chocolate & zucchini valentine cakes

chocolate & zucchini valentine cakes

What do you make when you have a veggie garden full of zucchini and a special event to go to on Valentines Day? For me, it was these gorgeous little chocolate and zucchini hearts.

Where I live, February is hot, hot, hot, and well-watered zucchinis grow almost fast enough for the eye to see. One becomes very creative thinking of ways to use them… and luckily zucchinis are fabulously versatile, lending themselves beautifully to both savoury and sweet dishes.

These little hearts are based on Clotilde Dusoulier’s divine Chocolate & Zucchini cake mixture, which I have spread out into a lamington tin, baked, and cut out with little cookie cutters. They are beautifully moist, with the texture of a brownie or a mud cake. And if your kids cringe at the mention of zucchini, just one of these little hearts will help them to see it in a whole new light!

115 g (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened, or 1/2 cup organic coconut butter
180 g (1 cup) raw sugar
2 tablespoons strong cooled coffee
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 free-range large eggs
240 g (2 cups) plain flour
60 grams (1/2 cup) unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon bicarb soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
350 grams (2 cups) unpeeled grated zucchini
160 grams (1 cup) good-quality dark chocolate, chopped
Icing sugar, for dusting

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Grease and line 23 x 33 cm lamington tin with baking paper, carefully folding the corners to achieve a neat edge.

In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, either using a stand mixer or a wooden spoon. Add the coffee, vanilla, and the eggs, one at a time, beating well between each addition.

In a separate bowl, sift together the dry ingredients.

In another mixing bowl, place the zucchini and chocolate, and sprinkle over about a third of the flour mixture. Stir to coat all the zucchini with the flour.

Add the rest of the flour to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined. Fold in the zucchini mixture and pour into the lamington tin.

Use a spatula to create nice level surface and pop into the oven.

Bake for around 25 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remove from the oven, and then, holding on to the baking paper, carefully lift the cake out onto a cooling rack. Allow to cool completely.

Using a 4.5cm heart cutter, carefully cut out little hearts from the cake. The tops may be a little bumpy due to the uneven melting of the chocolate, but dust them with a little icing sugar and they will look just gorgeous.

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