Whenever a Sylvia Center staff birthday rolls around, the search is on for a recipe that is celebratory, interesting, delicious, and features what we have on hand in the garden. The opportunity to please the palates of a group that loves to eat and eat well is one that is not taken lightly! Aly, our garden manager and educator, turned another year older during our Farm Camp in August, and this Zucchini Cake with Chocolate Icing not only met the standards of our staff, but the sophisticated taste buds of our farm campers, too.
Zucchini is at the very top of our short list of go-to vegetables that can be incorporated into desserts. This is the time and place for those overgrown zucchini that you aren’t quite sure what to do with because the flesh is perfect for baking. Grated zucchini is easily folded into the batter of baked goods, lending itself to a moist and flavorful treat. For an icing that is ever so easy, take the cake out of the oven five minutes before it’s done baking and sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top, then return it to the oven. When the cake has completed baking, let it cool for five minutes, then gently remove from each pan. Spread the melted chocolate chips on one of the rounds until you’ve made a smooth, decadent glaze. Next, place the unglazed cake on top of the other and again, spread out the melted chocolate, this time covering the sides, too. If you’re like us and want a pop of color, sprinkle edible flowers like nasturtium, calendula, borage or anything with a mild flavor to create a true birthday beauty.
Zucchini Cake with Chocolate Icing
Adapted from King Arthur Flour
1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) butter
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1/2 cup sour cream, buttermilk, or yogurt
2 1/2 cups flour + more
3 cups shredded zucchini (about one 10″ zucchini)
1 cup chocolate chips
1.Preheat the oven to 325°F. Lightly grease two 9″ round cake pans.
2. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter, oil, sugar, vanilla, baking soda, baking powder, and salt until smooth.
3. Beat in the eggs.
4. Stir in the sour cream, buttermilk, or yogurt alternately with the flour.
5. Fold in the zucchini. Spoon the batter into the prepared pans distributing batter evenly.
6. Bake the cakes for 30 to 35 minutes, until the top springs back lightly when touched, and it seems set.
7. To ice the cake: Slide the cakes out of the oven, sprinkle each one evenly with the 1 cup chocolate chips, and return it to the oven for 5 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
8. Remove the cakes from the oven, and let cool for five minutes. Remove the cakes from their pans and starting with one of the cakes, use a cake spatula or rubber spatula to spread the chocolate chips into a smooth glaze. Place the unglazed cake on top of the other and again, spread out the melted chocolate, this time covering the sides, too. Finish cooling on a rack. Top with edible flowers of your choice before serving.