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                 Make it Low Carb! by Joan Hedman

   

I found myself recently with too much zucchini on my hands. Zucchini is one of those unassuming vegetables. There's not much to it by itself, but it makes a great ingredient in many different kinds of dishes. It readily absorbs flavors around it, and it has an appealing texture. Zucchini is great for low carbers, too, because an entire cup has only 4 grams of carbohydrates, one of which is fiber, for a net 3 grams. You get bonus nutrients in the form of vitamin A, potassium, and phosphorous, too.

For all these good reasons, you'll often find zucchini in my refrigerator. As happened this past week, it turned out to be too much. I know that this situation is common to people who actually grow zucchini, but I don't have that excuse. No, I bought some and thought I would use it up a little bit here, a little bit there as usual, but I didn't. Sometimes plans just go awry, and you're left with valuable produce on the brink of decay. Clearly, it was time to bake, but what?

Diana Lee has a terrific recipe for Chocolate Zucchini Loaf in her Baking Low Carb II: Bread and Breakfast book. It has peanut butter in it, which improves the texture as well as the flavor. I asked my husband if he'd like that, but he declared he'd like a spice bread better.

Zucchini bread, zucchini bread... a visit to the kitchen library was in order.
     

Dana Carpender's 500 Low Carb Recipes has a nice zucchini gingerbread that I've made several times before, but I wasn't in the mood for gingerbread. Instead, I picked up The Fannie Farmer Baking Book, which has been my baking bible for the past 20 years, and flipped to the index.

There were two entries for zucchini: the bread recipe I was looking for, which is nicely spicy with cinnamon and nutmeg, but something else that looked interesting: chocolate zucchini cake. There were a lot of ingredients, but it didn't look complicated, and it sounded delicious. Certainly worth a try!

So here we are. The original recipe called for nearly 3 cups of flour and 2 cups of sugar, along with a cup of chopped walnuts and a tablespoon of grated orange peel, but I've done away with all of them. Neither the walnuts nor the orange peel would up the carb count considerably, but they're really not necessary. This cake is quite nice enough without gilding the lily. We like it so much that I've renamed it Astonishing Chocolate Cake. It has a soft, moist crumb and is less dense than zucchini bread would be. This cake may well be the least painful way to get your kids to eat some vegetables.

I've used a combination of erithrytol and sugar free syrup to keep the carb count very low. If these are not available, you can substitute granular Splenda for some or all of the sweetener, cup-for-cup, but remember that granular Splenda has 24 grams of carbs per cup.

                   

Astonishing Chocolate Cake

Makes two 9-inch round cakes, or one 10-inch tube or bundt cake.
Serves 12
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1 cup erythritol (I used 3/4 cup Stevia Ultimate1)
  • 1 cup sugar free vanilla syrup (DaVinci, Torani, Monen, etc.)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp sugar free vanilla extract
  • 2 cups grated raw zucchini
  • 1 T grated orange zest (optional)
    Astonishing Chocolate Cake
  • 1 1/2 cups almond flour
  • 1/2 cup vital wheat gluten flour
  • 1/2 cup vanilla whey protein powder
  • 1/4 cup oat flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray two 9-inch cake pans or a 10-inch tube or bundt pan with cooking spray.

Use an electric mixer to cream the butter, and add the erythritol and sugar free vanilla syrup, mixing on slow speed. Beat in the eggs, and add the vanilla extract and zucchini, and the orange zest if you are using it. At this point the batter will look "broken" or curdled, but it will smooth out later.

Combine the dry ingredients in a separate bowl and sift them into the zucchini mixture along with the heavy cream. Stir in the walnuts if you are using them.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan(s). Bake layer cakes for 30 to 35 minutes, and a tube or bundt cake for 50 to 55 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let the cakes cool in the pans before turning out onto a rack to cool completely.

Frost with your favorite low carb frosting. The original recipe recommends a coffee-flavored frosting, but I went with a basic vanilla and that worked well.

Notes:

  1. Erythritol is only about 70% as sweet as sugar. Stevia Ultimate is a blend of Stevia and erithrytol that has the same sweetness as sugar; you can purchase it online at Stay Fit Products.

  2. Sometimes sifting almond flour is difficult, but do try. When you get down to the bits that won't go through your sieve, simply dump them into the bowl. But don't skip the sifting altogether, or the texture will be affected.
Approximate nutrition information per serving (without walnuts and orange zest):
275 calories; 23 g fat, 8 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 12 g protein.

This cake is a terrific example of a traditional recipe that successfully made the conversion to low carb. If you have a recipe you'd like to rehabilitate, or any other questions you'd like me to tackle, send me an email and I'll do my best!

                                                

Copyright © October 2004  Joan Hedman and Low Carb Luxury





       

 
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