Sunday, July 15, 2012

Zucchini Cake with Citrus Glaze

Delicious and beautiful!
 So what, it’s hot. Again. I have been diligently making, and eating, salads, sandwiches and all kinds of grilled items. I’m tired of it. I want some real food--and some cake.
Yesterday, in a fit of rebellion I turned on my oven. And my stove. And my air conditioner.

I made a curried coconut chicken stew. I made rice. I made a cake. It was good food. Please family, don’t eat it all in one day. The stew was a concoction of mine that turned out great, but that no human in their right mind would make in this heat. So I will spare you that temptation until the fall.

But the cake? It’s worth it. If you have zucchini, which you either have or will soon have in abundance, you want to make this cake. I found this recipe when looking for a variation on zucchini bread, and stumbled upon David Lebovitz’s blog, a Sweet Life in Paris. This recipe uses one very huge zucchini, and ground almonds to add flavor and texture to the bread. It is glazed with a simple citrus glaze (I used lime and orange). It is so good.

We have another heat wave coming, so I am heading back to the grill and chopping raw kale leaves for slaw. But I might have to turn the oven on again, just to make this cake.

1 cup (135g) almonds, pecans, or walnuts, toasted
2 cups (280g) flour
1.5 tsp baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon dried ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 3/4 (350g) cups sugar
1 cup (250ml) extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups (300g) finely grated zucchini

Citrus glaze:
1/4 cup (60ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice (I used mix of lime and orange juice)
1/3 cup (65g) granulated sugar
1 cup (140g) powdered (confectioner’s) sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC). Grease a 10 cup (2.5l) bundt pan with non-stick spray or butter, dust with flour, then tap out any excess.
2. Pulse the nuts in a food processor until finely chopped.
3. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Set aside.
4. Beat the eggs, 1 3/4 cup (350g) sugar, and olive oil for 3 minutes on medium speed, until light and fluffy. Stop and scrape down the sides of the mixer, then add the vanilla.
5. Mix in the dry ingredients, scraping down the sides of the mixer bowl to make sure everything is mixed in well, then beat on medium speed for 30 seconds.
6. Stir in the chopped nuts and zucchini.
7. Scrape the batter into the prepared cake pan, smooth the top, then bake the cake for 45 to 50 minutes, until the toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and the cake has begun to pull away from the sides of the pan.
8. During the last few minutes of the cake baking, make the glaze by whisking together the lemon juice, 1/3 cup (65g) granulated sugar, and powdered sugar.
9. Let the cake cool for 10 minutes, then carefully invert it onto a cooling rack. Brush the glaze over the cake with a pastry brush and let the cake cool completely.

Storage: The cake can be wrapped (or put under a cake dome) and will keep for a few days. You can freeze the unglazed cake. However to apply the glaze, you’ll need to defrost the cake then warm it so the glaze will adhere properly.

This cake batter could also be baked in two loaf pans, which is easier for gift-giving, if you’re trying to share your zucchini bounty. You may need to reduce the baking time a little to compensate for the smaller pans.