John Kanell turns Summer Zucchini into a fabulous chocolate cake.
Chocolate Zucchini Cake
FOR THE CAKE:
- 3 cups all-purpose flour 360g
- 1 cup cocoa powder 100g, unsweetened natural
- 1 tbsp baking soda 18g
- 3/4 tsp baking powder 1g
- 1 1/2 tsp espresso powder 1g, heaping, optional
- 3/4 tsp salt 4g
- 1 ½ cup vegetable oil 354ml
- 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar 300g
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar 200g
- 6 large eggs at room temperature
- 1/2 cup sour cream or plain yogurt 115g, at room temperature
- 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract 15ml
- 4 1/2 cups zucchini 475g, about 3 medium, shredded
- 1 1/2 cup chocolate chips 265g, semi-sweet
FOR THE CHOCOLATE BUTTERCREAM:
- 1 1/2 lb confectioner's sugar 680g
- 1 1/2 cup unsalted butter 342g, room temperature
- 4 1/2 tbsp heavy whipping cream 67ml
- 1/3 cup cocoa powder 40g
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla 7ml, optional
- 1 1/2 tsp espresso 7ml, optional
FOR THE GANACHE:
- 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate 130g
- 1/3 cup heavy cream 79ml
FOR THE CHOCOLATE SHARDS:
- 1/2 cup chocolate. Semi-sweet, melted, cooled
For the Cake:
- Heat oven to 350 degrees.
- Spray 3, 8-inch cake pans with non-stick oil.
- Cut a parchment round for the bottom of each pan and place inside. I always use cake strips, which prevent my cake layers from doming. If you don’t have any on hand, you can make them with wet paper towels and tin foil!
- Mix together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, espresso powder (optional), and salt in a large bowl.
- Mix oil, granulated sugar, brown sugar, eggs, sour cream, and vanilla together in a second large bowl. If using a stand mixer add the wet ingredients into your bowl and mix together with a paddle attachment.
- Add the shredded zucchini to the wet mixture and mix on low to combine.
- Mix the wet bowl with dry bowl and beat together on medium. Add in chocolate chips.
- Pour mixture into pans. Cook 30-35 minutes, or until centers are springy.
- Use a toothpick to check to see if they’re finished. Let cakes cool in the pans on a wire rack. They must be cool before working with frosting and assembly.
For the Chocolate Buttercream:
- Whip the butter for about 5 minutes using a paddle attachment (in a stand-up mixer)
- Beat in the confectioner’s sugar slowly.
- Add the cream.
- Sift in the cocoa powder and mix until combined.
- You may add the optional vanilla and espresso at this step.
- Mix until you have a fluffy, even consistency.
For the Chocolate Shards:
- Pour 1/2 cup melted and cooled semi-sweet chocolate onto a sheet of parchment paper.
- Spread out onto parchment paper with offset spatula. Let cool completely.
- Break up into shards. Dust with cocoa powder.
For the Ganache:
- Melt the chocolate and cream in a microwave for a few 30 second bursts at 50% power.
- Mix together and transfer to a piping bag with and cut the tip off. Drizzle ganache over top and sides for a nice drip effect. Quickly use an offset spatula to spread out ganache on top.
For the Assembly:
- Pipe buttercream onto the first layer. Add second layer and repeat.
- Apply a thin coat of buttercream to the side and top then smooth.
- Pour ganache on top and use an offset spatula to spread. You can apply small drips to the side if desired.
- Top with chocolate shards.