Friday, July 29, 2016

Zucchini Bread Revisited

Two of the most prolific July produce grown here on the property are zucchini and blackberries. Being seasonal, they are also pretty inexpensive in the store around here. Having recently enjoyed the moist deliciousness of the chocolate zucchini bread, it was easy to return to that recipe and make it again. This time I stayed closer to the original recipe. I did add orange zest to the sugar and rubbed it in so that the sugar soaked up the orange oils and color. When I added that sugar to the eggs the fragrance of oranges was delightful!

I kept the strong flavor of cinnamon and then added the flavor, color and texture of freshly picked blackberries. They were folded in at the end, which was tricky since the batter is pretty thick and I didn't want to crush them too much. I think you will enjoy this version if you like blackberries. Their sweetness and tang and intense berry flavor is a nice counterpoint to the mellow zucchini and spicy cinnamon and fragrant orange.

The best size squash for zucchini bread is medium sized with very small seeds. Save the baseball bat huge ones for soup or spaghetti sauce! I used my food processor to shred my squash, but a good box grater works well, too. Use the large holes so that your shreds have some substance.

Zucchini Loaf From Seattle - With Blackberries
adapted from Maida Heatter's Cakes

3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
scant 1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3 teaspoons cinnamon
2 cups shredded zucchini, packed, about 1 pound zucchini
2 eggs
zest grated from 1/2 an orange
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 pint fresh blackberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter or grease a 10 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pan (10-cup capacity) or two loaf pans with combined 10-cup capacity. Dust the pan or pans with fine, dry bread crumbs and tap to shake out excess crumbs.

Sift together flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon. Set aside.
Clean the zucchini well and cut off the ends, then shred into large slivers. Don't drain. Pack into a 2-cup measure and set aside.

Beat together the eggs. In a small bowl rub together the orange zest and the sugar with your fingertips until blended and fragrant. Add to the eggs, then add the oil and beat to combine. Add the vanilla and beat to combine. Add the sifted dry ingredients and beat just to mix. Mixture will be thick. Add the zucchini, along with any moisture that has collected and mix thoroughly. The zucchini shreds thin the batter a little. Fold in the berries with a spatula, keeping them as whole as possible.

Scoop dough into the prepared pan(s), smooth the top(s), and bake. A large pan will take about 1 hour and 35-50 minutes. A cake tester gently inserted into the middle comes out clean and dry. Batter will rise up as it bakes and form a crack on top. That's O.K.
Smaller pans will take less time. Check after 40 minutes. A tiny one could be done in 30 minutes or less.

Cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Cover with a rack, turn over and remove the pan, turn over again. Cake will be right side up.

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