Last Saturday’s visit to the Collingswood Farmers’ Market yielded oversized zucchini, yellow Boothby Blonde pickling cucumbers and heirloom garlic from Savoie Organic Farm, as well as ten pints of organic blueberries from the Blueberry Lady. Week after week, Savoie’s freshly picked softneck garlic, with stem and leaves intact, is still my prized purchase.
Back to that oversized zucchini. (For size reference, see below photo comparison to our cat, Mal.) I purchased one and made zucchini cake using half. The remaining zucchini half will be sliced into thick rounds, breaded and fried. There are many delicious savory zucchini recipes to consider – fritters, stuffed zucchini boats, ratatouille…
However, zucchini desserts are rarely tasty – cakes and breads can be dry or unpleasantly dense. This recipe is neither. Lightly sweet and moist without a vegetal flavor. And, the pre-bake sugar sprinkle creates an unexpected crunchy topping.
Using up the last jar of my 2016 peach jam, I prepared the zucchini cake after work and it came together quickly. My coworkers offered their taste testing services and loved the cake, describing the sugar crust as 'amazing'.
This cake can be enjoyed straightaway, toasted or sliced and sandwiched with cream cheese.
yield: 1x 9-by-5-inch loaf
1¾ cups + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon, ground
2 whole large eggs, shells removed
½ cup + 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (I use Spectrum Safflower or Canola Oil)
¾ cup granulated white sugar
½ cup peach jam (apricot, orange, kumquat can be substituted)
2 ½ cups zucchini, grated
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 cup walnuts, halved and roasted*
2 tablespoons granulated white sugar for topping
Kitchen Notes: You must bake the batter as soon as it is mixed. Otherwise, the sugar macerates with the zucchini, which pulls out all the moisture, giving you a very watery batter.
*Skip this step if you purchased roasted walnuts. You will want to roast the walnuts to bring out the flavor. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Spread the walnuts evenly on a sheet pan and bake for 5-7 minutes until fragrant. Remove from oven and transfer to a plate to stop cooking. Allow to cool.
Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Lightly oil and flour the bottom and sides of a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan, knocking out the excess flour.
This recipe is easily mixed by stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium speed or by hand with a wooden spoon. Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon into a mixing bowl and set aside.
In another mixing bowl, beat together the eggs, oil, sugar, and jam until combined. Add the zucchini and salt and again beat until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the flour mixture and beat just until combined. Add the nuts and mix just until incorporated.
Transfer the batter to the prepared loaf pan and smooth the surface with an offset spatula. Sprinkle evenly with the sugar for topping. Bake until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 60 to 70 minutes. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for about 20 minutes, and then invert onto the rack, turn right side up, and let cool completely. Serve the cake at room temperature. It will keep, well wrapped, in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Recipe from Tartine by Elisabeth M. Prueitt and Chad Robertson, titled: Zucchini and Orange Marmalade Tea Cake