Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Chocolate & Zucchini Cake

When I first read about this cake (yesterday) in Chocolate & Zucchini (Clotilde Dusoulier) I was very intrigued, I had to bake this cake and very, very soon.

It was very lucky that I had two courgettes sitting in my vegetable box just screaming out to be enveloped in a rich chocolate batter. I mean, lets face it getting smothered in chocolate isn't a bad thing to happen is it?

Despite my enthusiasm to try to out a new recipe, especially such an interesting one, I had my doubts about how it would turn out. Courgettes and olive oil in a sweet bake, it just didn't sound at all right in the scheme of things.

How wrong could I be? Immensely, judging by my friends and families reactions; lots of oohs, ahhs and mmms. No one could believe the cake contained courgette. It just added a fluffy moistness and the chocolate chips added a little crunch. The cocoa powder as usual brings a rich deepness to the whole episode.

The recipe provides a choice with the fat - butter or olive oil. I used an Umbrian extra virgin olive oil which I'd bought in a small bottega during my holiday in Assisi last spring, which lent a peppery tang. Next time I'll try using unsalted butter, which I think will make the cake slightly more moist and fluffy.

I topped the cake with melted white chocolate, mini gold dragees and silver sugar hearts.

The Recipe:

110g unsalted butter at room temperature, or 120ml extra virgin olive oil plus 1 pat butter or teaspoon olive oil for greasing.

240g plain flour

60g unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

180g light brown sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 teaspoon instant coffee granules

3 large eggs

350g unpeeled grated zucchini from about 1 1/2 medium zucchini - keep the remaining half-zucchini for optional garnish

160g good-quality bittersweet chocolate chips

Confectioner's sugar or melted bittersweet chocolate (optional)

Serves 12.

1. Preheat the oven to 180'c and grease a 25cm spring form pan with butter oil oil.

2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In a food processor, process the sugar and butter until creamy (you can also do this by hand, armed with a sturdy spatula). Add the vanilla, coffee granules, and eggs, mixing well between each addition.

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

4. Add the zucchini and chocolate chips to the reserved flour mixture and toss the coat. Fold into the batter and blend with a wooden spoon - don't overmix. Pour into the prepared cake pan and level the surface with a spatula.

5. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until a knife inserted in the centre comes out clean. 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. Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar, glaze with melted chocolate, or decorate with a few slices of raw zucchini (you don't have to eat them though).


Ilana said...

Looks beautiful, George. :)) Thank you for introducing us all to your culinary world. :)


annauk said...

That looks lovely George.
Have you tried 'Flora's courgette cake' from HTBADG? That's really good too.

Ms O said...

Yummy, George! I'd love to sink my teeth into a slice of that cake.

Lea x

Kitchen Goddess said...

Hi Anna Flora's courgette cake hasn't been attempted yet here, it's bookmarked as a must try. As soon as I get some more courgettes I'll give it a go.


Kelly-Jane said...

I've made Flora's one, and chocolate could only make it better! Looks great.

Sandy said...

Oh, it's looks delicious George. I have been wondering about the rest of the book though, do you like it?

Kitchen Goddess said...

Sandy I've had this book for a few months now and confess that apart from the initial flicking through I've hardly touched it. However over the last couple of days I've began to read it thoroughly like a novel and I'm loving it - plenty of nice stories, good writing, delicious sounding recipes and plenty of scope for variation and adding my own twist to recipes, which is always good.

loulou73 (from N.com) said...

George, I didn't realise you have a blogg now...(not sure how i missed that bit of info.) Wow, this blogg is great KG....keep it up, i will def be a regular here!!! Merci
Loulou73 x

Paola said...

I love Clotilde's book, George. Your cake looks fantastic. I guess I must try it soon, because like you, I was also a little reluctant about this recipe.

EAT! said...

I make zucchini brownies - no one even knows the zucchini is in the recipe! They are delicious and super moist.

Natalya said...

I have seen this recipe before on Clotilde's site but I admit something stopped me from trying this recipe. I think it goes from the fact that the courgettes are used, which is quite unusual for a dessert recipe.
I promise i will give it a try as I am curious to see what the taste will be.