This recipe makes a medium-sized springform (about 11" diameter), or about 18-24 muffins if you're so inclined. There are some ingredient notes at the end; I am, among other things, a professional baker, so I'm picky about what goes into my cakes.
3/4 cup sweet butter *a
1 cup raw sugar (or brown or demerrera, anything but white death.) *b
The zest of a mandarin orange
1 cup whole milk
1 tsp white corn syrup
2-1/4 cups flour *d
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder *c
2-1/4 cups grated zucchini, skins on
1 cup chocolate chips, semisweet is best
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1. Cream the butter and sugar with the zest. Once this is uniformly creamy and mixed, beat in the eggs one at a time. Finally, beat in the milk and corn syrup.
2. In a separate large measuring cup, measure out and mix the dry ingredients (keeping the chocolate chips out).
3. Add the dry to the wet, stirring constantly, until you've got a fairly thick batter. Fold in the zucchini and chocolate chips.
4. Pour this into a greased springform pan and bake at 350 F (180 C) for about 50 minutes or until the cake tests done. Allow to cool for 15-20 minutes before springing the pan, then allow to stand until cooled completely. I usually cover the finished cake with a cloth at this point, because I have a problem with flies.
The Truffle Glaze
1 cup heavy cream, at least 35% milkfat
10 oz dark chocolate, broken into smallish bits *e
3 tbsp sweet butter, cut into small chunks
3 tbsp of the liqueur of your choice; I use Spanish Port Brandy, but this recipe also works well with Rums and cream liqueurs like Bailey's.
1. Scald the cream, then remove from the heat and add the chocolate, all at once. Whisk until completely dissolved.
2. Add the butter and continue whisking until totally dissolved, then add the liqueur and whisk some more.
3. Spoon this over the completely cooled cake, allowing some to dribble down over the edges.
This recipe makes enough truffle to glaze about three cakes, but take heart! It refrigerates very well - pour the rest off into a supperware container. It hardens when cooled, and can also be used as centers in filled chocolates. To reliquify it for use as a glaze, simply heat it over a very low flame, stirring constantly.
a) There is no real substitute for real, unsalted butter. Margarine is not only harder to digest, but it leaves a funny taste in the cake.
b) Raw sugar, which is widely available, has a better flavour and contains more essential trace minerals than white. The slightly smokey molasses taste or raw sugar is one of the keys to this cake, and it shouldn't be omitted or substituted.
c) Look for non-alkalinized cocoa if you can - this is a paler cocoa powder but it is not self-rising. If all you can find is Dutch-Process (the black cocoa powder), omit the baking soda from the recipe. This will prevent the cake from overflowing in your oven.
d) I don't use strictly wheat flour in my cakes - I substitute up to 1/4 cup of specialty flour like Quinoa or Amaranth. I find it gives the cake a subtle nutty flavour, which I quite like. It also ups the protein levels, making the cake more nutritious. However, this cake is also very tasty using 100% wheat flour.
e) Dark chocolate is any chocolate with more than 65% cocoa solids in it; the best dark chocolates hover around 75% cocoa. In Canada, I used Bernard Callebaut Dark Couberture; in the US, look for Lindt dark bars (Lindt Silver Signature is excellent) or if you're feeling fancy, Lindt & Spreugli Gran Cru Ecuador bars. Here in Ecuador, I use half Mother of Chocolate (98% cocoa solids) and half Superior or Kallari 75% (these are non-export items, sadly.)
f) I am of simple tastes in decoration, especially when it comes to glazed cakes. What you see in the photo are "grageas" - shiny, bittersweet chocolate-covered sesame seeds tossed on by way of garnish. When I can't find these, I use a small spray of miniature roses instead.