Zucchini in chocolate cake? I was skeptical at first too :) I've actually never tried zucchini bread or any of the other baked goods that use zucchini in them, but I decided months ago that this would be the summer that I'd make my first attempt! I picked up one zucchini and had every intention of making a simple zucchini bread. Then this recipe for chocolate zucchini cake started popping up in my Google Reader and I began to reconsider. The cake was getting raves and it looked so delicious! I decided to give it a go.
I didn't make any modifications to the recipe, but I did squeeze some of the moisture out of the zucchini before adding it to the batter. I grated the zucchini with my box grater using the largest holes, so the pieces were fairly big. The only problem I ran into was with the chocolate chips for the icing. As the recipe instructs, I scattered them over the cake and returned it to the oven for a bit. Still, the chocolate chips weren't spreadable over the top of the cake. I just left them whole as a decorative topping instead! (In the end, I don't think it mattered as I don't believe this cake even requires any icing!)
The verdict? After the cake had cooled just a bit, I took a piece downstairs to Shane to try. To reiterate what a lot of you already know, Shane does not eat vegetables - at all. He would never have tried the cake if I'd told him there was zucchini in it so I left that tidbit out. He took a bite and declared the cake delicious - very chocolaty! I did tell him about the zucchini afterward and at that point he became much more skeptical about the cake though he did have one more piece even after the zucchini revelation so that says a lot about how much he liked the cake! I loved the cake - the zucchini adds incredible moistness but is otherwise completely undetectable. The cake sat on the counter covered with plastic wrap for a few days and only got better and more moist over time. I passed quite a few pieces along to my neighbor as well and she raved about it. She liked it so much in fact, that she asked if I'd use this recipe to make her son's birthday cake next month!
Chocolate Zucchini Cake
1/2 cup (1 stick, 4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) vegetable oil
1 3/4 cups (12 1/4 ounces) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1/2 cup (4 ounces) sour cream or yogurt
2 1/2 cups (10 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour
3/4 cup (2 1/4 ounce) Dutch-process cocoa
2 teaspoons espresso powder (optional)
2 cups shredded zucchini (about one 10" zucchini, about 12 ounces)
1/2 cup (3 ounces) chocolate chips
1 cup (6 ounces) chocolate chips, for icing
Preheat oven to 325 F. Lighlty grease a 9" x 13" pan. (I used cooking spray with flour.)
In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, oil, sugar, vanilla, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Beat in the eggs.
Stir in the sour cream or yogurt alternately with the flour. Then add the cocoa and espresso powder, mixing until smooth. Finally, fold in the zucchini and 1/2 cup chocolate chips.
Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Bake the cake for 30 to 35 minutes or until the top springs back lightly when touched, and it seems set. Slide the cake out of the oven, sprinkle it 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. Remove the cake from the oven, and use a cake spatula or rubber spatula to spread the chocolate chips into a smooth glaze. Cool on a rack.