maybe i would put on some cream cheese icing, because that would help cut the chocolate.

um. wow. i had no idea how good this cake would be. folks, this is my ultimate chocolate cake. it is rich, but not stick-to-your-mouth rich. it is chocolatey, but not overly sweet. it is at once dense and delicate. and for all that there is zucchini in it, you couldn’t tell.

eating cake two days in a row is a rare feat for me. but i did. one piece last night and (don’t tell my husband) one today at lunch. it is just. that. good.

cake, nom.

chocolate zucchini cake
based loosely on a recipe from bon appetit
makes one very deep 9-inch cake or 24 cupcakes

2 1/4 cups sifted all purpose flour
1/2 cup black cocoa powder (you could use dutch processed)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 1/2 cups grated unpeeled zucchini (about 3 medium)

sift flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt into medium bowl.
beat sugar, butter and oil in large bowl until well blended.
add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. beat in vanilla extract.
mix in dry ingredients alternately with buttermilk in 2 additions each.
mix in grated zucchini.
pour batter into prepared pan.

for one very deep, 9-inch cake bake at 325F for about 1 hour, 20 minutes.
for two 9-inch cakes bake at 325F for about 40 minutes.
for cupcakes bake at 325F for 18-20 minutes.

use your preferred tester to make sure that the cake is done.
allow to cool for at least 30 minutes before removing.

brown sugar cream cheese icing
makes enough for 1 very deep cake (about 2 1/2 cups worth)

1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup cream cheese

beat together ingredients until soft and well mixed.

*case in point: when i worked at starbucks, i ordered a carmel mocha, which at the time was 4 pumps caramel, 4 pumps chocolate and two shots of espresso. i almost threw up. so. much. chocolate-sweet.
** wow, i sound so picky. i probably will eat it, but it’s not my preference.

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