I know what you’re thinking… Cucumber? In a cake? Has Eva gone mad? No, I have not gone mad. Just got a bit creative since I had 3 cucumbers left over from our CSA delivery and I had no idea what to do with them. I am the only person in my family that likes cucumbers, and there are only so many times I can eat a cucumber stir fry by myself. So I put my thinking cap on and baked a chocolate cucumber cake.
Yes, I am well aware that cucumber isn’t a perfect substitution for zucchini. Cucumbers are more water and contain seeds, and the outer skins aren’t the same. But, I did what I could with the ingredients I had and made it work. First and foremost, I grated my cucumber really well and discarded any parts of the skin that didn’t want to grate. I also squeezed as much water out of the cucumber that I could and drained the liquid out. Once the cucumber was as dry as possible, I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best.
I liked this cake, but my husband wasn’t a huge fan (he is a strange bird sometimes). I thought that it tasted like a traditional chocolate zucchini cake, but I did notice a bit of cucumber taste to it. Because my husband isn’t a huge cucumber fan, that may have swayed his opinion. Regardless, I enjoyed the cake and didn’t think it was too cucumber-y. In fact, the chocolate and cocoa masked most of the cucumber flavor, so it was similar to just a regular chocolate cake to me.
Chocolate zucchini (or cucumber) cake
- 2 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 4 Tablespoons cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 1 and 3/4 cups granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup applesauce
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup buttermilk I used 1/2 cup milk plus 1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar as a substitute
- 2 cups freshly grated and DRAINED zucchini or cucumber about 2-3 medium
- 12 ounce package of semi-sweet chocolate chips divided
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
- Generously grease or line a standard 9"x13" baking pan and set aside.
- In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl if using a handheld mixer, cream the butter and sugar with the paddle attachment on medium speed until light and fluffy.
- Add the applesauce, eggs, vanilla and buttermilk and mix until all the ingredients are well incorporated. The batter may look curdled.
- Turn the mixer to low and gradually add in the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined.
- Turn off the mixer and fold in the grated and drained zucchini or cucumber by hand. Add in about half a bag of the chocolate chips.
- Transfer the batter to your prepared baking pan and smooth out the top with a spatula. Sprinkle the top with the remaining chocolate chips.
- Bake in your preheated oven for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (you may have a streak or two of melted chocolate chips). Allow the cake to cool completely before serving.