Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Chocolate and zucchini with hazelnuts cake

In that time of the year when zucchini is in season one should take it to the fullest. It isn't a popular expression, but it is an unwritten rule in my home. This coming weekend I will check and see if the zucchini output from my parent's garden has run out. When it will run out, I know that I will feel a little bit nostalgic. Zucchini can be so versatile in its use.

Zucchini tastes good in practically every kind of recipe. It can be grilled, roasted, used in rice, used in soups, used in stews and it can even be used in cakes! I love cakes with zucchini as one of their ingredients. Although it is no longer a novelty, I can sometimes surprise some guests when I present them a zucchini cake.

Last week, for the pizza dinner where longtime friends were gathered, I made ​​a chocolate and zucchini with hazelnuts cake. The recipe is from the BBC Good Food site.

350g self-raising flour
50g cocoa powder
1 tablespoon of spices (I used 10g)
175ml olive oil
375g brown sugar
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 small zucchini, grated with peel (approx. 450g)
140g toasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped

For the icing:
200g dark chocolate, chopped
100ml cream

1. Preheat oven to 180ºC.

2. In a bowl mix the flour, cocoa powder, the mixture of spices and a pinch of salt.

3. In another bowl add the olive oil, sugar, eggs, vanilla extract and grated zucchini. Stir and then add the dry ingredients already mixed.

4. Add the hazelnuts.

5. Put the mixture into a round cake tin greased with butter or oil spray.

6. Put it into the oven for about 45 to 50 minutes. Once baked, leave it to cool. Unmold.

7. Place the chocolate chopped into pieces in a bowl. Bring the cream to the boil and pour the hot cream over the chocolate. Stir very well until it is completely melted. Let it cool for a while and spread it over the cake.

I chose to make my own mix of spices. I added cinnamon, fennel, nutmeg, ginger, cumin and cloves. They weren't mixed evenly. I used more cinnamon and fennel and less of the others.

The cake is not very sweet and it contrasts beautifully with the icing. It ended up having a moisture and an intense flavor of its own.

All the guests loved this cake and so did we!

Other cakes made with zucchini (written in Portuguese):
- Zucchini and cocoa with walnuts cake;
- Zucchini and lemon with poppy seeds cake;
- Zucchini and walnuts cake;
- Zucchini with carob flour and almonds cake.

[ Originally published in Portuguese as Bolo de chocolate e courgette com avelãs ]