Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Chocolate Zucchini Loaf

In principle, I hate masking vegetables. I think they are beautiful, delicious and healthy, so I present them in simple forms over and over and over again, and expect my kids to eat them until they like them.

In practice, some veggies defeat me. Take zucchini. We have a zucchini glut, but no matter how delicately it is prepared, I cannot get my two younger children, in particular my four year old, to eat it. Against my principles, I have begun shredding zucchini and hiding it in the base of pasta sauce, and have discovered this has its rewards. The philistines gobble it up, and my seven year old, who is in on the secret, sniggers and rolls her eyes at me through each such meal; such bonding is special, in its own way.

Yet my four year old loves to cook. She loves chocolate, and she loves cake, and I began wondering what would happen if we made a chocolate zucchini cake. On the weekend, we needed an activity, so we gave it a go.

Together, we measured ingredients. Together, we grated zucchini and together, we mixed it in. To my astonishment, despite the highly visible bright green shreds of zucchini she not only tried the cake but loved it. Further, having discovered zucchini is not such a big deal, she later ate some in a couscous salad with only a very little fuss.

Yet again I have learned that my principles are bunk. A little masking, a little fun with a vegetable, and life is so much easier – even at arsenic hour, aka dinnertime.

Chocolate Zucchini Loaf

- 125g fair trade* 70% cocoa** chocolate
- 3 eggs
- 2 cups white sugar
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 2 cups grated zucchini (about 2 medium, or 1 large, or ½ a gigantic one...)
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 2 cups plain flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ground cloves

Preheat the oven to 175°C. Grease two 10cm x 23cm (9x5in) loaf pans and line with baking paper.

Break up about 30g chocolate and place it into a shallow cup. Zap it in the microwave, removing regularly to stir, until it's just melted. Place the rest of the chocolate into a food processor, and pulse-chop it into small chunks. (Alternatively, you can chop it with a good heavy knife; or, of course, you can just use chocolate chips, but it's hard to find fair trade chocolate chips and the history of chocolate is a history of exploitation, so this is why I do what I do.)

Break the eggs into a large bowl, and whisk. Add the chocolate, sugar, oil, zucchini and vanilla essence, and mix well.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, the baking soda and the spices. Whisk to combine. Stir in the chopped chocolate, then turn the contents of this bowl into the other. Quickly and gently fold everything together, then pour and scrape the batter into the tins.

Bake for an hour, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for twenty minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack. Serve warm or cold. This loaf keeps well; it is still very moist the next day.

The recipe is all over the internet; I tweaked one of the many versions found at allrecipes.com.

* Because, you know, those people work really hard and their children should get to go to school.

** If you have a sweet tooth, use chocolate with a lower cocoa ratio.

(Local: eggs, zucchini. Not local: everything else.)


  1. Thanks. I will try it. He won't eat zucchini even if I put it with a pasta sauce. he will just eat the pasta! But he loves chocolate cake so I think we have a winner. I am Joanne Pope! I don't know how else to post this except as anonymous.

  2. Hi Joanne, I think you can choose not be anonymous if you select something from the drop down 'comment as' list, so if you have a blogging profile, choose that; or if not, then choose Name/URL and fill in the blanks in the pop up window - but even if you're Anonymous but you sign off as Joanne then I'll know who you are! Good luck with the cake. alison.