Monday, 2 June 2008

Black forest chocolate and zucchini gateau (Κέικ σοκολάτας με κολοκύθι)

That river of zucchini is still flowing. The fridge has filled up with zucchini, there's zucchini on the kitchen work top, there's zucchini in the garden, we're going to have to start selling the stuff; either that, or give it away by leaving bags full of it at neighbours' doorsteps, with little signs saying: "Cook me", or "Free to a good home".

Thank goodness I found Clotilde's chocolate and zucchini cake! I have kept the basic recipe, but made a few changes to it: I used only white flour, not a mixture of brown and white; only cocoa was used, not a mixture of cocoa and chocolate chips; the topping is completely different since I turned the cake into a gateau. It's a shame that no one in my family celebrates their birthday in the summer, because now I know how to make the most moist, vegetable-based chocolate cake ever - and get rid of some of that excess zucchini crop.

grated zucchini courgettechocolate zucchini courgette cakechocolate zucchini courgette cakechocolate zucchini courgette gateau
You need
2 cups all-purpose flour (English teacups)
1/2 cup cocoa powder (4-6 tablespoons, according to taste; the more cocoa, the less zucchini is visible)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup margarine (I'm thinking of substituting olive oil in this as I now do for banana cake)
1 cup light brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla powder
1 tsp instant coffee granules
3 eggs, at room temperature
2 cups of zucchini, unpeeled, grated
Beat the margarine with the sugar, then add the eggs one at a time and mix in well. Now add the salt, vanilla and coffee granules. Mix in the zucchini, making sure it is spread evenly in the mixture. Add the sifted cocoa, flour, baking powder and soda, and mix in till the mixture looks like a thick paste. Pour into a greased tin and cook for 40 minutes in a moderate oven. To check if the cake is done, stick a knife into it to see if it comes out clean.

I decided to divide the mixture into two tins: a small loaf tin and a small round tin. The loaf became part of my children's lunchbox, while the round cake, when it had cooled down, was decorated with whipped cream (a leftover from a pasta dish) and cherries, which were 3 euro a kilo today at the supermarket (last week, they were 6 euro a kilo).

Leave it in the refrigerator for an hour before serving, because it is so moist that it may lose its shape when it is cut. For a richer version, slice the cake in the middle into two rounds (or better still, cook two small round cakes), spread whipped cream on one layer, sprinkle a few slices of pitted cherries onto the cream, place the second layer of cake on top, and finally, ice it with more whipped cream and a few whole cherries to make the perfect torte.

This is the kind of cake that I will definitely make again, as well as have a go at turning it into muffins - it is moister than my boiled chocolate cake (which is a very moist cake), and the zucchini simply makes it much healthier. The bold combination of the grass green courgette in a sea of brown chocolate dotted by the crimson cherries is eye-catching. If I could only convince my family that zucchini can be eaten raw, I'd have sprinkled a few courgette skin shavings in between the cherries to highlight the contrastive colours. This is a naturally beautiful cake.

This is my entry for Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted by maninas.

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