From This Valley

Sunday, September 22, 2013

"Oh the desert dreams of a river
That will run down to the sea
Like my heart longs for an ocean
To wash down over me.

"Oh the outcast dreams of acceptance
Just to find pure love's embrace
Like an orphan longs for its mother
May you hold me in your grace."

- from "From this Valley", by the Civil Wars

The Civil Wars are playing the soundtrack to my life these days.  I'm a pretty happy person, but I do like my music full of longing, and the Civil Wars have that in spades.  I chose one of the more upbeat songs on the album to excerpt here; I thought you might be alarmed for me if I quoted "Dust to Dust" or "Eavesdrop".

Fall is the perfect season for melancholy, as the days grow shorter and the weather cooler.  Out of the corner of my eye, I can almost see winter wafting into the on-deck circle.  And maybe this impacts my baking as well as my choice of music.

Zucchini is technically a summer vegetable, but this recipe is a perfect way to pull it into autumn. Although I don't make cake very often, this one has catapulted its way into my top two or three. The spicy flavours of cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg warm up the zucchini, and the cinnamon cream cheese frosting is so great, I want to spread it on everything I make.  Curl up with the The Civil Wars and a slice of this cake, and you might feel like a little bit of wistful isn't a bad thing.


Zucchini Cake with Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting
(cake recipe from Eats Well With Others; frosting recipe from Tracey's Culinary Adventures)

For the cake:

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp coarse kosher salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
3/4 cup olive oil
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups coarsely grated zucchini (8 oz)
3/4 cup raisins or walnuts

For the frosting:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
6 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
2 cups confectioners’ (icing) sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions:

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a 9” round cake pan (or an 8” x 8” square baking pan) with parchment paper.  Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg.  In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, brown sugar and vanilla.  Mix in the eggs until well-mixed.  Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, until just incorporated.

Mix the zucchini and raisins into the cake batter until just incorporated.  Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 40 – 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.  Let cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting, beat butter and cream cheese together until creamy and well-mixed.  Add icing sugar, a bit at a time, and beat on low speed until combined.  Add cinnamon and vanilla extract, and beat on medium speed for an additional minute.  Spread over cake.



39 comments:

Kitchen Riffs said...

Nice lyrics - the Civil Wars are a good group. Hope they keep working together. And this cake is good, too. Love the spices in it! Super stuff - thanks so much.

Julie said...

Love the idea of spiced cream cheese frosting. It just says fall.

Bonnie said...

Beth, I just spent a little time "pinning" a multitude of autumn sweets. In fact I had to create a new board. The zucchini cake very autumn and delicious. This is my favorite season to bake. Thanks for sharing.

Valerie said...

Beth, I love The Civil Wars! Yes, yes, on all accounts - fall is perfect brooding weather (I'm convinced that's a healthy thing).
This cake looks scrumptious!! Hooray for vegetables going over to the dark, sugary side. :D

Jemi Fraser said...

I think I'm drooling!! All those yummy fall spices :)

Natalie Aguirre said...

This does seem like a fall cake. Love the frosting for it.

Cathleen said...

I am loving all the fall recipes that I'm seeing! This looks SO good! I have never made anything with zucchini, but I definitely want to try making a cake with it now!

vanillasugarblog said...

You know I was truly hoping that one of my clients would spoil me rotten with their garden zucchini.
But nothing.
I did not get to make one zucchini cake :-(

Julia said...

What a great recipe to kick start the Fall season this year! Love everything about this recipe: from spiced up cake to the spiced cream cheese frosting!

Rebecca Subbiah said...

what a wonderful cake :-)

Barbara said...

Yummy frosting, Beth. Wish we'd get some fall weather down here!

Joanne said...

I love the spiced cream cheese frosting you used for this!! And I'm so glad you liked the cake! It's the perfect summer->fall transition food!

Kayte said...

