Zucchini Adventures, Volume 1: Chocolate & Zucchini Cake

The weather in Berlin has been rainy for most of the summer, which is not ideal for most people. But anyone with a vegetable garden, might think otherwise. A colleague of mine belongs to the second group, and was nice enough to give me three zucchinis from his garden. Apparently, his crop was yielding so much bounty that both he and most of his friends can’t even look at the damn vegetable anymore. These things were serious in size and weight; three pieces weighed 2.7 kg (~6 lbs)! The largest of the lot weighed 1.1 kg (~2.4 lbs):

My brother had given me a cookbook a few Christmases ago, from a very well-known food blogger named Clothilde Dusoulier, named Chocolate and Zucchini. This seemed like the perfect time to try my hand at the blog’s namesake recipe for Chocolate Zucchini Cake. My German roommates couldn’t really quite believe that chocolate and zucchini would go together, but once they tried it, they were believers.

Gâteau Chocolat & Courgette

from the cookbook Chocolate and Zucchini (all credits to Clothilde Dusoulier)

Serves 12 (but I would push more on people so it would be closer to 8-10)

110 g unsalted butter at room temperature plus butter for greasing
240 g plain flour (I used cake flour)
60 g unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder (don’t skimp on quality!)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
180 g light brown sugar (I used a mix of 160g white sugar with 20g honey)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract (I used 1/4 tsp of pure vanilla paste)
1 tsp instant coffee granules
2 large eggs
350 g unpeeled grated zucchini (about 1.5 normal-sized zucchini, or in my case, ~1/3 a monster zucchini)
160 g good-quality bittersweet chocolate chips
Confectioner’s sugar for dusting

1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC and grease a 25 cm springform pan with butter.

2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt:

3. In a separate bowl, cream the sugar and butter together with a sturdy spatula until the sugar crystals are evenly distributed in the butter:

4. Add the vanilla, coffee granules, and eggs into the butter-sugar mixture, mixing well between each addition:

5. Reserve about 120g of the flour mixture and add the rest to the egg mixture. Mix until just combined; the batter will be thick.

6. Add the zucchini and chocolate chips to the reserved flour mixture and toss to coat. Fold into the batter and blend with a wooden spoon – don’t overmix!

7. Pour the batter into the buttered cake pan and level the surface with a spatula. Bake for 40-50 minutes, until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.

8. Transfer to a rack to cool for 10 minutes, run a knife around the pan to loosen the cake, and unclasp the sides of the pan. Let cool to room temperature before serving:

Once ready to serve, you can dust the cake with a layer of confectioners sugar for a bit of decoration. The smell of this cake was too intoxicating; we didn’t need to garnish it in order to enjoy it. This cake came out marvelously fluffy and moist throughout. The zucchini is really not noticeable or visible at all, and it really is a foolproof way to ensure that your cake isn’t dry. I strongly believe that the type of cocoa and the type of chocolate that you use makes a difference for this recipe, so I urge anyone that uses this recipe not to skim on these ingredients. This is definitely going to be a go-to recipe for me. Thanks bro!

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