Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Everywhere I went yesterday, the topic of discussion was the winter storm heading our way.  After listening to co-workers, meteorologists, and even the cashier at Target comment with either concern or delight, I'll admit I went to bed last night with just the tiniest bit of hope that the morning might bring conditions wintery enough to justify a snow day.  It kind of brings me right back to that infamous Halloween night, where my best friend and I desperately tried to convince our parents to allow us to have a sleepover after a night of trick or treating in the blizzard because we were convinced there was no way there was going to be school the next day.  And that Sunday night my junior year of high school when I stayed up all night feverishly trying to finish reading The Scarlet Letter, desperately hoping that the snow would continue falling at a rate that would cancel school the next morning and postpone that essay exam in my American Lit class.  

I was lucky on both of those occasions, but no such luck for those of us in the Twin Cities this morning.  As much as I would have liked to have spent a day at home on account of the weather, I did the responsible grown up thing and started getting ready for work.  I don't think the adrenaline rush of a snow day (or the slight disappointment in the lack thereof) is something that is unique to childhood or adolescence.  I think there are a lot of grown ups that are starting their day today with that same wishful thought in the back of their minds, no matter what the weather forecasters are saying. 

But if you are lucky enough to be enjoying the weather from the comfort of your home today, or even if you're just looking forward to a cozy night in tonight, here's the perfect recipe to warm up your house while Mother Nature does her thing.  It's rich and chocolatey and perfect for any kind of weather.  Your responsible grown up side will appreciate that it's just sweet enough, and with a couple of cups of veggies baked into it, you'll feel affirmed in your mature and responsible choice.  And the side that is seriously considering taking that snow day anyway? You'll be sure to appreciate the pure indulgence of savoring a slice of this cake for breakfast in the morning. 

Chocolate Zucchini Cake
2 cups (10 oz) unbleached all-purpose flour
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup brown sugar, packed
¾ cup sugar
½ cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup plain yogurt
2 cups zucchini, shredded (fresh or frozen)
4 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled to room temperature
Confectioners’ sugar for the top of the cake

Preheat the oven to 350° F and set aside a greased and floured bundt pan.  

In a small bowl, combine the flour, soda, salt and cocoa powder and set aside. 

Cream the butter, brown sugar and sugar until it is light and fluffy. Add the oil slowly, followed by the eggs, one at time (mix well between additions).  Beat in the vanilla extract. 

Alternate adding the dry ingredients and the yogurt* until both are fully incorporated into the batter.  Stir in the zucchini,** and then the melted chocolate. Pour batter into the bundt pan and bake for about 1 hour until a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool in the pan and dust with powdered sugar before serving. 

*I used Greek yogurt, because that's what I had on hand, but I added just a little splash of skim milk to the yogurt before adding to the batter to better match the consistency of regular yogurt. 
**I used a pre-measured packet of frozen garden zucchini.  If using frozen zucchini, be sure to add all of the liquid as well as the zucchini - again, making sure you don't skimp on any of the wet ingredients is key.  

Adapted from Zoe Bakes

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