Zucchini Olive Oil Cake

My family and I belong to a Community Supported Agriculture program in our neighborhood. That means we get a basket of seasonal fruits and vegetables (a share of whatever the farm has produced) every tuesday, May to November. Let me say that I LOVE this program and am always impressed by the quality of produce. Participation, however, can pose some challenges. Several weeks ago we got SIX zucchini in our basket. I love grilled zucchini, but can’t eat it ad nauseum. We needed some new ideas.

Enter Gina de Palma’s Zucchini Olive Oil Cake which I found on Amateur Gourmet, one of my favorite food blogs. I had never made an olive oil cake and loved the effect. The zucchini added moisture and the lemon glaze was a worthwhile addition. We couldn’t finish this all so some pieces were frozen for later. It will be a great treat come winter.

Unlike Amateur Gourmet, I used a bundt pan. The results were yummy!

Zucchini Olive-Oil Cake with Lemon Crunch Glaze

by Gina DePalma, from “Dolce Italiano”

For the cake:

1 cup walnut pieces

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon kosher salt

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

3 large eggs

1 3/4 cups granulated sugar

1 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

2 1/2 cups grated zucchini (about 2 small zucchini)

Confectioner’s sugar, for dusting (optional)

For the lemon crunch glaze:

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

To make the cake: Preheat the oven to 350 and position a rack in the center. Grease a 10 cup Bundt pan [I just used a regular cake pan] using nonstick cooking spray or butter, then dust it with flour to coat it completely, tapping out the excess flour.

Place the walnuts in a single layer on a baking sheet and toast them until they are golden brown and aromatic, 12 to 14 minutes. Cool the walnuts completely, then finely chop them in the food processor and set aside.

Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices into a medium bowl and set aside. In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs, sugar, and olive oil together on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, then beat in the vanilla extract. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula after each addition. Beat in the dry ingredients all at once on low speed until they are thoroughly combined, then switch the mixer to medium speed and mix for 30 seconds. Beat in the zucchini and the walnuts on low speed until they are completely incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with a spatula.

Bake the cake for 45 to 50 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time to ensure even browning. The cake is done when a tester inserted in the center comes out clean and the cake has begun to pull away from the sides of the pan.

While the cake is baking, prepare the glaze: In a medium bowl, whisk together the lemon juice and granulated sugar, then whisk in the confectioners’ sugar until the glaze is completely smooth.

Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then carefully invert it onto a wire rack. Using a pastry brush immediately brush the glaze over the entire surface of the warm cake, using all of the glaze; it will adhere to the cake and set as the cake cools, Allow the cake to cool completely and the glaze to dry completely. [Abigail note: Make sure you have a pan underneath the rack while you put the glaze on. Otherwise your counter will get very sticky.]


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