Monday, April 23, 2012

Zucchini Slices with Chocolate Glaze

I have seen a lot of carrot cake recently and it did get me to thinking that it had been some time since I posted a cake made with a vegetable. While I was reviewing recipes, I was thinking how most of the time, cakes like this really have a great topping that compliments the flavor of the cake.  However, there are a lot of creations that have a bunch of add ins with the vegetables.  I have seen pineapple, coconut as well as white chocolate chips in carrot cakes.  Nothing wrong with that, but the more add ins, the lesser it becomes an actual carrot cake.

This particular cake is one layer, so in regards to the density, it lands in between a fluffy 2 layer birthday cake and a pound cake. The ground walnuts and grated zucchini in the batter bake up with a surprisingly smoother texture than you would think.  Besides the smooth texture, your taste buds will  experience a pop of cinnamon. Then the final flavor phase is the topping, which is the Viennese trademark, a silky coat of apricot glaze doused with bittersweet chocolate glaze.

The topping is a must. The apricot glaze has just the right amount of acidity to tone down the sweetness of this dessert.  In addition, the undercoat helps add that extra sheen to the ganache glaze on top.

Even though this is a zucchini cake, the topping puts it into a more upscale category than the standard.  I like that it can be made in a 9X9 pan, so it is a good one for small gatherings. Also, since the zucchini is not prominent in the taste, the unsuspecting veggie hater will also enjoy this dessert.  As a blogger, I rarely make anything twice.  However, after tasting this I have decided that it is worthy of a repeat-maybe sooner rather than later!

Zucchini Slices with Chocolate Glaze
adapted from Kaffeehaus by Rick Rodgers

1 tbs honey
1 tbs golden rum
2 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbs melted butter
bread crumbs (for dusting pan)
pinch of salt
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/3 cup flour
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
2 cups finely shredded zucchini (about 2 small zucchini)

1/2 cup and 2 tbs apricot preserves
1 tbs rum or water
1/3 cup plus 1 tbs heavy cream
3 oz chopped bittersweet chocolate

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.   Brush the interior of an 8X11 or 9x9 inch cake pan with the melted butter.  Then dust with the bread crumbs.  Set aside.

Take a food processor bowl and attach a standard metal blade.  Then fill with walnuts, flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Turn processor on and run for about 30 seconds or until the nuts are processed to a fine texture with the flour mixture.  Set aside.

In another bowl, whisk together eggs and sugar.  Then mix in the rum, honey and vanilla extract until blended.  Then stir in the vegetable oil.  Fold the walnut/flour mixture into the batter until no dry streaks remain.  Lastly, mix in the shredded zucchini.

Pour ingredients into prepared pan and smooth the top so it is even.  Place pan in oven and bake until tester comes out clean.  This should take about 25-30 minutes.  Remove pan and place on a rack to cool for 5 minutes.  After 5 minutes invert cake onto rack. Place rack over baking sheet lined with wax paper.  Let cake cool completely before topping.

To make the apricot glaze, place preserves and rum or water in a saucepan.  Put over medium heat and stir continuously.  Let come to a boil and cook for about 2-3 minutes.  The end result is a smooth glaze and there should be drops that cling to the spoon  Remove pan from heat.

Pour mixture into a sieve placed over a heat proof bowl.  Let drain and then push the remainder through the sieve with a spoon.  Then using a pastry brush, brush glaze all over the top and sides of the cake, making sure that edges are covered.  Then let cake sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes for glaze to set up.

For the ganache, place heavy cream in a saucepan and let come to a boil and remove.  Put all chocolate into saucepan with cream and do not stir for 1 minute.  Then whisk the chocolate into the cream until well blended.  Then pour over cake and smooth chocolate over top and sides with an offset spatula, letting excess drip off.  Place in refrigerator for 20 minutes to allow glaze to set.  Once set, you are ready to slice and serve!

Do not use jam or jelly for apricot glaze, the sugar ratio is different so preserves are a must.
You can substitute with different preserves, depending on your preference.
For a non alcoholic version for the cake use 1/2 tsp rum extract or water in place of the rum.
Should you want to put any decoration or nuts on top, do that prior to chilling the cake.
You can prepare the cake one day in advance.
Cake should be served chilled.
It is easier to chop the chocolate right before pouring into cream.
I peeled the zucchini before shredding to insure there was no green coming through in the batter.
                      **LAST YEAR:Orange Chicken**