The first time I had zucchini with chocolate was after a brief experiment with Weight Watchers. If you have not tried Weight Watchers before, there is a point-counting system. Everything you eat is assigned a point value, and you can only have a certain number of points each day.
The first day I diligently counted every point. I also bought a zucchini to make a Weight Watcher vegetable soup recipe, which had an allowable number of points and sounded like it might taste OK.
By the end of the first day, I learned the point-counting system is crazy! The number of points allotted each day wouldn’t sustain a baby bird, let alone an adult human.
By day two, I decided Weight Watchers was for the birds, and I quit. Instead of making soup, I used the zucchini to make chocolate zucchini bread. It may have been a million points, but I didn’t care. It was delicious.
The Rest of the Story
A few years later, I lost more than 30 pounds — without any crazy point-counting system. I simply made small, sustainable changes in my diet and exercise routine over a long period of time. I gradually ate a little less at each meal and exercised a little bit more each day. I still enjoyed my favorite foods (like chocolate) in moderation and worked in more healthy options (like vegetables) along the way. Four years later, I have kept the weight off.
The Moral of the Story
Life’s too short to count points. It’s the small changes that count most. Make gradual changes in your diet and exercise that you can sustain over a long period of time.
About the Recipe
I started with a zucchini bread recipe from my family cookbook. The original recipe is from someone named Darlene and includes nuts and coconut. I added chocolate chips and cocoa powder, and baked it in a bundt pan — turning it into a cake.
The Cast of Characters
Recipe: Chocolate Zucchini Cake
Summary: A sweet and wholesome cake, with chocolate and zucchini
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a bundt pan.
- In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and cocoa powder.
- In a stand mixer, beat eggs until fluffy.
- To the eggs, add sugar, oil and vanilla. Mix until well blended.
- Stir the zucchini into the egg mixture.
- Add the flour mixture, and stir until well blended.
- Stir in the nuts, coconut and chocolate chips.
- Pour the batter into the bundt pan.
- Bake for 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Cool the cake for 15 minutes in the pan. Invert the cake on a wire rack to remove from the pan and cool completely.
Baking time (duration): 60 minutes
Number of servings (yield): 8
Meal type: dessert
- Prepping the pan: Generously grease your baking pan with shortening and sprinkle with flour before adding your batter. I used almost a quarter of a cup of shortening when greasing my pan. This helps avoid a sticky situation later.
- Time for baking: Try reducing the baking time, and bake just until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Since the original recipe was for two loafs of zucchini bread, I wasn’t sure how long to bake it as a cake. I followed a tip from Marion Cunningham’s Fannie Farmer Baking Book, which said to bake a chocolate zucchini cake for about an hour. I might bake it a little less next time, as it was a bit drier than I would have liked.
- Time for cooling: Let the cake cool for 15 minutes in the pan before turning it out on a wire rack to cool completely. This is another tip from the Fannie Farmer Baking Book. It worked like a dream, and the cake came right out of the pan.
- Tips for serving: Serve with strawberries, whipped cream, ice cream or all three! I marinated the strawberries in honey a few hours before serving and the juices from the strawberries compensated for the dryness of the cake. I also added scoops of strawberry ice cream and whipped cream on the side.
Here are some other interesting recipes pairing chocolate with vegetables:
- Chocolate Carrot Cake Cupcakes by Baking Bites
- Chocolate Beetroot Cake by Food.com
- Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins by Joy of Baking
- Chocolate Potato Cake by Taste of Home
- Sweet Potato Brownies by Food.com
- Chocolate Tomato Cake by Serious Eats