So you want a cake but don't want to ruin your diet;
You're craving something sweet, but don't want to eat unhealthily;
And - a sandwich is the most advanced dish you have ever made;
Well, this instructable is right for you then.
I'm going to walk you through making a delicious and healthy zucchini cake.
Yes, you read that right: Zucchini (vegetable) cake (synonym of pleasure).
It's a mixture of both worlds that satisfies your cravings and minimizes your remorses. As you will soon see - technically this is a salad ;). A very chocolatey salad.
The steps below assume that you have access to a kitchen with an oven.
We also aim at making a small cake that can be either hoovered down by one hungry savage or elegantly shared by two cultured individuals.
I will also share a few hints on what not to do.
Step 1: Tools and Ingredients
You will need:
- An oven :)
- One big spoon or spatula - you will mix with it.
- One big bowl - that's where you will mix everything.
- Electric mixer.
- A pan (here I use a round pan of 24 cm diameter) - that's the thing you will put the fruit (vegetable) of your efforts in - you get the pun?
- One baking sheet
- Grater - for shredding the zucchini
- Wooden skewer or toothpick - not in the picture. For checking if the cake is ready.
- Name of that good looking neighbor next door. You may need it to get some of the ingredients.
- Zucchini - average size, you will need around 340g of it. The zucchini in the picture is waaaay too big :)
- Vegetable oil - 125ml
- Yogurt - 125ml
- All-purpose flour - 300g
- Two eggs
- Butter - 115g at room temperature.
- Sugar - 210g. In my experience, that's the lowest amount that still makes the cake sweet. Of course, a sweet tooth can add more.
- Baking soda - just 1 teaspoon i.e. about 6g. You can buy small sachets of baking soda or go and ask that neighbor next door ;)
- Baking powder - 1/2 teaspoon i.e. about 3g. Yes, it's ok to visit that neighbor again ;)
- Cocoa - 60g. Not sweetened cocoa.
- Dark (bitter) chocolate - 60g. You can buy any bitter chocolate you like.
- Vanilla extract - 1 teaspoon i.e. about 6g. Here I have it in powder but in a liquid will work equally well. Visiting your neighbor again?.
- Pinch of salt - how much is a pinch? I let you decide :)
Step 2: Clean Your Kitchen.
Clean your kitchen. No seriously, you need a bit of space, so make sure you have a place to prepare and to mix your ingredients.
Once the kitchen is all shiny. Take the eggs and the butter out of the fridge, butter has to be at room temperature before we use it.
Step 3: Shred the Zucchini
Shred the zucchini until you get around 340g in total - that's 2 glasses in the picture.
You don't have to make two glasses dirty, it just looks nice in the picture :)
We will take care of that chocolate bits in the picture next.
Step 4: Crack That Chocolate!
Take 50g of dark chocolate and chop it with your knife.
You can keep the rest for making chocolate glaze topping at the end.
The topping is not part of this tutorial because I ate the rest of the chocolate :(
Step 5: Starting to Mix - the Easy Part
We are going to mix all of the ingredients in the bowl.
We will start with the easiest to mix ingredients first, so try to stick to the order of steps below.
I have also found that the following order of steps gives the most consistent cake-softness results.
- Cut the soft butter into pieces and add it to the bowl.
- Start mixing with the electric mixer and add sugar bit by bit until you get a uniform paste. Initially, use as low speed of your electric mixer as possible otherwise, your kitchen will be sprinkled with butter-sugar chunks.
- Add oil and continue mixing.
- Add the eggs and continue mixing.
- Add baking powder, soda, vanilla extract, and mix again until combined.
Step 6: Mixing Continues - a Bit Harder
Now we are going to add the dry ingredients: flour and cocoa.
If we just dumped them in, we would have a hard time mixing it, also the dough could end up with clusters of unmixed cocoa.
So to assure uniformly consistent dough, we are going to add a bit of flour, yogurt, and cocoa alternately.
Add a pinch of salt to the flour and then repeat the following steps until you run out of all flour, cocoa, and yogurt:
- Add a bit of flour (later cocoa) through the sieve and continue mixing until the dough looks consistent.
- Add a bit of yogurt and continue mixing. Don't use the sieve for yogurt! ;)
Step 7: Zucchini Enters the Stage
Now is the moment that you are becoming a pro - it's time to do two things at once:
First: take out the cat from your oven and turn it (the oven!) to 180C. It will be heating up by the time we get to our next step.
Second: Now it's time to add zucchini! Put your mixer aside and take your spatula, add half of the shredded zucchini and mix, then add the rest of Zucchini and mix - you know the rhythm by now :)
At the end add choco bits and mix - you didn't eat them, right?
Step 8: Baking Time!
- Cut the baking sheet to match your pan/baking form.
- Pour your lovely consistent dough on the baking form. You did close that form right?
- If the oven is hot enough (180C) put that goodness in the oven. Oven's middle tray is probably the best spot.
- Set your timer for about 45min (depends on your oven).
- Clean your kitchen and watch how your cake is growing! You have the whole 45 min.
Step 9: Quality Control
After your timer rings, take out the cake and check it with the skewer. Stick it in the middle, as deep as you can. When you pull the skewer out, it should be clean i.e. there should be no dough that sticks to it. You could hit a melted piece of chocolate - it's ok that's not dough. But also don't lick it, it's hot :)
It's ok if the stick is wet, your zucchini could have been very moist.
If you find a dough though, then you have to put that cake back in the oven and bake it for some more time.
Notice that when you opened the oven it cooled down, so you probably should do 15-20 more minutes to let it heat up and turn that dough into the best cake this planet has ever seen. Baking timing really depends on your oven - once you do a bit more baking, you will learn how to work with it.
Step 10: Bravo You Made It!
It's time to enjoy the zucchini-cocoa salad.
And don't forget to share it with your neighbor!