Saturday, August 7, 2010

Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes with Taza Chocolate and Cream Cheese Frosting

I keep getting zucchini in my CSA farmshare, and I keep trying to find different uses for it. One of the cooking blogs I read is called Chocolate and Zucchini, and the author recently posted a recipe for chocolate zucchini cake that I decided to turn into cupcakes. I used a package of Taza chili chocolate, which brought some heat, but next time i think i might do one and a half to two packages (Taza is this great local company here in somerville that makes stone ground mexican chocolate in lots of interesting flavors. They recently suffered a lot of damage in the last round of flooding, and can use some support so go buy some chocolate. It's OK, I'll wait...)

The frosting is a basic cream cheese with a package of cream cheese, a stick of butter, and powdered sugar to the proper consistency with some vanilla drizzled in for fun. It's also good if you add a teaspoon of grated fresh ginger.

Much like the parsnip muffins, the great thing about adding zucchini to the cupcakes is that they make the cake incredibly moist without adding fat. You really can't tell the zucchini is in there.

Chocolate & Zucchini Cake

- 240 grams (2 cups) all-purpose flour
- 60 grams (1/2 cup) unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 180 grams (1 scant cup) light brown sugar (I use unrefined cane sugar)
- 115 grams (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature, or 1/2 cup virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon instant coffee granules or 2 tablespoons strong cooled coffee -- this is just to deepen the chocolate flavor, you won't taste it in the finished product
- 3 large eggs
- 350 grams (2 cups) unpeeled grated zucchini, from about 1 1/2 medium zucchini
- 160 grams (1 cup) good-quality bittersweet chocolate chips, or chopped chocolate
- Confectioner's sugar (optional)

Serves 12.

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Grease a 25-cm (10-inch) round springform pan or a 22-cm (8 1/2-inch) square pan. For cupcakes you want two muffin tins as it makes around 15 cupcakes

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In the bowl of a mixer (or by hand in a large mixing bowl), beat the sugar and butter until fluffy. Add the vanilla, coffee, and eggs, mixing well between each addition.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the zucchini, chocolate chips, and about a third of the flour mixture, making sure the zucchini strands are well coated and not clumping too much.

Add the rest of the flour mixture into the egg batter. Mix until just combined; the batter will be thick.

Fold the zucchini mixture into the batter, and blend with a spatula without overmixing. Pour into the prepared cake pan, and level the surface.

Bake for 40 to 50 minutes (20 to 25 for cupcakes), until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer onto a rack to cool for 10 minutes, run a knife around the pan to loosen, and unclasp the sides of the pan. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature. Sprinkle with confectioner's sugar or a chocolate glaze if desired.

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