Today my six year old son and I hit a summer lull. As the youngest of four children, he is used to a house filled with doors slamming, cell phones ringing, and kids talking. Today, however, Daddy was heading home from a business trip, two siblings were at camp, and another was sick in bed. The house was clean and quiet. After tiring of fort building, game playing, and even TV watching, we headed to the kitchen to bake a Chocolate Zucchini Cake.
This recipe for Chocolate Zucchini Cake was shared with me in the 1990's by an amazing early childhood teacher in Maryland. While I was reading the big book Mrs. Wishy Washy to my class of Kindergartners, she was whipping up a Chocolate Zucchini Cake with her Pre-K class. The chocolate and cinnamon aroma wafted throughout the halls and we were all grateful that she placed the leftovers in the staff lounge. It was a moist and flavorful sheet cake that utilized the often prolific garden vegetable, zucchini. She passed out the recipe to her little students and gave me a copy as well.
Chocolate Zucchini Cake is the perfect recipe to make with young children. In addition to providing an ideal opportunity to introduce more vegetables into the child's diet and discuss gardening or the letter 'Z', this recipe also requires fun baking techniques such as whisking, egg cracking, grating, and the ever popular chocolate chip sampling. Today I even let my six year old use the 'big knife' to chop off the ends of the zucchini.
Now when baking Chocolate Zucchini Cake you could go all Jessica Seinfeld and serve this chocolate sheet cake to your family not mentioning that it contains zucchini, but I would rather involve the kids in the cooking process and then allow them to decide if they like it or not. When they come across a bite that contains a strand of something green they will know that it is zucchini and hopefully enjoy it all the same.
Chocolate Zucchini Cake
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup oil
2 eggs, room temperature
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup buttermilk or 1/2 cup milk plus 1/2 teaspoon vinegar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
4 Tablespoons cocoa
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups zucchini, grated
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13 pan with baking spray or grease and flour.
- Mix together butter and sugar until well combined.
- Add oil, eggs, vanilla, and buttermilk. Mix.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa, and cinnamon.
- Combine the wet and dry ingredients gently until well combined.
- Fold in the grated zucchini.
- Pour batter into prepared 9x13 pan.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 45 minutes.
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