“Healthy” Cake?

[No, I don’t think that is always an oxymoron]

I live in an apartment, and don’t have a garden — something I often yearn for in late summer, when tomatoes have reached their zenith — but I recently took advantage of a generous coworker’s zucchini plethora to make this cake. I found it on the blog of Kim O’Donnell, the Washington Post food writer who runs the “Live Online” chats, and adapted it a bit according to her directions and also according to my own ideas. The marriage of chocolate and zucchini may seem like a strange one, but sometimes opposites attract and this case these two definitely make it work.

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
11/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoons salt
1 large zucchini (or about 1 lb.) or more
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 cup vegetable or extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup applesauce
3 oz unsweetened baking chocolate
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Oil and flour the bottom and sides of a nonstick angel food cake pan or a bundt pan [I used a springform cake pan]. Mix the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Grate the zucchini and set aside.

Beat sugar and eggs with an electric mixer, on medium high speed, for about two minutes, until light in color and thickened. Gradually add oil in a steady stream while mixing. Continue to mix until batter is yellow in color (with olive oil, it will be slightly green) and thick, about 90 seconds.

Melt the baking chocolate and add it to the wet ingredients. Add the dry ingredients and mix. Add the grated zucchini and mix until incorporated. Add chocolate chips and stir again. Pour batter into prepared pan and spread evenly.

Place pan on a baking sheet and bake until a skewer comes out clean in the middle, about an hour.

I suspect that the eggs could be omitted entirely (though you might have to add a bit more applesauce), which would make the cake vegan. I also like to add as much zucchini as possible, not just for the health benefits but for the taste. I wonder if subsituting whole wheat pastry flour for the flour would alter the flavor too much.

It is delicious! I wasn’t sure at first, but after nibbling away furtively on slices I’ve brought to work for my “afternoon” snack (it’s become more of a mid-morning treat) I was won over, and will most certainly make it again. I reccommend that you do, too.


[yes, there is zucchini in there! a lot!]

nicole spiridakis © copyright 2023