• 12 tablespoons (1½ sticks, or ¾ cup) butter
  • 2 cups sugar [poster's note: I usually reduce this to about 1½ cups]
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange zest
  • 2 cups grated raw zucchini
  • 2¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 2½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • Coffee Frosting
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Grease and flour two 9 inch round pans or a 10 inch tube (or bundt) pan.
  3. Cream the butter and slowly add the sugar, beating until smooth.
  4. Beat in the eggs and mix thoroughly.
  5. Add vanilla, orange zest and zucchini and blend well.
  6. The batter make look curdled at this point, but it will become smooth later.
  7. Sift together the remaining dry ingredients and add to the zucchini mixture along with the milk.
  8. Beat thoroughly, then stir in the walnuts.
  9. Pour into pan(s) and bake layer cakes for 35-40 minutes, the tube cake for an hour, or until a knife inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  10. Remove from oven, let cool, and either sprinkle with confectioners sugar (that is all we do, since it is very moist as it is - poster's note) or frost with Coffee Frosting (I haven't tried this, but the recipe is as follows, from the same cookbook - poster's note).
This is obviusly quite an old and fairly well-known recipe because I came across it several times on the net, variously credited to my mom's old folder, "a friend", Sunset Magazine and what is the most probable origin, one or another edition of Fanny Farmer's Cookbook (Kirk Marple's posting at http://www.science.uva.nl/~mes/recipe/gale/cake/choc-cake/). I baked it as it was written down, decreasing the sugar to 1½ cups (as in the poster's note) because I often find that American recipes are too sweet even for my sweet tooth. I have grown to like iced tea but I decrease the amount of sugar in the good recipe I got from the net by three quarters. When I add lemon juice and ice, it has just the right sweet-sour tang. Both orange and cinnamon go very well with chocolate, but I have never used them together. This makes a really good chocolate cake “ moist but not fudgy, with a deep chocolate flavour and colour. I baked it in a large square pan (23 cm? I cant find a ruler anywhere) which makes it easy to cut, and it really does not need anything more than a sprinkling of icing sugar. The coffee frosting sounds like gilding the lily to me. I will bake it again substituting ¼ teaspoon of ground cloves for the orange peel. The orange peel tastes fine and a blob of Chantilly cream flavoured with Triple Sec would be great with this one, but I think the cloves might just increase the depth of flavour.