Sunday, January 10, 2010

happy birthday little one! (chocolate zucchini cake)

zuke cake 4 real

At the end of last year we celebrated the Little One's very first birthday (a.k.a. the marker of the fastest year of my life). I try really hard not to feed her a lot of sugar or highly processed foods. I didn't want her to miss out on cake for her birthday so I made her a zucchini cake to ease my conscious.  All of my inlaws though I was a weirdo until they tasted it. That's because the only difference between a chocolate cake and a chocolate zucchini cake is that the zucchini one (other than adding a bit of vitamin a, vitamin c, calcium, magnesium, and potassium) is that it is incredibly moist. I may never make a regular chocolate cake again!

I came across this recipe watching Sandra Lee. (I've tweaked it a tiny bit.) I know that she can be quite despised in the food world but let's be real. I have a 1 year old, Christmas, and a million in laws going on. Besides this recipe tastes like it's from scratch. That's really what matters right? Right!  So here we go...

Chocolate (Zucchini) Cake

2 cups of finely grated zucchini
1 (1-pound and 2.25-ounce) package chocolate fudge cake mix (I used Duncan Hines Dark Chocolate Fudge)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (this is totally optional. I used it because my little one loves flavor.)
2 large eggs
3/4 cup plain nonfat yogurt
3/4 cup applesauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray two 9" pans with baking spray (or use parchment... do whatever you usually do)
You are going to want to drain all of the extra moisture out of your zucchini. So get a mesh strainer and smush your zucchini in there. If you don't you will end up with chocolate soup instead of cake.
In a mixing bowl combine everything but the zucchini. Beat for 2 minutes on a low speed. Fold in the drained grated zucchini and pour your batter into the prepared cake pans.
Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Be sure to cool your cakes completely preferably on a wire cooling rack.

Now Sandra Lee makes a sort of tofu mousse that she serves with this and that is all well and good but 1) I wanted a nicely iced cake for LO's bday (which actually only happened because my sister in law decorated it for me...thanks mandy!) and 2) I have a "secret family recipe" up my sleeve.


I will never forget my first Thanksgiving with my inlaws. My mother in law actually pulled out the wheat to grind to make the rolls. I believe that it was at that exact moment that I secretly vowed to
a) Never cook in front of my mother in law
b) to learn everything i could from the woman
This is her recipe and with it comes a promise that it will change the way you ice your cakes from now on.  It's called Light Frosting because it's more the like whipped cream than that stuff you buy in a tub. Make it properly (a task in itself) and it will come of smooth and fluffy with no crunchy sugar. People who do not like icing will like it and  you will get compliments like " I love how your icing isn't just full of sugar".  But beware you must follow this recipe to the T.
Light Frosting

1 stick unsalted butter (do not attempt margarine. just trust me on this one.)
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
3 Tbsp flour
2/3 cup milk (must be at room temperature!)
1 tsp vanilla
Pull out your stand mixer....because honey you're going to need it. Cream together the butter, shortening, and sugar. Continue beating and add flour one tbsp at a time. Extremely slowly dribble the milk into the mixture. If you do this correctly then it will take a while. Add the vanilla. And continue mixing for 5 minutes until there is no crunchy sugar left.

I doubled the icing recipe so that i could fill it really nicely but you don't have to. One batch will be fine for cupcakes or it you don't want to use a lot. Then use it to frost your cooled zucchini cake.

Emmer's Birthday 148

be sure to check out a soft place to land for some great diy projects!


  1. Happy birthday to your one year old! I still have yet to make a zucchini and chocolate cake. I have heard many good things about them, hopefully this year...

  2. Beautiful photos, beautiful cake, beautiful attitude about your MIL!

    Just wanted you to know that Loving your Kids on Purpose was the inspiration for the post where you mentioned the book! I was thrilled someone {YOU} mentioned it!!!

  3. This sounds great!! I want to try this recipe. ANd you did a great job decorating!

  4. I love chocolate zucchini cake, and yours LOOKS beautiful! Yep, once you have children, you can see time speed by right before your eyes!

  5. You know what ! All of your pictures are really nice, and I like the fact that in your last posts you put pictures of you baby ! She is so sweet ! Hope she enjoyed eating this wonderful birthday cake made by her mother :)