Sunday, March 21, 2010

Creative Cooking: Zucchini Cake


It started with these... We got some zucchini in our CSA box. Being as I'd already dabbled in savory zucchini delicacies, I decided to try something sweet. I turned to my buddy the Amateur Gourmet to figure out what to do with it. Olive oil cake sounded a little strange, but Adam has rarely led me astray.

Note to readers: Only one zucchini chunk was harmed in the shooting of this photo. (I considered picking the chunk up and using it anyway, but I haven't mopped my floor in a while.)

Update: Since beginning this post, I have mopped my floor. You're welcome.


The recipe called for grated zucchini, but I put the zucchini in my food processor (believe the reviews, this baby is as LOUD as a jet engine). I think I overdid it on the processing thing, but subtlety has never been one of my strengths.

Note to Readers: I do not in any way consider myself qualified to give useful recommendations about household appliances, but I want to say a few things about my blender/food processor. I don't love it, but it gets the job done. I only bought it because I couldn't justify one of these. Actually, I had no trouble justifying the aforementioned blender of bliss. I just knew that Steve would retaliate by buying one of these. Then I would be forced to buy this. The whole thing could spiral out of control very quickly.


The recipe called for toasted walnuts.


They also ended up in the food processor. And got over-processed. (I think they were supposed to end up walnut chunks, not dust...)

I have a problem.


My mood improved dramatically when I got to use my sifter on the flour and spices.


I had a moral dilemma when I looked at the ingredients list of my shortening tub. WARNING: SOAP BOX AHEAD I just finished reading Michael Pollan's In Defense of Food. A lot of what Pollan said really resonated with me, and I've been making an effort to be more mindful of the things I eat. I needed to grease the bundt pan, but the shortening had all kinds of multi-syllabic ingredients that I only vaguely recognized.


Butter was much more sensible. Ingredients: cream (milk), salt.

But butter is expensive. And I only needed to grease the pan. And is it even worth debating the health of individual ingredients when making a cake? That you will probably eat mostly by yourself?

If I had been thinking, I would have used olive oil. I'm kind of embarrassed to admit this, but the reason I didn't is because I was afraid it would make the cake taste funny. It seems I temporarily forgot that the name of this cake was OLIVE OIL Zuchinni. Duh.

I ended up using the butter. I expect to reach food nirvana sometime tomorrow afternoon.


After wrestling with my culinary conscience about the greasing of the pan, I mixed up the ingredients into a moderately thick batter...


And baked it in my bundt pan.

Note to Readers: This is the third time I've used the bundt pan this school year.

Note to Steve: It was still totally worth it.


The glaze consisted of lemon juice, sugar, and powdered sugar. I didn't even bother contemplating the nutritional value.


The finished cake showed no signs of the inner turmoil it generated.


In fact, it will probably be made again.

Full disclosure: I am not making any money from any of the links in this post. I was just in a facetious mood and felt like over-linking. It happens.


Karma said...

I relate to this post in many ways:
a) I over-process everything
b) I am in love with my vita mix
c) I can't use shortening due to overwhelming guilt
d) I can use alarming amounts of butter and it doesn't evoke nearly as much guilt.

I didn't get into health/whole/clean food until I had kids to feed, and in fact, sometimes, will still hide in my laundry room to sneak an OREO while my kids eat unsweetened applesauce. I know, I have a problem. Anyway, I highly recommend this for conscientious eating:

I actually use the "family and kids" one but thought this one would be better for you. that I have written a book in response to your blog, I will stop. It's good to see you blogging...keep it up!

Colleen Marie said...

I love your use of links. It's like an easter egg hunt in my regular life. If you read my last post, you'll notice that I actually said I wasn't going to link things. I'm lazy like that.

Jason Borg said...

mmmm that looks yummy!
PS I totally think you should get the Nikon.

Missy G said...

that DOES look delicious! is it bad that I would've gone for the shortening without a second thought because of the price (I'm not too worried yet about strange ingredients - it's the money that gets me)

Rick and Erin said...

You crack me up. I would never think of photographing my culinary experiments step by step, but I enjoy the fact that you do!

Dorese said...

I love your schizophrenic linking, whatever the reason.

I also love that particular paragraph because it reminds me of my own marriage... down to the food processor even.

(I usually end up with things for mother's day without even having to ask though. He just knows when he's been bad. Enter: expensive food processor I lusted after and magically received for a holiday of which I do not qualify to recieve gifts.)

Sam said...

This is a really tasty recipe. You can also use a butter cream frosting on this and it will work quite well.

I'll have to make some here soon.

Marcus Pulsipher said...

Mmmmmm.... yes please!

Missy said...

Mmmm, that looks great.

Wes Harris said...

Okay, you should post a food alert i.e. ""Warning, do not view on an empty stomach. Graphic images of scrumptiousness may be unsuitable for hungry readers."

It's just common courtesy.

-Rachel said...

I love pretty cooking! It's a skill I don't have. :)

Adrianna said...

Oh my goodness Angie, this recipe looks amazing! I'm totally going to try it!

Mark & Bek said...

Zucchini cake sounds strange, and looks amazing. Yummmy. Also I was looking at the post below, and laughed pretty hard on Steve's students' hilarious book. What a clever child.

Nick and Brent said...

I think that cake needs a new name, because it sounded disgusting but looked delicious. I will need to read that food book, was it good? I love your cooking tutorials, it motivates me to be a better cook...which I'm definitely NOT. :)

The Teacher Cooks said...

I really enjoyed reading this post with all the links! Nice job oon the cake. I love it!