As someone who doesn’t have a sweet tooth (yet, ironically, will never turn down dessert), I am constantly on the hunt for traditional dessert recipes that have a savory spin. Sweets like chili-infused dark chocolate or strawberries drizzled with a balsamic reduction are my idea of the perfect ending to a meal.
To achieve the “savory” factor, one trick I frequently use when baking is to make salt the star of the dish. Salt is really quite an amazing ingredient when it comes to making desserts; it works to bring out the sweetness of an ingredient (like chocolate), while simultaneously keeping a dish from being overly sweet.
One of my favorite “sweet breads” is zucchini bread. This time of year, my mom used to make several loafs at once, due to an abundance of zucchini in the garden. While I don’t have a garden, I do have a neighborhood farmer’s market — and with some fresh, local zucchini, I’ve taken my mom’s traditional zucchini bread recipe and added my own spin.
This salty chocolate zucchini cake is incredibly moist (thanks to the zucchini), sweet and, you guessed it, salty. The lack of an icing (common to most traditional cakes) keeps it from being too dessert-like, making it O.K. in my book to eat for breakfast, alongside a steaming latte.
Salty Chocolate Zucchini Cake
- 3 cups of all-purpose flour, sifted
- ½ cup of unsweetened cocoa, sifted
- 1 cup of sugar
- ½ cup of brown sugar
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tbsp coarse sea salt (plus a little more for sprinkling on top)
- 3 large eggs
- 2 cups of shredded zucchini (about 2 large zucchini)
- 1 tbsp of quality vanilla extract
- 2 sticks (1 cup) of butter, melted
- 12 oz package of semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and grease two round cake pans.
- In a food processor, shred fresh zucchini until you have enough for 2 cups (about two large zucchini).
- In a large bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and sea salt. Mix together with a spoon and set aside.
- In a separate large bowl, mix together the following ingredients with a large spoon: the melted butter, the sugar, the brown sugar, the eggs and the vanilla.
- Combine the bowl of wet ingredients with the dry ingredients and stir with a spoon. Spoon in the shredded zucchini and continue to mix the ingredients. Once the wet and dry ingredients are fully incorporated, add the bag of chocolate chips and continue to incorporate.
- Divide the batter and pour into two round cake pans.
- Sprinkle the tops of the cakes with a pinch of sea salt.
- Bake the pans in a 350 degree oven for 45-50 minutes or until an inserted knife comes out clean.
- Eat plain or serve warm with a scoop of ice cream!