From Anik’s Kitchen: Zucchini Cake

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The Swiss managed to invent a great cake with shredded carrots. They also created a lesser known variety with shredded zucchini.

This is not a bread. This is a cake. It’s sweet and sugary and unless somebody tells you that there’s nearly a pound of zucchini in there, chances are you won’t even notice. I don’t think it’s all that healthy, either.

My brother – the Cooking Scientist – baked this last year for me and it tasted glorious. After I finagled the recipe out of him and waited for reasonably priced zucchini all summer, I finally tried to recreate it, although I have to say that his version was far better than mine. I think I have to shredder the zucchini finer next time.

I promised this recipe to a reader last week already – sorry, it took me a while longer. That Assyrian Pottery again. I simply can’t curb my footnote-impulse. But a slice of sweet zucchini cake makes a mean power bar to guarantee the next two dozen of them.

Swiss Zucchini Cake

Ingredients:

  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 dash of salt
  • 250g sugar
  • a few drops of almond flavor (bitter almond), if you have
  • 125g grated almonds, preferably the “with skin” kind
  • 200g flour
  • 1tsp. baking powder
  • 400g finely shredded zucchini
  • 120g of molten, cooled down (but still liquid) shortening

Instructions:

  • Separate the eggs (keep the yolk in the fridge until the following morning, add 2-3 tbsp. of heavy cream, whip well, add some chopped chives, salt and pepper and make the most decadent scrambled eggs of your life).
  • Whisk the egg whites with the dash of salt until stiff.
  • Add 125g of sugar and keep whisking until the mass is shiny.
  • Add the remaining 125g of sugar, the bitter almond flavor if at hand, and whisk for another minute.
  • In another bowl, mix the flour, baking powder and grated almonds.
  • In a third bowl, your finely shredded zucchini should be waking – pour the shorting over the zucchini and stir well until fully blended.
  • Now you need the biggest bowl you have, to mix – always alternating – half of the flour mixture, then half of the zucchini into the stiff, sugary egg whites. Repeat with the second halves. Blend slowly, carefully, and thoroughly. It’s the crucial step that makes this cake.
  • Bake in a cake tin (ideally 28cm, mine is only 25vm, it also worked) at 180°C for 55 minutes with the tray in the lowest possible position.

8 thoughts on “From Anik’s Kitchen: Zucchini Cake”

  1. I can’t understand these phrases:

    120g of molten, cooled down (but still liquid) shortening

    In a third bowl, your finely shredded zucchini should be waking – our the shorting over the zucchini and stir well until fully blended.

    I looks delicious. Zucchini are easily to find at a reasonable price over here, I’d like to give it a try.

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    1. sorry, Sam, I forgot a “p” there…

      Melt the shortening (margarine) on medium heat and let it cool down before using it further, but not so much that it would turn solid again.

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  2. Oooh! Would never have thought of that. Nearly a pound of zucchini in a cake! Bless you, Anik. Now I can get the green stuff happily into my sweet-oriented diet. Thank you and brother a million for the recipe. 😀

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  3. You don’t squeeze the moisture from your zucchini? Whenever I make zucchini bread, recipes will requires some sort of drying out of the excessively wet shredded courgette (it rhymed, so I decided to go with that name…)

    Oh, and can butter be used instead of shortening? I switched to butter and animal fat (say, lard) in baking.

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    1. Since it is a cake, not a bread, and since Swiss cakes tend to be very moist, there is no need to drain any liquid from the zucchini.
      Whether you like lard in a cake is probably a decision of personal taste; butter does of course work just as well as shortening.

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  4. Is there collective experience of how high the cake usually is when finished? I’ve made it several times now (and it’s delicious! thanks!) but I suspect that still greater attention to egg whites and mixing might yield a lighter final product.

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    1. mine rises about 40% above the form, but sinks back together while cooling off.
      I’ve wondered whether you can get the whites to be a little stiffer by cutting down the sugar, or blending in some of the sugar in another way. With all the sugar, the egg whites always lose some stiffness. Or perhaps there’s a way to blend the egg whites more delicately into the zucchini? I’m still experimenting.

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