The wonderfully unfussy, absurdly delicious chocolate zucchini cake from the new Volante Farms cookbook is the best way I know to use up an abundance of zucchini and eat chocolate cake at the same time.
Will travel for food. If I were the type to have a motto, that would be strong contender. This weekend we made a round trip from New Jersey to Vermont and Massachusetts for idyllic reasons having nothing to do with eating: we retrieved the big girl from her dreamy piano camp and introduced our tiny new niece to the whole family. Purpose enough for an outing, you might think, and you’d be right. But that didn’t deter us from hitting up one of our (and basically everyone’s) favorite markets, Volante Farms in Needham, MA. It’d been all of two weeks since I’d eaten there last. So — you know — it was time.
On my visit to the market two weeks ago, I swooped right over, impulse style, to a table piled with copies of the new Volante Farms Cookbook. The cover, with its vibrant vegetables and just-right design, called my name, and leafing through the pages of charming history and recipes organized by season did nothing to quiet the sound. Even the hefty $35 price tag, rounding out the cost of my Monday lunch at a cool $46, didn’t deter me from plunking down the AmEx. Two weeks later, I’m so glad. The chocolate zucchini cake alone is worth the price of admission, and I look forward to cooking more from this book.
Adorable fact: on our most recent trip, I picked up a free copy of Edible Boston and found a review of The Volante Farms Cookbook inside. (Also a great piece by Andrea Pyenson, stunningly photographed by Adam Detour, about local farms’ reliance on the H-2A Visa program.)
Unrelated adorable fact: these new cousins really dig each other.
It would be a stretch to say I love this cake as much as I love those cousins (ya think?), but let’s just say it’s a damn fine, unfussy, perfect-for-summer cake that I hope to serve these lovely children many, many times over many, many summers. I’m hunkering down with food traditions a bit these days, and I’ll welcome this new tradition into our lives with open arms.
Talk to you soon.
P.S. Volante Farms also inspired these Pumpkin Whoopie Pies I made last fall and will definitely make again. 🙂
Volante Farms Chocolate Zucchini Cake
This unfussy, spectacularly good cake is adapted from the Volante Farms Cookbook. It's a great way to use up an abundance of zucchini and eat chocolate cake at the same time.
- 3 cups grated zucchini
- 2 2/3 cups sugar, divided
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup safflower or other neutral-tasting vegetable oil
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
- 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, spooned and leveled
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- Powdered sugar, for dusting
Preheat oven to 325°F with a rack in the center. Butter or spray a 9-inch round cake pan (I have one like this, or try one of these) with cooking spray. Line the bottom of the pan with a circle of parchment paper and butter or spray that too.
In a strainer, toss zucchini with 1 cup of the sugar and let sit for 10 minutes to drain. Use your hands to squeeze out all the liquid you can. In a mixing bowl, beat eggs with a fork, then beat in zucchini and oil. Sprinkle in the flour, remaining 1 2/3 cups sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Use the fork to stir the dry ingredients together a bit and then incorporate into the wet ingredients, mixing gently until well combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Scrape batter into pan and spread evenly.
Bake for 40-50 minutes, until the center doesn't jiggle a tester comes out clean unless you hit a chocolate chip. 🙂 Cool in pan on a rack for at least 40 minutes before removing from pan to cool completely.
Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve at room temperature.