Scrumptious Vegan Dark Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Dark Chocolate Vegan Cake www.enchantedseashells.comWe have a  bounty of zucchini here at the Casa de Enchanted Seashell garden, and the dilemma becomes what the heck does one do with all of this summer squash?

I made a few loaves of zucchini bread because they freeze well and tugboat man can enjoy them when he returns.

Did I forget to mention that he’s gone again?

Yup, he left a couple days ago, but I’m happy that he got some good surf so he wasn’t all moody and depressed, and we were able to go camping and commune with nature.

But what about all the zucchini?

I’ll pickle a few jars like I’ve done with cucumbers and then I got the brilliant idea to add shredded zucchini to my favorite chocolate cake to boost the nutritional value and keep it super moist, not that it lasts more than a day or two, ‘cos it’s the best chocolate cake EVER, vegan or not.

Best of all, the zucchini magically disappears during baking, so if you have children who are recalcitrant and don’t like veggies (how is that even possible?) this is a great way to TRICK them, although I don’t really approve of deceit as a parenting technique.

Son and DIL are coming down for a brief visit so that’s the perfect excuse reason to experiment PLUS they’re bringing a friend that Angel Boy was in graduate school with at Yale (bad sentence structure, I know), so it’s just like the “old days” when the house was filled with kids for me to stuff with food.

I old-school shredded the zucchini…

zucchinicake

All dry ingredients go into the mixing bowl.

zucchinicake1 Add the liquids…

zucchinicake2 And the zucchini. So simple, now beat for a couple of minutes to incorporate all the goodness.

zucchinicake3 When it’s out of the oven and still hot, place about 1/2 cup of vegan chocolate chips on top. When they melt…zucchinicake4 Take an offset spatula and spread to make a delicious and easy topping.zucchinicake6

See how shiny?zucchinicake7

It’s always nice to garnish with garden blooms. I plucked a nasturtium, mint, and lemon verbena.

It’s as yummy as it is GORGEOUS!

zucchinicake8

Dark Chocolate and Zucchini Vegan Cake

  • 1/2 tsp.  salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup cocoa (unsweetened)
  • 1 cup shredded zucchini (squeeze out any excess liquid)
  • 1 1/2 cups flour (all-purpose, I use King Arthur, not because they pay me, but because it’s U.S. grown and an employee-owned company)
  • 1 tsp. white vinegar
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract (or Amaretto or Grand Marnier)
  • 5 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 cup cold coffee or water (coffee is better with chocolate) or you could always use soy/almond/cashew/coconut milk.

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

1. Mix the first five dry ingredients in a bowl.
2. Make three shallow depressions in the dry ingredients.
3. Pour vinegar in one, vanilla/amaretto in the other, vegetable oil and zucchini in the third.
4. Pour coffee/water over all.
5. Mix well until smooth.

Grease a nine-inch pan. Bake on middle rack of oven for approximately twenty-five to thirty-five minutes.  Check with toothpick to make sure it comes out clean. Don’t over bake or it’ll dry out. Cool and frost.

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YUMMY Old Fashioned ORANGE Meringue Pie

Sometimes it satisfies a certain nostalgia to crack open my mom’s old Betty Crocker Cookbook and recreate her tried and true favorite recipes.

They may not be TOTALLY the most UBER healthy…but once in while it’s OK to indulge.

This time I had a hankering for an Orange Meringue Pie…a bit of a change from the standard lemon meringue — not that lemons aren’t delicious — but I had a few organic oranges around and wanted to work with that specific and intensely ORANGE flavor.

I served it after a dinner of Chile Rellenos with Guacamole (post soon.)
The citrus was the PERFECT finishing touch to a spicy meal.

First of all, I’m going to be a bossy pants and insist that you spend just a few minutes to create your own baked pie crust. It’s not THAT difficult and is SO much better than store bought. (Recipe below)

orangepie4

Old school juicer. VERY low tech.orangepie1 Work it, work it! Don’t leave it for a minute, keep stirring, continue whisking…orangepie2 …until the mixture thickens and become silky, smooth, and emanates an amazing orange perfume.orangepie3

As soon as the filling is done, quickly turn to your mixer and whip the whites into light peaks of pillowy soft clouds.orangepie5Very stiff peaks is what you’re looking to achieve.
orangepie6

The last few steps are the MOST important. Fill the baked pie shell with the orange filling.
orangepie7 Spread the uncooked meringue over the filling, spreading to completely cover the pie. orangepie8Slide gently into the oven for about five to seven minutes. DON’T leave the kitchen ‘cos a minute too long and your meringue goes from luscious lightly browned goodness to crispy burned in a HEARTBEAT.

LOVELY. Very marshmallow-y.
orangepie9 BEYOND GOOD.

HONEST. 🙂orangepie10

 

Orange Meringue Pie (thank you, Betty Crocker!)

  • 1 (9 inch) pie crusts, baked
  • cup sugar
  • tablespoons cornstarch
  • egg yolks, slightly beaten
  • cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • tablespoons butter
  • tablespoon lemon juice
  • tablespoon orange zest
  • 1 -3 egg white, meringue

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°.
  2. In saucepan combine sugar and cornstarch.
  3. Combine egg yolks, orange juice and water; stir gradually into sugar/cornstarch mixture in the pan.
  4. Cook stirring constantly over medium heat until mixture thickens and boils.
  5. Boil 1 minute, stirring constantly; stir in butter, lemon juice and the peel.
  6. Immediately pour into pre-baked pie shell.
  7. Cover completely with meringue-carefully sealing to the edges.
  8. Bake about 10 minutes or until meringue browns lightly.
  9. Cool on wire rack out of drafts.

BAKED PIE CRUST
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup shortening
2-3 tablespoons cold water

Directions

Heat oven to 475ºF. Mix flour and salt in medium bowl. Cut in shortening, using pastry blender (or pulling 2 table knives through ingredients in opposite directions), until particles are size of small peas. Sprinkle with cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time, tossing with fork until all flour is moistened and pastry almost leaves side of bowl (1 to 2 teaspoons more water can be added if necessary).

Gather pastry into a ball. Shape into flattened round on lightly floured surface. Wrap flattened round of pastry in plastic wrap and refrigerate about 45 minutes or until dough is firm and cold, yet pliable. This allows the shortening to become slightly firm, which helps make the baked pastry more flaky. If refrigerated longer, let pastry soften slightly before rolling.

Roll pastry, using floured rolling pin, into circle 2 inches larger than upside-down 9-inch glass pie plate. Fold pastry into fourths; place in pie plate. Unfold and ease into plate, pressing firmly against bottom and side.

Trim overhanging edge of pastry 1 inch from rim of pie plate. Fold and roll pastry under, even with plate; flute as desired. Prick bottom and side of pastry thoroughly with fork. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until light brown; cool on wire rack.