Double Chocolate Salted Zucchini Cakes

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Zucchini and decadence may seem incongruous but this recipe elevates this common and often dull vegetable to the level of sheer delight and deliciousness.  As in all recipes, using high quality ingredients makes a huge difference in the outcome.  Remember the old saying, “garbage in, garbage out.”  This was a phrase first coined in reference to computer data entry but it applies equally to the success of all recipes.  In the case of today’s feature it is all about the freshest zucchini, high-grade chocolates, vanilla, cinnamon and salts.  It may seem that individually they shouldn’t matter that much but I learned from an excellent and well-respected chef that you need to think of the cumulative effect of all of the ingredients working together.  The higher the quality the better result.  A good rule of thumb for all cooking, but it especially applies to the chocolate in this preparation.  There is so much chocolate on the market today.  When choosing, beware of those products labeled chocolate-flavored or artificially flavored chocolate as they are not for real and can contain up to 50% sugar and an array of other ingredients.  A good quality chocolate should be 65-70% cacao or above.  It is said chocolate of this caliber is healthy for you so we don’t have to feel guilty, right?  For more information check out, The Nibble.

I bake very little as my palate leans to the savory much more than to the sweet but given the seasonal abundance  and low impact on your budget, zucchini seems to be the vegetable of the day.  I love the challenge of transforming it into dessert.  I think once you try this recipe topped with just a bit of flaked sea salt, you will never think of zucchini the same again.

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Here is how it went down:

DOUBLE CHOCOLATE SALTED ZUCCHINI CAKES    

Makes 24 cupcakes

Recipe by Jeanne Raffetto Tentis

½ c unsalted butter (1 stick), room temperature

¾ c granulated sugar

½ c grape seed or other neutral cooking oil

2 large eggs

1t pure vanilla extract (good quality)

½ c buttermilk

2 ½ c all-purpose flour

4T cocoa powder (I use Valrhona unsweetened cocoa powder)

1t baking soda

½ t cinnamon (I use Vietnamese from Penzy spices)

½ t sea salt

2c grated zucchini, drained

12 oz. bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate chips

½ c toasted pecans, chopped

Flaked sea salt (such as Maldon) for sprinkling on top

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (or 325 degrees for convection oven). Grease and flour two cupcake pans or use parchment cupcake liners.
  2. Place grated zucchini is a strainer with a plate to weigh it down. Allow to drain for 15-30 minutes.
  3. Cream together sugar and butter until fluffy and light.
  4. Add the oil, eggs, vanilla and buttermilk. Mix well.
  5. In a small bowl, mix the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Gradually add to the wet ingredients and mix well. Do not overwork.
  6. Fold in the zucchini.
  7. With a large ice cream scoop or a ¼ c measuring cup, fill the cupcake pans.
  8. Top each with the toasted pecans and the chocolate chips.
  9. Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes (that is what it took using convection) or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes clean. Baking time may vary depending on your oven.
  10. Allow to cool on racks for a 10 minutes and then sprinkle each with a little of the flaked sea salt. Continue cooling.

NOTE:  If you wish, you can bake in a 9×13 baking pan.  Baking time may have to be adjusted. 

There it is!  So moist, full of chocolaty gooey goodness with a light crunch provided by the toasted pecans and flaked sea salt.  You are going to look like a rock star when you serve this!IMG_7489

I have shared this week’s featured creation and now I must advance to the final chapter of “the kitchen remodel.”  I am delighted to report that the stove (a induction range with convection ovens) is fully installed and functioning!  Very exciting and a huge relief.  We spent the week cleaning up and moving things back to their intended homes.  As of today, we are finished!  Pots and pans in their place, spices all lined up, utensils positioned and ready, I have begun planning my dedication dinner which I hope will be the subject of my next post.  I did make a couple of dishes this week as I learned the ins and outs of the new equipment.  What was the first you ask?  As soon as the installers left I made eggs for breakfast.  Just had to try it out.  IMG_7494

 

 

 

 

 

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The oven was christened with the baking of the Double Chocolate Salted Zucchini Cakes which I was thrilled to be making.

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I hope they will make an appearance in your kitchen soon as you continue to spread the love, one dish at a time.  Thanks for tolerating all the dust and chaos of my kitchen makeover.  From my new digs to yours, I send my love.  Jeanne

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14 responses to “Double Chocolate Salted Zucchini Cakes

  1. Elizabeth Palmer

    Hip-hip hooray! Nice cool Canadian air over WI presently, which helps makes baking and cooking on the stove more pleasant, as well. Enjoy! I plan to try the cupcakes; they sound wonderful…

    • Thanks, Elizabeth. I hope you enjoy the cakes. We thought they turned out well. I enjoyed making and eating them. Hope you do too. Again, thanks for your comments. I appreciate hearing from you. Jeanne

  2. These sound really good, Jeanne! Going to have to give them a try once I’m back home. What a creative use of all of the zucchini around this time of year. Lovely! And congrats on your new kitchen – I’m jealous. Can’t wait to hear how you get on with it.

    • Thanks, Sally. Zucchini as dessert makes me happy. I will let you know I get on with the new kitchen. The induction stove is a first for me. We live in the boonies so no gas. My son who is a chef in Sacramento, CA swears by them. I hope I like it over time. When do you head back to England?

  3. John And Susan Wright

    IT was 102 degrees in Dallas to day so I made your seviche! Absolutely refreshing!

    As for these enticing cakes, on the way to market for the zucchini!!

  4. I thought of you when I made these cakes. I think you will really like them. Let me know. So glad you enjoyed the ceviche. I thought it turned out really good. 102, YIKES!

  5. Jeanne, your stove is stunning with the stainless steel against the brick — chic and home-y! I think I heard your sigh of relief clear over here. 😉

  6. Definitely going to make this recipe! This week .. have company coming and I’m hoping if I don’t tell Mr. Foster what’s in them he’ll try one. He’s CRAZY about chocolate …. 🙂

    • Trust me, Dawn, he will never know. These cakes are rich and deliciously chocolate. I think he will love them. Thanks for the comments. Let me know how you like the recipe. Jeanne

  7. Sweet Jeanne, you never disappoint! You always seem to add an interesting twist to your recipes. These chocolate zucchini cakes sound scrumptious. I will definitely spread this love over the weekend for family visiting. My granddaughter loves chocolate as much as her Grandy.
    Congratulations on the new kitchen. It looks wonderful. Doesn’t it make you feel like a new you also? Enjoy 🙂

    • I think any chocolate lover would love these cakes. I decided to make them into individual cakes but you could make one large one. I hope you enjoy. Let me know how they turn out. Re: the kitchen, it feels so good to be done. Everything is so sparkly and clean and cooking is even more fun than before. Again, thank you for your thoughts and comments. I really enjoy hearing from you. Sending you love, Jeanne

  8. Yum! I might have to indulge

    Sent from my iPhone

    • This is a really delicious recipe. I think your whole family would love it. The flaked sea salt elevates it and gives it great crunch. Look for Maldon salt. I think they may carry it at New Moon. Let me know if you make it. Great for a picnic or potluck. Sending love to all.

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