Sunday, July 1, 2007

Celebrating the First of July With Chocolate and Zucchini Cake

I was excited and eager to try out a recipe from the cookbook, Chocolate and Zucchini by a veteran food blogger, Clotilde Dusoulier. Clotilde is Parisian and has a beautiful website that chronicles her food adventures in Paris and offers plenty of useful, practical and relatively simple recipes. Her new cookbook is no different. I've been enjoying reading about Clotilde's culinary quests in the City of Light--her shopping adventures, her stories behind the recipes, her advice on how to stock one's pantry, and the beautiful photographs that she herself took for the cookbook.
There are several recipes in her book that I can't wait to make but for today I decided on the chocolate and zucchini cake. I have never baked a cake with chocolate and zucchini as its main ingredients. Zucchini bread, yes. But chocolate with zucchini? Nope!
This recipe was quite simple to prepare. The only labor intensive part was shredding the zucchini but my arm needed a work out anyways.
I used a bundt pan instead of the spring form pan that she suggests and the cake turned out beautifully.
My boyfriend thought it was "very nice" with just the right degree of moistness and chocolaty-ness. He thought it needed some frosting though. Instead, I dusted it with some powdered sugar and added a few fresh raspberries. Well, you be the judge. Bon Appetit!
Chocolate and Zucchini Cake (by Clotilde Dusoulier)
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature
2 cups AP flour
1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powdered (I used regular cocoa pwdr and it worked fine)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt (I used regular salt)
1 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon instant coffee granules
3 large eggs
2 cups unpeeled grated zucchini (about 1 and 1/2 medium zucchinis)
1 cup good-quality chocolate chips (I used milk chocolate)
Powdered sugar for garnish (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, and grease a 10-inch spring form pan with butter or oil (can also use a bundt cake pan)
2. In large mixing bowl: whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Put this aside and mix together the sugar and butter until creamy (I did this by hand with a strong spatula). Add the vanilla, coffee granules, and eggs, mixing well between each addition.
3. Reserve 1 cup of the flour mixture and add the rest to the egg mixture. Mix until just combined; you will have a thick batter.
4. Add the zucchini and chocolate chips to the reserved flour mixture and toss to coat. Fold into the batter and blend with a rubber spatula--do not over mix.
Pour into the cake pan and level the surface with a spatula.
5. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer to a rack to cool for 10 minutes, then loosen the cake and transfer to a plate.
Let the cake cool to room temperature before serving. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve with fresh raspberries if you like.

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