When John tasted these little cakes he literally said “These are made from ZUCCHINI?!” Such a good response and exactly what I was hoping for. These rich, a little complex, moist and light little cakes are an amazing way to hide a huge amount of zucchini, an entire 3 cups! If you are overwhelmed by that little green squash right now, offer to bring dessert to your next picnic or get together. I put together this recipe to mimic the incredible flavors found in one of my absolute favorite chocolates of all time, Gearhart’s Maya Chocolate. Seriously , Gearharts is chocolate perfection and if you live in VA it is worth a stop in Charlottesville to indulge. I mimicked the flavors in the Maya by combining rich dark chocolate flavor with spicy cinnamon and a little heat from a hint of cayenne all brightened up with coolness of citrus from the orange. If you are skeptical about adding heat to a chocolate cake, I totally get it and will not be offended if you skip the cinnamon or cayenne pepper. Even if you take away the orange you will still have a rich a delicious simple chocolate zucchini cake recipe that you could make anytime and for anyone. Though not a replacement for a good box of Gearharts, we loved these little cakes and I hope you enjoy them too!
Maya Chocolate Zucchini Cake:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups white sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (good quality like Ghiradelli or better)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
3 cups finely grated zucchini (make sure to squeeze out all of the extra water from the zucchini)
1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper (optional…adds a little kick)
zest one orange
juice of 1/2 a large orange or 1/4 cup orange juice
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a bundt pan or cupcake pans.
2. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and cayenne pepper (if using it).
3. Add the eggs and oil, mix well. Fold in the zucchini. Pour into the prepared pan.
4. Bake for appropriate time below or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.
5. Right before serving dust with (or roll cupcakes in) a cinnamon sugar powder made with equal parts cocoa powder, granulated sugar and cinnamon.
bundt pan: 50 to 60 minutes
for large 6 cupcakes bake: 25- 30 minutes (will make 12 large cupcakes)
for regular 12 cupcake pans bake: 20-25 minutes (will make 24 small cupcakes)
Enjoy indulging while using up some of the pesky zucchini!!