This is the time of the year when monster squash appear in baskets at church and in the workplace with an encouraging sign “Take Me!” You’ve probably heard the old line about not leaving your car unlocked in the early Fall, for fear that someone will break in and leave you lots of very large squash.
Giant squash! Photo by Felicia Orth
Zucchini and patty pan, in particular, grow enthusiastically and sometimes unseen in the garden until they are the size of Linus’ Great Pumpkin; but they are not suitable for Jack O’Lanterns. When the family has had their fill of Calabacitas, sautéed squash with fresh tarragon, and baked squash with garlic, I am not immune to the many ways in which zucchini can be shredded and added to cake batter.
This zucchini cake recipe, adapted to reduce sweetness and add spice, has the added charm of cocoa and chocolate chips; not even the most discerning taster will detect the vegetable inside. If you can, use the parchment muffin papers from the baking aisle, as the batter sticks significantly to ordinary muffin papers. Or bake in a standard loaf pan that has been well-greased and floured and double the baking time.
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup molasses
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon or nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 2/3 cups flour (a mix of whole wheat and all-purpose works well here)
- 2 cups zucchini, trimmed but not peeled, and shredded, lightly packed into measuring cup
- 3/4 cup chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 350°F; prepare 2 cupcake tins or one loaf pan.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk the first nine ingredients until smooth. Add the flour, and stir until well combined. Stir in the zucchini and chocolate chips.
Pour the batter into the prepared cupcake tins or loaf pan and bake for 30 minutes for cupcakes or 60 minutes for a loaf, until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, or a fingertip pressed into the center bounces back. Allow the loaf or cupcakes to cool for 10 to 15 minutes before turning out of the pan, and allow to cool completely at room temperature before serving.