The Country Myth

zucchini.jpgI'm a little bit disappointed.  You see, I have always been told when you live in the country, during the summer season, you must lock your car doors.  Not because someone will steal your car but because they will fill it up with bountiful amounts of zucchini they have grown in their garden.


Well, I've purposely left my car doors open for days and days now and NO ZUCCHINI!  Nothing.  Nada.  Where is it people?

I'm not sure what the problem is, I would treat the zucchini so well.  I would pan-fry it, make zucchini fries, make some desserts...some breads.  I would even share my treats.

So what's the problem...where's my zucchini?!

zucchini2.jpgWell, it could be, a) I don't live far enough out in the country or b) folks on the golf course don't grow zucchini in their backyards.  I'm thinking it's b.  Bummer.

However, it gave me another excuse to visit the amazing farm stands we have here in the countryside of Oregon.  The produce is some of the best I have ever seen.  I feel privileged shopping there every day. 

Anyway, I made my way out to Farmer John's produce stand and picked up some zucchini for a Chocolate Zucchini Cake.  I love this cake because it's sturdy and has a great texture with a lovely background orange flavor.  The frosting is also very decadent and really makes a wonderful dessert.  Except, I had it for breakfast.  Whoops.

Chocolate Zucchini Cake
Adapted from the Capital Press

For the cake:
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa, sifted
2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup butter, room temperature
1-1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Zest of one orange
1/2 cup whole milk
2 cups zucchini, shredded or grated
1 cup nuts, chopped (I used walnuts)

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
2 eight-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups confectioner's sugar, sifted

In a medium-size bowl whisk together flour, cocoa (sifted), baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon.  Set aside.

Using a stand mixer or a regular mixer cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy; about three minutes.  Add eggs, one at a time, until each is fully combined.  Continue to mix adding vanilla extract and the zest of one orange.

Add the flour mixture in thirds alternating with whole milk; begin and end with the flour mixture.  Mix on low speed only unitl combined.  Don't overmix.

Fold in zucchini and nuts. 

You can make this cake in layers or in a 9 x 13 pan.  I used two eight-inch pans that were greased and floured and placed into a 350 degree oven for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle returns clean.

Let cakes cool for five minutes in the pan and then flip them out onto wire racks to cool completely.

Once the cakes have cooled it's time to make the Cream Cheese Frosting.  In a large bowl beat together cream cheese and butter and vanilla extract.  Once combined continue to beat in confectioner's sugar on low speed.  (If not using right away, place in the refrigerator.) 

Frost completely cooled cake and place cake in the refrigerator until ready to serve.


Cathy is currently in the development stages of her vineyard and winery in the Willamette Valley of Oregon.  She is a food writer for Davis Life Magazine and blogs daily about wine, food and everyday living.  She lives with her husband and two sons.  You can visit her at