So, I developed this double chocolate zucchini cake recipe a few weeks ago, in anticipation of a farm dinner at which I was expected to bring dessert. I posted a pic of my efforts on Instagram, and sight-unseen, I had folks demanding the recipe. Awfully nice when that happens, and so I felt obliged to post about this cake a wee bit sooner than I had intended.
I actually first developed this recipe last summer when my husband presented me with a couple of enormous, overgrown zucchini and begged me to make use of them. However, the larger the zucchini, the less moist it is, and the more woody. Needless to say, the cake was not great, and I tabled the recipe. Cut to a year later, when I was puzzling over what dessert to prepare for the aforementioned farm dinner — with produce from said farm, no less — and I remembered my chocolate zucchini cake. The recipe was unearthed and the rest is history.
I had done a bit of chocolate zucchini cake research when I had originally developed the recipe and I revisited the various recipes I’d looked at, like this, this, this, and this. And my take-away, you ask? My cake would be baked in a loaf pan and would be moist from more zucchini than what might seem necessary, as well as a generous amount of oil, and a smidge of buttermilk. It would contain chocolate chips, as well as kind of a lot of dutch process cocoa powder (for flavor and color), plus espresso powder — all in an effort to make sure the cake screamed chocolate.
And to top this double chocolate zucchini cake? Why, cinnamon cream cheese whipped cream, from my book, Icebox Cakes, of course. Although, truth be told, it needs no adornment. One could just as easily slice it straight from the oven when the chips are molten, and enjoy it without a care in the world about frostings and toppings and such. Let’s just say, I speak from experience.
double chocolate zucchini cake with cinnamon cream cheese whipped cream
for the cake
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup dutch process cocoa powder
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp espresso powder
- 2 cups chocolate chips
- 4 cups shredded zucchini shredded in a food processor, or with a box grater
- 1 cup oil
- 3 large eggs
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup buttermilk
for the whipped cream
- 1 1 ∕2 cups/340 g cream cheese at room temperature
- 3 cups/720 ml heavy cream
- 1 cup/130 g confectioners’ sugar
- 1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 1 ∕2 tsp ground cinnamon
to make the cakes
- preheat the oven to 350-degrees. spray two 9x5-inch loaf pans and line the bottoms and short sides with parchment paper. spray again.
- combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, and espresso powder in a medium bowl and whisk til fully incorporated. add the chips and whisk again. add the shredded zucchini and, ideally using your hands, coat the zucchini in the flour mixture. set aside.
- in a large bowl, combine the oil, eggs, vanilla, two sugars, and buttermilk. whisk vigorously til fully incorporated. add the dry to the wet, and gently fold the two together using a rubber spatula. when there are still some streaks of flour, stop folding.
- evenly transfer the batter to the two prepared pans. bake for about 50 minutes, rotating the pans after 30, and checking on the cakes at 45. the cakes are done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a moist crumb or two.
- let the cakes cool until you can touch their pans with your bare hands. pop the cakes from the pans, and allow them to cool to room temp, or not. serve slices with a dollop of cream cheese whipped cream. recipe follows.
to make the cream
- refrigerate the bowl of a stand mixer and the whisk attachment (or a medium metal bowl and beaters from a hand mixer) until quite cold, about 15 minutes.
- once chilled, remove the bowl and whisk from the refrigerator, add the cream cheese, and whip it on medium speed until smooth. add the cream and continue to whip on medium speed until the cream is incorporated.
- add the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon and, on medium-high speed, whip the cream mixture until it holds stiff peaks that stand upright when the whisk is raised. use it immediately.
shredded zucchini: i like mine shredded fairly fine, fyi.
the whipped cream is from my book icebox cakes - it is the cream layered with the red velvet wafers for the red velvet icebox cake.