Sunday, September 14, 2008

Margit's Chocolate Zucchini Cake

I loved fall as a teenager. I loved waking up and walking to school in the crisp, clean air. It woke me up and prepared me for the day ahead. I loved going back to school, seeing all my friends, and getting back into the action of schoolwork and lunch hour / after school / in class socializing. I also loved fall because of the zucchini.

To most people, this might sound odd, because zucchini is a highly underrated vegetable. But you see, my mother hated zucchini, so to me it was an exotic adventure. An exotic adventure that could always be found at my best friend Lisa's house in the fall. This is because Lisa's dad believed in sustainable living, and so he grew almost all of their vegetables. In the fall, this meant that there was a LOT of zucchini at the Shaver's house. I would often saunter over around the end of my supper time (we lived about 5 blocks apart) just in time to witness Lisa, nose turned up, still at the table, staring at her zucchini. You see, having been forced to eat large quantities of zucchini every fall all her life, she hated zucchini. Which is why we were both perfectly happy to have me show up, eat her zucchini while her mom's back was turned, and get on with our regularly scheduled evenings. In other words: read comics, draw comic book characters, and invent our own universes full of quirky but fashionable talking animals.

As well as the supper time zucchini adventures, Margit, Lisa's mom, made the best zucchini cake ever. Next to her Pumpkin pie (which I generally managed to consume in large quantities in late October), Margit's chocolate zucchini cake was my favorite thing to eat at the Shaver's house. And yes, in case you're wondering, I was (and still am) one of those people that shamelessly arrives at people's houses, rummages through their fridge and cupboards, and eats their food. The compensation for feeding me, however, is great. Not only do you get my undying loyalty and friendship (whether you want it or not), but you also get strange and fabulous handmade stuff (depending on what I"m into at the moment this could include softies, quilts, housewares, headless stuffed animals, jewelery, poetry, masks or drawings of comic book characters).

However, I digress. Lisa's mom's zucchini cake is great. For years I wished I had the recipie. I had her pumpkin pie recipe and Lisa's Grandma's doughnuts recipe, but I did not have the zucchini cake recipe. So two years ago when I grew a garden and figured I couldn't mess up zucchini (I did, by the way. Three plants produced four zucchini.), I got the recipe. And now I offer it to you:

1/2 c margerine
1//2 c oil
1 1/2 c sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 c flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 c cocoa
2 c grated zucchini
1/2 c buttermilk or sour milk

topping: 2 tsp grated orange peel, 1/4 c nuts or 1/4 cup chocolate chips

Blend margerine, oil, sugar, eggs and vanilla. Mix flour, soda and cocoa seperately. Alternate adding flour mix, milk and zucchini, then second half of flour. Stir until just blended. Bake in 9 X 13 pan or ring pan at 325 for 55 min.

I suggest the ring pan. I don't have one, and I find my cake is never quite as moist as Margit's was. But the, I've only been making it since I lived on the prairies and this is a Northern Ontario recipe, so the extra dryness in the air might also be to blame. You can tell I was bored in this photo, because I'm cutting the cake horizontally instead of vertically, which is the opposite of how I usually cut cake. I only diverge when I'm in desperate need of novelty.

In any case, make this cake. Make it often. And then invite me to coffee. I'll help you eat it.


Anna & Andrew Mayo said...

I added you to Mary and I's recipe blog. It hasn't really got going yet, but the purpose to post tried, tested and loved recipes:)

Kristen said...

Once again you are a timely writer...I've been racking my brain for ways to get some veggies into Jeremy and one of my thoughts was, 'if only I had a good zucchini cake recipe'...coincidence?