“Vegetables are a must on a diet; I suggest carrot cake, zucchini bread and pumpkin pie.”- Jim Davis
Zucchini is one of the most versatile veggies on the block that is why I was more then happy to take a couple of my neighbours garden variety giants off their hands. The best thing about home grown zucchini is that they grow to be massive, like a great big squash. Grocery store varieties are often limb and small. I have been baking slices with a little oil, salt, pepper and parm. and they are delicious. I have used some sliced in lasagna instead of noodles and I even made an epic pot of tomato sauce riddled with half moons of tender, garlicky zucchini. I personally feel it is painfully underrated; The Edward Norton or Sam Rockwell of the vegetable garden.
I also had a little fun tricking all kinds of people at home and at work into eating the green and yellow vegetable. You see zucchini (like the potato) when grated and mixed into cake and bread batters yields the most tender and moist baked goods. No matter how much oil, butter or soda one uses, nothing will compare to that of a treat made with shredded zucchini in the moist department. I have so much zucchini that I experimented a little and made a lemon zucchini loaf and a chocolate sheet cake both teeming with zucchini. Neither lasted long on the nursing desk at work. Respiratory therapists, ward clerks, ward aids, nurses, physicians, physiotherapists and cleaning personnel made quick work of both and I ended up with many people requesting both recipes. Success! Satiating the three pm sweet tooth and grumbly bellies while providing full servings of veggies one recipe at a time….ah no, I though that would sound cool, kind of like a super hero. Totally didn’t…shifty eyes. Anyway recipes to follow!
Lemony Zucchini Loaf (adapted from all recipes)
- 1.5 cups of shredded zucchini (I grated it on the smaller side of my cheese grater…skin and all!)
- 3/4 c white sugar
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup of vegetable oil
- 1.5 c of all purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp of salt
- 1/2 tsp of baking soda
- 1/2 tsp of baking powder
- 1/2 tsp of lemon extract if you have it (don’t really need it! Be flexible people!)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbs (you can do half if you are not a cinnamon buff like moi!)
- zest from one lemon
- Juice from one lemon
- 1/2- 1 cup of white sugar
- tsp of vanilla
Pre-heat old Bessie to 325 degrees and grease an 8×4 inch loaf pan. In a bowl combine all of the liquids plus the zucchini and lemon zest then beat until thoroughly mixed. In a separate bowl mix all dry ingredients with a whisk then slowly add to wet ingredients and mix until JUST blended (don’t over do it people, you will have a hard lump of dough). Pour into pan and bake for about 45 minutes until a knife or toothpick comes out clean. When that bad boy is cooling, combine lemon juice, vanilla and sugar (go with the cup if you find it too tart!) in a sauce pan over medium heat. Bring to a boil to dissolve sugar. While loaf is cooling, brush multiple times with glaze for a beautiful shiny finish. or poke some holes in the top and pour some over for a little extra tart zing!
Chocolate zucchini sheet cake and the best ever chocolate buttercream!
- 1/2 c of oil of your choice
- 1.5 c of sugar
- 1/2 cup of buttermilk (but regular milk works too!)
- 1 tsp of vanilla extract
- 1 egg at room temp
- 2 heaping cups of grated raw zucchini (I left the skin on and just grated it all on the cheese grater’s smaller grate!)
- 2 c of all purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1.5 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 cup of cocoa powder (I used dutch proc.)
Pre heat over to 350 and grease a 9×13 cake pan or baking dish. In a large bowl mix together oil, sugar, milk, vanilla and the egg. Add zucchini and mix until just incorporated. In a separate bowl combine all of the other dry ingredients and give a spin with a whisk to mix well and break up any lumps (cocoa is extremely lumpy!). Slowly add to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined (a little flour visible is fine!). Pour into baking dish and bake in oven for 25-28 minutes, until knife or toothpick comes clean and the edges begin to pull away from the side of the pan a little bit. Allow to cool completely and then dust with icing sugar or frost with chocolate butter cream. Please find recipe below for the best buttercream ever…..dun dun dun.
Best ever (!!!!) chocolate buttercream
- 1 c softened butter
- 1 tsp of vanilla extract
- 3-4 tbs of cream (I only had 5% coffee cream…it worked and I bet plain old milk would too!)
- 1/2 cup of cocoa powder
- 3.5 cups of icing sugar (powdered sugar)
In a stand mixer or in a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat cream and butter until pale and fluffy. Add vanilla followed by the icing sugar a half a cup at a time (or it will be snowing sugar in your kitchen!). Whip on med or high until all mixed, smooth and pale in colour. Lick the beaters (’cause life is too short and it is seriously the best ever!). Frost your cake with a nice thick layer. This is also dreamy piped on to cupcakes and birthday cakes!