As mentioned in my last post, three staples of my CSA shares have seemed both constant in their delivery and therefore a constant challenge to use too. The inspiration of what to do with my last batch of zucchini came through my ruminations in September as I prepared to share a “cherished Canadian recipe.” In the process I went through a long list of foods I ate as a child and which gave me joy and pleasure and one that I recalled was ubiquitous even 40 years ago and that was chocolate zucchini cake. The recipe really needs little explanation – I’m sure most of you have experienced it and know that the zucchini adds really nothing in the way of flavor but a whole lot in the way of moistness … and perhaps even some added nutrition.
I could have simply reprised my family recipe but that would both have been too easy and it wouldn’t have allowed me to accommodate a few people around me, Anne included, who are gluten-sensitive. So my challenge was to take that family recipe and make it gluten-free. I drew on my experiences of making gluten-free banana chocolate chip cookies and the rest is history.
Two cooking notes: first, I used small amount of coconut flour in the recipe which worked well to bind and hold the cake together, but I knew from my experience that this ingredient also requires a bit more liquid which is why I used as much sour cream as I did. If you aren’t using coconut flour, reduce the sour cream by half. Secondly, if you don’t want to go the gluten-free route, no worries – this is easy: simply substitute 2¼ cups all-purpose flour for the other flours, omit the guar gum, and reduce the sour cream by half.
Finally, please note that while this gluten-free version is incredibly fluffy, there is a bit of ‘graininess’ that may come as a result of both the brown-rice and coconut flours. Those with gluten-free needs or who simply want a more nutritious cake than produced from wheat flour seem to think this is a pretty fair trade off. All said, this is an adaptive and very flexible recipe to meet whatever your own nutritional wants and needs. Enjoy.
Prep time: 30 minutes
Bake time: 60 minutes
Total time: 90 minutes
Servings: 1 Large Bundt (16-20)
Chocolate Zucchini Cake (Gluten-Free)
- 1 cup (135g) rice flour
- ½ cup (65g) sorghum flour
- ¼ cup (35g) buckwheat flour
- ¼ cup (35g) quinoa flour
- ¼ cup (30g) coconut flour
- ½ teaspoon guar gum
→ or substitute 2¼ cups AP Flour (290g)
- 2/3 cup (72g) cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup (115g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
→ or substitute coconut oil
- 1¼ cup (240g) white sugar
- ¼ cup almond oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 cup full-fat sour cream
→ Note: reduce to ½ cup if not using coconut flour in the mix
- 2 cups (approx 280g) zucchini, unpeeled and grated (approximately 1½ medium squash)
- 1 cup bitter-sweet chocolate chips
- 1 tablespoon icing sugar (for garnish)
- Preheat oven to 325°. Lightly butter a Bundt pan.
- In a medium bowl, sift together all the dry ingredients (flours, guar gum, cocoa, baking soda and powder, cinnamon and salt) and set aside.
- In standup mixer, cream the butter and sugar.
Add the oil and vanilla and mix well. Add the eggs and beat until fluffy.
- Add in 1/3 of the dry ingredients and gently blend in.
Add half the sour cream and mix in.
Add another third of the dry ingredients, and blend. Add the other half of the sour cream, and mix in. Add the final third of the dry ingredients and mix.
- Grate the zucchini
then gently mix in the zucchini now and blend until well-incorporated.
- Add in the chocolate chips now and with a large spatula, mix everything again by hand, ensuring there are no dry or unmixed parts on the bottom or sides of the mixing bowl.
- Pour the batter into a Bundt pan evenly.
Carefully smooth level off the batter in the pan and ensure no batter has left any residue up the sides of the pan.
- Place the Bundt pan in the oven and bake for 50-60 minutes until the top has cracked a bit (like a brownie top) and toothpick comes out dry.
- Let pan stand on counter for 10 minutes.
- Gently shake the pan to ensure all the edges are loose, then, placing a large cake plate over the pan, inverse it and slide the cake out of the pan.
- Just before serving, using a fine mesh sieve, gently ‘dust’ the icing sugar over the cake. Note: it’s important to do this before serving because the moisture of the cake will otherwise ‘suck’ the icing sugar away and you won’t have done anything for effect.
→ Also note: you can serve this cake warm (with the chocolate still runny inside), at room temperature, or even chilled.Serves 6-8.