BABY CAKE #8: CHOCOLATE ZUCCHINI CAKE WITH CANDIED SQUASH BLOSSOMS AND CHOCOLATE BASIL GANACHE
Inspiration for this Chocolate Zucchini Cake with Candied Squash Blossoms, the latest in my project baby cake series, came from the one and only, Martha Stewart. I've been a fan of Martha since I was a little girl so it seems only natural, she'd play a role in this series for my baby girl.
I know this combination sounds a little sophisticated for a baby, but it doesn't have to be. Also your chocolate-zucchini cake with candied squash blossoms doesn't have to be just for babies. All of these cakes are simply meant to inspire. Like any creative endeavor, take from this recipe what will work for you and make it yours.
For the record, though, this cake alone might be my favorite new kid cake. It has zero zucchini flavor, it's not too sweet and it's got a wonderfully moist texture much like my carrot cake and velvet cake baked with beets. (Yes, I LOVE veggies in my cake).
For younger palates, the basil ganache can be dialed down by infusing less basil flavor and even switching the dark chocolate for a milder milk chocolate.
As for the candied squash blossoms. Don't be fooled by their gorgeous stained-glass looks. They're dead simple.
CHOCOLATE ZUCCHINI CAKE
recipe adapted from Martha Stewart
1/2 stick unsalted organic butter, melted, plus more for pans
3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons organic All Purpose flour
1/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa, plus more for dusting pans
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons organic sugar
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup grated zucchini (from about 1 medium-sized green or yellow zucchini)
1/4 cup buttermilk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Prep three 4" round cake pans by coating with a thin layer of butter and dusting with cocoa powder.
In a medium bowl, sift together dry ingredients.
In a separate bowl, combine eggs, melted butter, buttermilk and vanilla.
Combine egg mixture with dry ingredients and stir just until you have a smooth batter.
Finally, add zucchini and stir until its even spread throughout batter.
Divide batter into three prepared 4" cake pans and bake about 25 minutes.
CANDIED SQUASH BLOSSOMS
recipe adapted from Martha Stewart
5-6 freshly harvested squash blossoms
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup sugar
Preheat oven to 275 degrees.
Prep a baking sheet by lining with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
Using a paring knife, slice blossoms in half length-wise and remove stamens.
Gently place halved blossoms on baking sheet and spread petals out as much as you can without breaking them.
Brush each blossom with olive oil and sprinkle each with sugar.
Bake for 10 minutes, then using an offset spatula, flip and bake another 5 minutes.
Transfer blossoms to a wire rack and let cool completely before using.
Blossoms can be stored in a cool, dry place up to three days and recrisped in a 275 degree oven before using.
ASSEMBLE THE CAKE
First, prep one batch of Chocolate Basil Ganache.
Once cake layers are cooled, using a cake lever and slice tops off of each little cake for three even layers.
Make sure ganache is at a spreading consistency. If it's not, place in a bowl of warm water and stir until smooth.
Using a turn-table, place first zucchini cake layer on a 6" cardboard round and frost top with ganache. Top with second cake layer until all three are filled. Chill entire cake until ganache is firm, then using an offset spatula, frost entire cake with ganache. If ganache is pourable, you can also pour ganache over cake set on a wire rack.
Let cake chill until ganache is set on outside.
Style with crisp candied squash blossoms and fresh flowering basil.