What’s in a name? Somehow, chocolate-and-zucchini do not incite great waves of excitement. I don’t know if this is the impetus of Clotilde Dusoulier’s beloved blog Chocolate and Zucchini, but it surely should be. As Clotilde aptly describes her Chocolate & Zucchini Cake, ‘the grated zucchini melds into the batter and the strands disappear… into a voluptuous chocolate flavored cake.’
Admittedly, chocolate is not my thing. But if there is anything that would change my mind, it would not be a flourless chocolate cake, or a rich chocolate truffle, it would be this cake. Right out of the oven, the charming exterior has a crisp brownie-like crust which is elegantly foiled by its light, well-constructed interior crumb.
Thanks to the mysterious zucchini addition, it is perfectly moist, and for a chocolate cake the butter/oil content is surprisingly low. It is a well-balanced cake, not too sweet, but deeply flavored with cocoa powder, chocolate bits, and a hint of coffee. Yes, it’s all of that.
Chocolate & Zucchini Cake
From Clotilde Dusoulier’s award winning blog, Chocolate and Zucchini. First published in April 2004 and updated in August 2017.
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature, or 1/2 cup olive oil, plus a pat butter or teaspoon oil for the pan
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons strong cooled coffee
3 large eggs
2 cups unpeeled grated zucchini, from about 1 1/2 medium zucchini
1 cup good-quality bittersweet chocolate chips or roughly chopped
Confectioner’s sugar or melted bittersweet chocolate (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 10-inch round springform pan or 8 1/2-inch square pan.
- In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
- In the bowl of a mixer, or by hand in a large mixing bowl, beat the sugar and butter until fluffy. Add the vanilla, coffee, and eggs, mixing well between each addition.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the zucchini, chocolate, and about a third of the flour mixture, making sure the zucchini strands are well coated and not clumping too much.
- Add the rest of the flour mixture into the egg batter. Mix until just combined; the batter will be thick. Fold the zucchini mixture into the batter, and blend with a spatula without overmixing.
- Pour into the prepared cake pan, and level the surface. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Don’t overbake.
- Transfer to a rack to cool for 10 minutes, run a knife around the pan to loosen, and unclasp the sides of the pan. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature. Sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar or a chocolate glaze if desired. Serves 12