Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Zucchini Season #1: Zucchini Spice Bread

Until a few weeks ago, I had never heard of such a thing as zucchini bread. Maybe it's an American thing, but it sure was news to my Australian ears. I sampled a piece made by my friend, Caron, and was instantly keen to get on this zucchini-cake-baking train. After all, what did I have to lose with such enormous zucchinis crying out to be used up?

To a lot of people I'm sure it sounds like a recipe for those whose taste buds have gone on vacation, but give me a moment to persuade you. Think of this as more of a spice cake than a zucchini cake - think carrot cake, but better. The zucchini keeps the cake delightfully moist, and is the perfect backdrop to spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and clove. Yum.

Caron generously shared her mum's recipe with me, which I adapted a little. I exchanged some of the oil for apple sauce (such an easy way to cut the fat!), upped the spice and finished it off with a steusel topping. My version has more of a light cake consistency than the traditional zucchini bread, so it would lend itself well to being baked in a ring mold or regular cake tin. It's the perfect baked treat to take to work for morning tea. Tell me what you think!

Zucchini Spice Bread
Adapted from a recipe shared by Caron Peavy

3 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil (or 1/2 cup oil and 1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce)
1/2 cup apple sauce
2 cups white sugar
2 cups grated zucchini
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

For the streusel topping:
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup plain flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp butter
2 tsp cinnamon
  1. Preheat oven to 165°C (325°F). Grease and flour two 8x4 inch loaf pans.
  2. In a large bowl, beat eggs until light and frothy. Mix in oil and sugar (and apple sauce, if using). Stir in zucchini and vanilla. Combine flour, spices, baking powder, salt and nuts; stir into the egg mixture. Divide batter into prepared pans.
  3. To make the streusel topping, mix all the ingredients together really well with your (clean) fingers until it becomes crumbly and sprinkle over the batter.
  4. Bake for 60 to 70 minutes, or until done.
Makes 2 loaves.

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