I’ve heard it said that whispering will get a child’s attention in a way no shouting ever could.
I haven’t yet seen the evidence.
But if you prefer the idea of whispering, then this Chocolate Orange Zucchini Cake might be your kind of thing.
The orange flavor murmurs in the background and after instead of clamoring at you in the first bite.
The cream cheese frosting – with its orange-infused milk chocolate ganache – has the same effect. (I use milk chocolate rather than semi-sweet because it’s less over-powering. You can try semi-sweet if you prefer, and increase the whipping cream to 1/2 cup.)
I prefer using frozen zucchini (thawed and drained) in this cake rather than fresh because I think it creates a better texture. If you don’t have a ridiculously large stash of frozen zucchini on hand from last year’s exuberant squash plants, fresh zucchini will work just fine.
(Note: frozen and thawed zucchini will yield about 1/2 its original volume once it has been drained. So if you freeze 2 cups of fresh zucchini, you’ll end up with 1 cup after it has been frozen and thawed.)
Share this with the children and moms in your life, or with anyone who struggles with the loss or lack of both or either.
Mother, after all – as the proverb goes – is a verb and not a noun.
- 1 egg
- ¼ cup sour cream
- ¼ cup orange juice
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- 2 teaspoons grated orange rind
- 1 cup grated zucchini (fresh or frozen, thawed and drained)
- 1-1/4 cups flour
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- ⅓ cup cocoa powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup chopped milk chocolate or chocolate chips
- ⅓ cup whipping cream
- 1 tablespoon grated orange rind
- 6 oz. cream cheese (3/4 of a large brick), softened
- ½ cup icing sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Grease a 9 x 9-inch baking pan.
- In medium mixing bowl, beat egg, sour cream, orange juice, oil, vanilla, 2 teaspoons orange rind and grated zucchini. Mix until thoroughly blended.
- In separate bowl, stir together flour, granulated sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
- Add the zucchini mixture to the flour mixture, and stir gently until all the flour is moistened and no white streaks of flour are visible. The batter will be a bit thick (it is not a runny batter).
- Spread the batter in the prepared pan and bake for 35-40 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into center of cake comes out clean.
- Let cake cool completely before frosting. While the cake is cooling, prepare the frosting.
- Place chocolate in a small bowl.
- In separate bowl or measuring cup, combine whipping cream and the 1 tablespoon of grated rind.
- Let cream and rind sit for at least 5 minutes to allow orange rind to infuse the cream.
- Heat cream to boiling point in microwave or in small pot on stovetop. If using microwave, heat for approximately 45 seconds, watching carefully to ensure that the cream doesn't boil over. If heating on stovetop, heat just until bubbles appear around the edges of the pan.
- Pour cream through a small strainer over chocolate, and let cream and chocolate sit for 5 minutes to give chocolate time to melt.
- While chocolate is melting, beat the cream cheese with the icing sugar until the mixture is smooth.
- Stir the chocolate mixture until it becomes smooth and glossy. If it is lumpy or difficult to stir, heat for 30 seconds in the microwave (or sit the small bowl in a larger bowl of hot water, being careful not to get any water in the chocolate). Stir after removing from the heat. Let cool and beat into the cream cheese until smooth and thoroughly blended.
- Let frosting rest until the cake is cooled, then spread over cake.