It's been quite a while since my last update...but I hope you've all been enjoying your summer! (I can't believe it's already august) We've gotten quite a lot of vegetables since my last update, and so I thought I'd share with you some recipes from my little garden over a few posts. 
Our very first zucchini! It's a bit small, and it didn't quite ripen...but still! Ha!
The first recipe I tried was inspired by the sheer number of zucchini our little garden began to produce. The recipe calls for 3 cups of shredded zucchini, which ended up being about two medium sized or one large zucchini. Three cups, despite the recipe directions, made two cakes (one 9x13 and 1 bread-pan sized). I also found that the frosting made enough for the 9X13 (with a little left-over), depending on how heavy-handed you are.  The second time I made cake, I used glass pyrex dishes, which I like since they can be covered and used to store the cake. 
It doesn't really look great going in or coming out of the oven, but trust's delicious!
The original recipe comes from A Taste of Sturbridge, a lovely cookbook that is developed from Old Sturbridge Village, a living museum portraying life in New England in the 1830s. The museum is a really fun treat for families (if you happen to be visiting Massachusetts). I have also seen a lot of yummy zucchini recipes to try out on Pinterest lately, and you can find many other delicious recipes for fresh zucchini on AllRecipes as well. This recipe is not terribly healthy and can be modified for your tastes/ingredients, (for example, in one batch, I ran out of oil and substituted with particularly liquefied zucchini and a bit of melted butter) but it may not taste quite the same without all that addictive and delicious sugar.

After we picked that first one, the zucchini kept are the two zucchini i ended up using in my first batch of cake, with some first tomatoes and green beans.
  • Cake:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour

  • 3 cups white sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

  • 2 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (if desired)

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 4 eggs

  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil

  • 3 cups grated zucchini
All done! Now we just need frosting!
  • Frosting:

  • 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

  • 1/4 cup butter, melted

  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted

  • 1 teaspoons vanilla extract (if desired)
Whip together cream cheese and butter before sweetening to taste with confectioners sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (165 degrees C). Lightly grease cake pans.
Whisk eggs in a mixing bowl. Add sugar; mix well. Add oil and zucchini. Mix well (I use my stand mixer, on low for a good five or ten minutes for each mixing step in this first section). It can get a bit messy, especially if you overfill your mixing bowl like I always do,, so if you don't have a lid, consider draping a paper towel over the bowl (just be careful to keep it away from the mixing blade!). If you're using a stand mixer, take the blade out of the mix occasionally to scrape large chunks of zucchini off--otherwise you may end up with chunks. 

In a separate bowl (if you're a good little baker--I try to be good about this, since distributing the chemicals from the baking powder and salt through out helps the dough to rise better, but honestly you could just dump them all in) combine flour, salt, baking powder, and cinnamon (if desired). If you've been an especially good little baker, you will have sifted your flour prior to this step...this helps the cake to rise---however, as I do not have a sifter, I usually just add my dry ingredients to an over-large bowl and then gently tap the side of the bowl with one hand while turning it slowly with the other, to mix the ingredients and slightly sift the flour.  Add the dry ingredients, slowly, to the wet ingredients while mixing. Mix well. The batter will be very liquidy, and you may want to add more flour, but i recommend avoiding this temptation. 
Add in chocolate and nuts (if desired)--it should be noted that most times when I make this cake, the chocolate tends to fall to the bottom of the bowl, the best way to counteract this (that I've found) is to mix the chocolate in by hand as I pour the batter into my baking pans of choice. I then also add a few chocolate pieces on top, to allow them to fall as the cake cooks. (Sometimes, if the chocolate is sinking really badly, I take the cake out mid-baking and add more chocolate!). I really only add nuts if the bf makes me! (he can be so healthy sometimes!) Your baking time will depend on your pan size and material. Glass pans (pyrex, etc.) bake more quickly than do the traditional aluminum-based ones, and larger cake pans take longer than smaller cake pans. Interestingly, the little bread pan you see above baked longer than the large 9x13 pyrex dish (likely because it is metal, and deeper than the glass dish--which has a larger surface area and so can heat quicker). The cake in the glass dish baked for 30 minutes, while the cake in the bread pan took about 45 minutes. 
Once you've put the cake in the oven, you can make your frosting. I usually pull out the cream cheese, set it on the counter, and melt the butter in the preheating oven while I am preparing the cake (if I have the foresight). Combine the cream cheese and butter, whip well. add vanilla (you can also try this recipe with lemon, or almond...both are delicious) and mix in confectioner's sugar to taste. If you are the good baker, you will sift the sugar to get rid of the clumps before mixing. I, still, don't have a sifter, so I just mix for over-long and get rid of lumps that way. If you're a bit heavy handed, you can add more cream cheese (to cut the sugary sweet flavor) or milk (if the frosting is too thick). I recommend mixing for a long time before adding milk, since this is a temptation that more than often leads to either too much sugar (trying to balance out the milk) or a very runny frosting, and since mixing well generally gets the right consistency. And that's is! When your cake comes out of the oven, let it rest for a little while (until it is cool to the touch) before frosting, unless you want your frosting to turn to icing on your too-hot cake....(it happens to me quite often, unfortunately). You could definitely eat this cake without frosting if you were looking to cut some calories, however my coworkers seemed to prefer the frosted version (ha!) Enjoy! and happy harvesting!
Voila! Enjoy!

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