Monday, 27 July 2009

To your health! (Στην υγειά σας!)

I've been perfecting my chocolate zucchini cake over the summer with this year's zealous zucchini crop, and I think I've hit the jackpot with this recipe. I've made it a zillion times and no one ever gets tired of it. It is very tasty, extremely easy to make, and contains very healthy ingredients. It might even make the menu of Angelina's Kitchen in Historic Downtown Pittsboro in North Carolina.

chocolate zucchini banana cake

You need:
2 1/2 - 3 cups of all-purpose flour
4 - 6 tablespoons of cocoa (the more cocoa, the less visible the zucchini is)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
some vanilla essence
2/3 cup olive oil
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon instant coffee granules
2 eggs
1 ripe banana
1 oversized courgette (which will yield about 2 cups of grated unpeeled zucchini when the water is squeezed out of it) or a few small ones

an oversized zucchini courgette marketably sized courgette zucchini
Zucchini can be a nuisance when it becomes extra large. Marketable ones are never large, even though they taste just the same as small ones, but (er-hem) size matters according to the kind of use you want to make of it...

Prepare the zucchini by grating it and adding a heaped teaspoon of salt. Mix this into the zucchini very well. Squeeze the zucchini to start extracting and discarding all its liquid. When it is damp and firm, add the sugars, cocoa, coffee, vanilla, baking soda and baking powder. Mix well to get a uniform mixture.

Then add the eggs, oil and mashed banana, and mix well again. Make sure that the zucchini is all coated in the chocolate mixture and won't be visible when it's cooked (children won't eat green chocolate cake unless they are exceptionally precocious and can estimate the health benefits they will derive from it). Now add the flour cup by cup, beating well after each addition. The batter should be a thick mud consistency.

Pour the batter into a greased baking tin. I had only a small one available, so I also used two ramekins and cooked separate cakes which I gifted to the neighbours. Cook for 40 minutes, or until a knife pierced through the cake comes out clean. The olive oil (which can be substituted with other lipids, like 180g margarine) makes the cake very light in texture, and slightly crumbly; the banana gives it a nice aroma. The cake can easily be eased out of the baking tin once it has cooled down; in any case, it is cut in slices and each slice easily lifts out of the tin.

chocolate zucchini banana cakes
One for us and two to give away

Extremely healthy, extremely moist, extremely delicious. To make it more festive (labeit less healthy), a chocolate syrup (like the one mentioned here, minus the egg yolks) can be poured over it. When the cake has cooled down slightly, cut it into diamonds or squares and pour the hot syrup over it. It will taste just like the kind of chocolate cake served at upmarket dessert cafes in the best parts of town.

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