Chocolate Zucchini Cake

adapted from Saveur

serves 8-10

2 medium zucchini, trimmed and grated (I grated mine on the medium holes of a box grater)
9 tablespoons of unsalted butter, at room temperature, divided
2-3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa, sifted
1-1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk *
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar

*if you don't have buttermilk on hand, which I frequently do not, simply add 1/2 tablespoon vinegar to 1/2 cup milk (whole or lowfat) and let sit for 15 minutes. Works.



Working in batches, put a small mound of the grated zucchini in center of a large square of double-layer cheesecloth (I used a thin tea towel).  Gather corners together and squeeze out as much water as possible from the zucchini.  Transfer zucchini to a bowl and set aside.  (I had about 2 cups of this squeezed zucchini. Do not obsess about the amount, though.  This is a very forgiving recipe when it comes to the amount of zucchini.)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.  Butter a deep 9" cake pan with 1 tablespoon of the butter. Sift flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt together into a mixing bowl and set aside.

Beat together the remaining 8 tablespoons of butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy, 3-4 minutes.  Add oil, beating well. Beat in one egg at a time, add vanilla, reduce speed to low and beat in flour mixture and buttermilk in 3 alternative batches.  Stir in reserved zucchini.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 1 hour and 15 minutes (Start checking after 1 hour - baking time could be faster.)  Remove from oven and set aside to cool for 15 minutes.  Invert onto a rack to cool completely. Dust with confectioners' sugar.

The Italian Dish
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