I'm not much of a sweets person...I know, all the baking I have done on that blog this will surprise you. I started baking on the blog because I never really cared for sweets, never learned how to properly make them, and figured it was time while my boys were still home to eat the efforts. I usually have one bite of something and that's pretty much it for baked goods for me. That said, if one has lemon in it or cream cheese on it, two bites for sure. This cake of yours looks delicious, I fear it would need to be a two biter. And I might just need to make it to see for myself.

Beth said...

Thanks for the inspiration, Joanne! As always, your recipes are awesome.

And Kayte, you really surprised me by saying that. Wish you lived next door - I'd bake up another batch and bring some over!

Belinda said...

It's like a perfect complement of summer and fall! Fummer!

Angie Schneider said...

I love that spiced cream cheese frosting! The cake looks wonderful, Beth.

grace said...

love, love, love that cinnamon cream cheese frosting! it's the perfect topper for a zucchini cake...or any cake. :)

allieksmith said...

Mmm, I love the spice in the cream cheese frosting--perfect!

yummychunklet said...

Sounds delicious!

Monet said...

Smile. What a lovely transitional recipe. Perfect for these cooler days. I love the Civil Wars...such haunting songs and lyrics. Thank you for sharing Beth!

Denise Browning said...

I love this cake, Beth! So yum!!!

Gourmet Getaways said...

Oh this cake looks so delicious, and the spiced cream cheese frosting would be amazing! YUM!
I have never made a zucchini cake :-)

I Wilkerson said...

This is quite similar to my zucchini muffins--just a bit more oil, sugar and eggs in yours which makes sense for a cake. My youngest just told me she likes spice cake so I'll bet she'd love this with the frosting.

kumars kitchen said...

zucchini cakes we love because they are extremely moist and tender crumbed...the spiced topping on top of this comforting slice of cake is beautiful :-)

Katerina said...

This is a beautiful cake Beth and yes why not trying to expand summer a little longer?

Nilu A said...

Cake looks so easy and delicious.. I'm definitely going to try this one out.. Loved the usage of brown sugar instead of white.. Do visit my blog.. http://kitchenserenity.blogspot.in/

Pamela @ Brooklyn Farm Girl said...

This cake looks great and I love how you are extending it into the Fall, can't wait to try this!

cquek said...

Yum! Looks absolutely scrumptious. And, as always your photos make the food look so tempting.

Juliana Levine said...

Beth, this zucchini cake looks delicious and yes, nicely paired with the spiced cream cheese frosting...
Thanks for the recipe and have a wonderful week :D

Guru Uru said...

This cake looks so delicious, cream cheese and lovely flavour :D

Cheers
CCU

Amy said...

Love your Zucchini Cake with Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting recipe. What a great way to use up the zucchini. :) And that spiced cream cheese frosting just sounds lovely with the cake.

Andrea_TheKitchenLioness said...

Beth, what a fabulous cake for fall - I love baking with zucchini and I can just imagine myself sitting down with a good book and enjoying a big slice of this delicious cake!
Have a wonderful day!

nancy at good food matters said...

The Civil Wars--such an amazing duo, bold, plaintive, distinct in voice and lyric!
This looks like a lovely moist cake, not too sweet. The cinnamon in the cream cheese frosting is the right touch.

inquiringchef said...

I love the Civil Wars for the exact same reason. You've put it so well - they make a beautiful soundtrack to fall! Love the look and texture of this cake - wonderful!

Sonali Ghosh said...

Spring or Fall, I could eat this anytime! It looks amazing and the flavours are delicious too.

Danielle Giannandrea said...

Looks absolutely delicious! Any time of year, this cake would be great. You can never go wrong with cream cheese frosting! Especially with cinnamon in it! YUM ♥

lisa is cooking said...

The spices do make this great for fall. And, who can resist cream cheese frosting? Love it.

amy (fearless homemaker) said...

Ooh, this cake sounds wonderful! And now you have me craving a slice of it AND the Civil Wars. I always put on music during my baby's bathtime and we're about to start, so I'm opting for The Civil Wars tonight. Thanks for the inspiration! =)

Paula Montenegro said...

So many vegetables are good year round, especially in baking when the flavors are mixed with many others. This is a gorgeous recipe Beth! All spice cakes are fine with me.

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