mom’s cocoa zucchini cake

Have you all heard Bill Cosby’s Chocolate Cake for Breakfast skit?  One of the all time greatest justifications for eating cake for breakfast – “Nutrition!  Eggs!  Milk!  Wheat!”  And also a pretty terrifying window into married life – “I’d always heard of people having a kinipshon.  You really don’t want to see one;” this in reference to Bill’s wife coming downstairs to find him and their 4 children eating cake for breakfast.  It’s brilliant.

In the spirit of having your cake and eating it too, I resurrected my mom’s highly nutritious (“vegetables!”) recipe for cocoa zucchini cake today.  It’s that time of year, when gardens abound with giant, unwieldy zucchinis that want nothing more than to be grated and turned into a nice cake.  Or, if sweet zucchini’s not your thing – try these savory pancakes with dill & feta.

My mom’s recipe is, as zucchini bread must be, crazy moist and, as not all zucchini bread is, light light light as air.  Scented with cocoa and cinnamon, mom bakes this cake in loaf form.  I tried half as a loaf and half as muffins topped with thin slices of zucchini and dusted with powdered sugar.  Eat it as an afternoon snack, or conjure up Mr. Cosby and indulge the best late summer breakfast ever.

One Year Ago: I was in Greece!

Two Years Ago: Pappa Al Pomodoro (Another garden harvest recipe.)

Makes 2 loaves (freeze one! or make new friends!) or 24 muffins.  My bread didn’t dome as beautifully as I hoped — I’ve read this can be caused by too much leavening, and this recipe definitely leans heavily on the baking powder/soda.  Next round, I might reduce each by 1/2 tsp and see if that helps.  No matter though, the cake is pure glory to eat; and actually, in its un-domed state, it would be a great candidate for stacking — think layers of cake, cocoa whipped cream, and fresh berries.   

Cocoa Zucchini Cake 

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup milk – I used whole
  • 2 cups packed grated zucchini
  • powdered sugar and thinly sliced zucchini for topping (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Butter and flour 2 loaf tins or line 24 muffin tins with paper liners.  Alternately, you can make one loaf and 12 muffins.  Sift together the flour, cocoa, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon.  Set aside.

Using hand held electric beaters or a stand mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy – about 3-4 minutes.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each.  Mix in the vanilla.  Scrape down the bowl.

Add half the flour mixture and mix well.  Add the milk and mix well, then add the remaining flour mixture and mix again.  Scrape down the bowl and add the zucchini, mixing to incorporate.  Divide the batter between the prepared pans – loaf and muffin tins should be filled approximately 2/3 full.  I like to decorate each muffin top with a thin slice of zucchini.

Bake muffins 25-30 minutes until set and loaves 50-60 minutes until set.  A toothpick inserted into the center of the cake should come out clean.  Cool and serve!  Cakes keep well wrapped at room temperature 4-5 days and also freeze well.

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