This is pretty much as guilt free as chocolate cake go: no butter and pretty low sugar. What I like with this butter-free chocolate cake is that it is also much easier to digest than a traditional chocolate cake. Why? How? Simply by replacing the butter by very (like very) thinly grated zucchini (a.k.a. courgette). And if you are on a gluten-free diet, you could also replace the little flour in there by GF flour.
Before you start:
- You need a good quality cooking chocolate (in Australia, the 70% cocoa Nestle Plaistowe is suitable)
- The zucchini: 200 g of zucchini and no more (a bit less is fine). I have now done the cake a few times, trialing a few variations. The last one used 180 g of zucchini and was fine! However, if you add more (which I also did), the cake looses some of its moisture frm a denser texture. Two hundred grammes zucchini is one average size piece of vegetable. You need to peel it and remove the ends. Then weight it. Grate it over a bowl and make sure to keep all the juice. I was asked the question: can you use the blender. I tried, it works, just a bit much more washing-up than the grater for little saving, your choice.
- The flour: the flour weight is only 50 g. If you go for a gluten-free option, you can either use cornflour but then you need to reduce it to 35 g as corn flour absorbs more moisture than wheat flour, or use one of the GL flour mix.
- 4 eggs
- 200 g dark cooking chocolate
- 80 g caster sugar
- 200 g thinly grated zucchini (see note above)
- 50 g plain flour (see note above)
- 100 mL milk (of your choice)
- 1 tbsp of dutch cocoa (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 180°C.
- Butter and flour well a 20 cm round cake tin.
- Break the chocolate in pieces and melt with half of the milk. You can either use the microwave on one minutes settings full power, repeat if not fully melted either with 30 second or another minutes (it depends on the power of your microwave). Once the chocolate is melted, stir until smooth and silky, add the remaining milk.
- In a clean bowl, separate the egg yolks from the whites. Beat the yolks with the sugar until light and fluffy. Add the zucchini (juice included). Add the chocolate to the mix.
- Finally, mix in the flour and cocoa together.
- Beat the egg white to snow and carefully fold into the chocolate mix.
- Pour into the prepared tin. Place in the oven, reduce the heat to 160°C after 10 minutes. The cake should cook in 20-30 mn depending on ovens. Remove when the centre is no longer wobbly when gently pressed with a couple fingers. Allow to cool down in the tin for five minutes before transferring to the serving dish: turn over a metal rack and then over the serving dish.
Tip: if you have a child helping you tell them to mix in the flour and cocoa starting from the centre, always touching the bottom of the bowl , let them enlarge the circle as the centre gets darker. This technique will avoid lumps.
Tip: wondering what happens if you don’t reduce the oven? The cake will cook quicker and can loose a little moisture but not that much, it will still be quite moist.
And if you are wondering about the taste brought by the zucchini, I will tell that if people don’t know about it, they are unlikely to guess. Once you know, you will possibly note a taste a little more “earthy”, but, to be honest, nothing preventing the cake disappearing in minutes and for zucchini-advert kids to take a second or third helping!