Zucchini-Packed Cake with Lighter Cream Cheese Frosting

The case of what to do with the giant zucchini was as miraculous as it was mysterious.  Miraculous because I am vegetable garden challenged.  Every year I have great intentions and high hopes for my starts and seeds, but between forgetting to water, limited light, and the acidity of our soil (due to the evergreen trees overhead) my garden never amounts to much of anything.  To make my neglectful watering worse, this year Seattle has had a summer’s full of sunshine and heat, and we haven’t even hit August!

So, I felt like a gardening superstar when my lettuce did OK and I was able to pinch off a leaf or two of kale for an itty bitty salad.  Oh, did I mention that I had a pathetic, scraggly looking zucchini plant sprout long after I had lost hope for it?  Go me!

I wrote off my zucchini plant’s chances of success as “not good” and neglected to water it all summer – oops.  This weekend I decided I’d stared at its ugliness for long enough and proceeded to tear it out.

Turns out my scraggly zucchini plant with splotchy, slug eaten, sunburned leaves was hiding a single lone treasure despite its scantily clad appearance.  Which brings us back to the giant zucchini.  Measuring just over 1 foot long and weighing it at over 3 lbs, this Miracle Monster looked almost like a baby watermelon rather than a zucchini.

Which brings me to my next mystery: What exactly does one do with a giant zucchini, aside from nicknaming it “Miracle Monster?!”

So I decided that rather than search the internet for a recipe requiring 3+ lbs of zucchini, I will stick to the things I know and make this last week of July a week of zucchini-ness.

How better to start than with zucchini cake!  Now, when I mean zucchini cake, I don’t mean that chocolate cake with a tiny smattering of zucchini folded in.  I mean a cake packed with zucchini.  I probably used about 1 lb. of the Miracle Monster in this cake!

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As you would expect with the addition of zucchini, the cake is moist, light, and flavorful!  I grated some apple (or you could use apple sauce) as well for naturally added sweetness and even more moisture.

I almost forgot the best part!  This cake is an easy 1-bowl wonder – well aside from a vegetable grater and cutting board!  😉  In my house, fewer dishes = awesome.

Healthy and cake are not typically words I use in the same sentence, however this cake has no refined sweeteners. If you have dairy allergies, the cake is dairy free and the frosting can be too with some easy vegan substitutes!  Aside from the giant zucchini, I bet you have all or most of these ingredients already!

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I love cream cheese frosting and have been hearing some serious love for cream cheese frostings with greek yogurt!  I should probably mention that along with most healthy baked goods, I am a skeptic of healthy frosting.  But fear not, this greek yogurt cream cheese hits the mark!  It is lighter and has a little extra tang, and “the tang” is why I love cream cheese frostings to begin with!  So of course I had to give one or two recipes a try, and man-oh-man. was I not disappointed!  I have put an easy spin on it, because easy is awesome.  I even had a little left-over which just so happens to double as the perfect strawberry dunking dip;)

Greek yogurt frostings although not being durable enough for  a layer cake, are PERFECT for cakes like this!  If you love cream cheese frosting, you will LOVE this frosting.

Without further ado….

Zucchini-Packed Cake

  • 1 1/4 cup zucchini, grated
  • 1/3 cup apple, grated (or applesauce)
  • 1/3 cup oil (a tasteless light variety, although I steer clear of veg. oil)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour or all-purpose whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/3 cup turbinado sugar

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  With a wire whisk mix flour, baking soda, salt, and sugar together. Add zucchini, apple, oil, vinegar, vanilla and gently stir together until almost combined.  Then add 1 egg and mix just until combined.  Be careful not to over-mix.

Cut a piece of parchment to line the bottom of a greased 8in. square pan or a 8in. cake round.  Pour batter into the pan and bake for around 20 minutes (I started checking at 15min) until cake sets and knife comes out clean from the center.  After cake has been removed form the oven, wait 5 minutes and then remove cake from pan.  Allow cake to cool completely before eating:)  Although this cake is yummy on its own, you will find the frosting recipe below – and trust me, you want to make this frosting!!

Greek Yogurt Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 6 oz. cream cheese (room temperature)
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbl. greek yogurt (I used non-fat)
  • 5 tbl. powdered sugar
  • 3/4 tsp. pure vanilla extract

With an electric mixer and the wire whisk attachment,  combine cream cheese and greek yogurt until combined.  Then add powdered sugar until combined and finally mix in the vanilla extract.

Top the cake with the yummy frosting and store in the fridge until serving.

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So part 1 of my Miracle Monster veggie has been devoured in the form of a cake (veggies in cake, hehe).  But, what am I to do with the rest of him?  I am pretty sure these Zucchini “Meatballs” from Skinnytaste deserve a taste, or this truly amazing Rainbow Vegetarian Pad Thai from PinchOfYum is calling my name yet again.  Yum!

Although my gardening skills may be lacking, I am looking forward to enjoying the fruits of my non-labor  –  or maybe, in my case, since I only grew 1 thing successfully “fruit” would be more grammatically accurate.

Either-way: Buon Appetito!

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