I do love chocolate cake, but when it comes down to it, I’m a bit of a snob. I like them dense and moist, almost damp – not airy and gutless, like those made with a mix. Frosting is not essential – especially when it comes to a good bundt. I like the cake to stand on its own, rather than act as a mere vehicle for butter and sugar.
This here? It’s my favourite chocolate cake. There, I said it. If I had to choose just one, this is it. Not too sweet, moist and compact, but not doorstoplike.
This week I’m out in Kelowna, presenting at the Okanagan Food and Wine Writers’ Workshop. It’s pretty much the best job ever, wherein a small group of less than twenty stay at the Hotel Eldorado (aka “the El”), eat and drink well and sit around tables having sessions on writing, pitching, marketing, photography, new media and the like. All straight up my alley. Tonight we got a preview of the brand-new Bottega, with a spectacular dinner by chef Mark Filatow of Waterfront Wines.
Where I even met an alpaca with a pretty rad ‘do and Flashdance leg warmers.
But – the cake. I made it last weekend, when we were going next door for a barbecue and to watch the Stanley Cup playoffs, and we were supposed to be there in half an hour and I still hadn’t figured out what to bring for dessert. We had zucchini in the fridge, and so I let that dictate my choice of dessert, rather than attempt some sort of pseudo-hockey puck shaped chocolate thing.
This is the bomb when you want something plain enough to eat out of hand – in wedges around the card table, maybe – or to hand a half dozen boys under 10 who are on their way out the door to play street hockey. It will also satisfy a deep need for something soft and intensely chocolate.
It’s a security blanket, in cake form. (Grab some icing sugar with a tea infuser for a quick dusting.)
Deep Dark Chocolate Sour Cream Zucchini Cake
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup canola or other mild vegetable oil
1 3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
2 cups grated unpeeled zucchini (about 2 smallish, or 1 large)
3/4 cup chopped walnuts or chocolate chips, or both (optional)
Preheat oven to 325°F and spray a Bundt pan with nonstick spray. In a large bowl, beat the butter, oil and sugar on high speed with an electric mixer for 2-3 minutes, until thick and pale yellow. Beat in the eggs and vanilla.
In a smaller bowl, stir together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add a third to the butter mixture and beat just until blended; add half the sour cream and do the same. Repeat with another third of the flour mixture, the rest of the sour cream, and the rest of the flour. Stir in the zucchini and the nuts and/or chocolate chips, if you’re using them, and pour the thick batter into the pan, smoothing the top.
Bake for an hour, until the top is cracked and springy to the touch. Invert onto a plate or cake stand while still warm. Serves 8-16.
June 14 2012 12:13 am | cake