Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Zucchini Olive Oil Cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

I love to bake and one of my favorite parts of baking is sharing it with my family and friends.  Not only is it nice to get that burst of self-satisfaction "yay, me!  I'm a good baker!" but Andy and I don't get stuck with the temptation of having to eat it all ourselves.  Not sharing your baked goods is a sure-fire way to your pants fitting tighter.

Although I don't love, love cake, I love baking with zucchini and lemons (obvi).  I came across this recipe on one of my favorite food blogs, White on Rice Couple, and decided to make it for the ladies dinner that I hosted last weekend.  It's funny how my invitations get out of hand.  I always invite everyone because I love everyone so much and then I accidentally end up hosting 10+ people.  Whoops :)

This cake is great for ladies dinner because this cake sounds a little more adventurous than a chocolate cake so everyone will want to try some, and it isn't too sweet so everyone can manage to eat their fair share.  Nothing worse than leftover cake.  We are not going to eat it, it's not going to happen.  We'll definitely end up throwing some away and throwing away food makes me way too sad.  (Anyone else have this problem?  I get really upset and ask Andy to do the dirty work, ha!)

So this cake was a success!  I was asked for the recipe a few times and the ladies obliged me and took slices home to their husbands to enjoy, hooray!  I think we ended up with only two slices leftover and my husband was happy about that...

With the abundance of zucchinis at the farmers market right now, I hope you'll scoop up some tender zukes and try your hand at this lovely, unique and not too sweet cake!

^^ My favorite recipes start out like this.  Lemon rind is my jam!

^^ Instead of regular olive oil, I used Fustini's Meyer Lemon olive oil because why not?  It fit.

^^ An array of happy spices!

^^ This recipes calls for two 9" round cake pans.  My obsession with my mini spring form cakes won't let me make just two 9" round cakes.  Minis!  Aren't they cute?

While the cake cools, I prepare the frosting...

Creamy and lemony!

I'll admit this is not the prettiest cake.  In fact, this batch, I didn't grease the pans well enough and things were a bit sticky.  Luckily frosting covers the imperfections up and so does putting the best side forward for pictures.  You do NOT want to see the other side of this cake!  Of course my first cake, the one I served to my guests, was beautiful and perfect, but it was dark outside and I refuse to use anything but naturally lighting because I don't know how to make artificial light look appealing.  So here we are...still delicious!!!

Zucchini Olive Oil Cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

Zucchini cake ingredients:

2 c grated zucchini, squeezed of excess water
3 c all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground clove
3/4 tsp kosher salt
4 large eggs
1 c packed brown sugar
1 c white sugar
1 c olive oil (I used Meyer Lemon infused)
finely grated zest from 2 medium lemons
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice (from freshly grated lemons)
2 tsp vanilla extract

Lemon frosting ingredients:

12 oz full fat cream cheese, at room temperature
1 stick of unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 c confectioners sugar (original recipe calls for 2 1/2 c sugar, but I think it is too much)
finely grated zest from 1 medium lemon
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

* A few notes on the ingredients for your frosting.  Since this isn't cooked, I went for the good stuff the time I served this to guests.  I made this recipe the second time to photograph and skimped on the good ingredients because I wasn't serving this cake to anyone and it made a world of difference.  Specifically the cream cheese and the butter.  I used Philadelphia brand with 1/3 fat cream cheese the second time and it was terrible, in fact I hate it - use the full fat good cream cheese, not the Kraft brand if you can.  You might be able to get away with using the regular cream cheese if you're not a food snob like me, your call.  You've been warned.  I also splurged on the butter since the butter is a key component of the frosting, I used salted Kerrygold Irish butter.  It is softer and just better than regular butter.  Again I skimped the second time and it wasn't as good.


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Whisk together your flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove and salt.  Set aside.  Beat the eggs and add to your brown sugar, white sugar, olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla extract.  Fold in the flour mixture until no dry flour remains, then stir in your grated and drained zucchini.

Prepare two 9" cake pans, lining them with parchment paper, then grease (I use butter or canola oil) and flour.  I also sometimes use Pam original spray.

Divide the batter between the two prepared cake pans and bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center.  Allow to fully cool to room temperature.  This is a very important step, I usually wait to frost until the next day.

To make the frosting, beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth then add the confectioner's sugar.  Add the lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla extract, then beat on high for about 3 minutes or until light and fluffy.

Remove the cooled cakes from their pans, frost one layer, just on top, with half of the frosting.  Lay the other cake on top and frost with remaining frosting.

This cake is coffee's perfect match.  If you do find yourself with an extra slice after your guests have gone, you have something really spectacular waiting for your taste buds in the morning!


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