Friday, May 14, 2021

Life & Style

A Cake For All Seasons

Sometimes I wish I had a garden, but I don’t like dirt or insects. My late husband’s family always had vegetable and flower gardens. My parents could have had a garden, but they didn’t even know what a trowel was, never mind seeding, weeding, picking, or cooking vegetables.

When I married my husband and we bought our first house, one with a small yard, we had a little vegetable garden. When we moved to Charlton, Massachusetts, we had one that was about a quarter of an acre. That was way too much. We grew everything, from potatoes and onions to carrots and corn. The raccoons loved corn and they enjoyed it best by pulling the stalks down to the ground, opening up all the ears, and eating just a little out of each.

We grew zucchini, too. Lots of zucchini. So I grated zucchini, let it sit in a colander for a while, then squeezed them with tea towels, packed it in plastic bags and froze the packages in our big freezer. Then came Hurricane Gloria. We lost power for close to a week. Everything in the freezer thawed. When we moved to Old Lyme, my husband made four garden beds and that was just about perfect. Zucchini and yellow squash were not our list.

I still have zucchini recipes I like. I love them stuffed with meat and rice and I love them just with breadcrumbs and herbs or spices. But zucchini and summer squash are always available in supermarkets and are always reasonably priced. I just bought a few small ones and made this cake. I might ice it with a cream cheese frosting. I have also made it in a Bundt cake (bake it at 325 degrees for an hour and a quarter) and serve it with some sorbet or ice cream. The cake freezes beautifully, but not if power goes out for a week.

Lee White of Old Lyme has been a food editor and restaurant reviewer for more than 25 years. You can email her at

Zucchini Cake

Created by Carol Cornwell of Wolfe Island, Ontario

Yield: 2 cakes



2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour, and

extra for dusting pans

½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

4 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon salt

7 cups grated zucchini, squeezed and

drained for around 30 minutes

1 cup granulated sugar

½ pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter

1 cup light brown sugar

5 eggs

1 teaspoon coffee espresso powder

(or 2 tablespoons brewed coffee)

1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 teaspoon chai powder (optional)



Adjust oven rack to center position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease and flour bottom and sides of two 9-inch by 1 ½ inch or 2-inch round cake pans. I use cooking spray. Invert pans and rap sharply to remove excess flour.

Whisk flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in large bowl; set aside. Toss grated zucchini with 1 cup granulated sugar in colander set over large bowl; drain for around 30 minutes. Meanwhile, melt butter in large skillet over medium-low heat, stirring frequently; cook until golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to large bowl; cool for 10 minutes, then whisk in remaining granulated sugar and brown sugar. Add eggs one at a time, whisking thoroughly before adding the next; add coffee and vanilla. Add flour mixture, stirring until almost combined then add zucchini.

Divide batter evenly between pans; smooth surfaces with rubber spatula. Bake until cake feels firm in center when pressed lightly and toothpick inserted into cake center comes out perfectly clean 40 to 50 minutes. Transfer pans to wire racks; cook for 10 minutes. Run knife around perimeter of each pan, invert cakes onto rack, then turn over. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Lee White is the Columnist for Zip06. Email Lee at .

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