Sunday, March 21, 2010

Eatin' My Daily Fruits & Veggies: Pineapple Zucchini Cake

Let's face it-- the The Pioneer Woman is cooking for a brood of active kids, and hard-working cowboys.  Craig and I are living in an empty nest, so we both want to limit how much butter and heavy cream we consume, on a regular basis. So, my good mood turned cranky-- and there's a reason I am admitting this to you.  I just couldn't find a dessert recipe that was hitting the visual taste bud meter for me.   Finally, I decided that Ree's Pineapple Zucchini Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting looked easy enough to make-- and I had everything in stock.  The only thing I was not going to tempt myself into making was the frosting--  and not because I wouldn't like it.  On the contrary, I didn't want the temptation to eat it.
You need two cups of grated zucchini.  If you've never had zucchini cake, I can promise you that it doesn't taste like zucchini.  I would venture to guess that this squash vegetable has a lot of moisture-- and that's one of the keys to this very moist cake.  You can use a box grate, but my food processor makes it so easy.  These are four average sized zucchini's (turns out I only needed two).  You want to squeeze out the excess water-- and I use my ricer for this. It's super easy and it works great for spinach as well. Otherwise, squeeze it out in a towel.

 There we have two cups of dry, grated zucchini.  The remaining two cups are in my fridge-- and I have an idea with what to make with them. But, back to dessert...

Drain a 20 oz. can of crushed pineapple, and reserve the juice.  The juice is to be used if the batter is too thick or for the ream cheese frosting. (I'll explain that later.)

The dry ingredients are easy-- all-purpose flour, sugar, 3 tablespoons of canola oil and two large eggs. You might not have whole wheat pastry flour, so it's okay to us regular flour.  Fortunately, I had a bag of pastry flour, and I was glad to finally be able to use it.

You don't even need to drag out the stand mixer. This is all easily mixed by hand. Simply add the wet ingredients to the dry, add vanilla (I added a bit of my Bakery Emulsion that I'm fond of).  Fold in the zucchini and pineapple.  NOTE: Do you see pineapple in here?  This is where my grumpy mood comes in to the story line.....



Because I didn't want to frost this cake in a sheet pan, I chose this cake pan that dates way back to my mom's kitchen.  I cut parchment paper (because it's good insurance against cakes getting stuck),  and greased the pan well.  I poured the batter into the pan...and then saw the can of drained pineapple.  (Dark words of expression are omitted here).  Being grumpy means that I didn't give 100% into setting up my mis en place. Serves me right... so...


I added the pineapple, and folded it in as best as I could.  The batter did not need the reserved pineapple juice at all.  In fact, I thought 20 oz. of pineapple seemed like a lot.  Into a 350F oven, I placed the cake pan and set the timer for 35 minutes.

As expected, the cake smelled wonderful.  I allowed it to cool for a few minutes...then removed the cake...and promptly dropped it. Yep, it slipped out of my grasp, hit the edge of the cooling rack-- to my utter horror!  (More dark and colorful words are not listed here.)

As you can see, there's a lot of pineapple on top and the cake is denser on the bottom.  I think this is because I spaced out on folding the pineapple and zucchini together. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it!

You would think that the missing piece of cake was devoured...but, no, I removed the evidence of my slippery fingers! 

Go ahead, make the cream cheese frosting!  I'm sure it's fantastic.  I simply dusted the cake with powdered sugar (or, is it confectioners sugar?)  Craig was skeptical of the little green bits.  He likes this.  Your kids would never know there's a green vegetable in it. 



There are a few reasons why I'm a loyal fan of The Pioneer Woman-- she's funny and she writes really well. She's real. She also knows how to pick great recipes.  This is one of them. If you want to see her high-caloric version, it's on her blog.

VERDICT: Even without the frosting, I loved the moistness of this cake.  It's terrific as a snack cake, or even with a morning cup of coffee. I'll bet this will taste even better tomorrow. This is a classic cake recipe that deserves to be made.  There's no butter in this-- just 3 tablespoons of canola oil.  It's got the perfect balance of spices. I think I'd reduce the pineapple by half.   Oh, and you can use shredded carrots instead of zucchini and get great results (as the original recipes says).


As for my cranky  mood... it's dissipating!

I have to think of this place-- this is where I spend most of my lunch breaks. This is Lover's Point, at Pacific Grove in my home state of California-- just a few minutes away from where I work.  This photo was taken just last Friday-- and it was 72 degrees outside.  Not a bad place to enjoy a lunch, is it?  It's where I go to de-stress from work.  I just wish the weekend didn't go so fast!

I cannot wait to share with you some healthy recipes I've been making. It's definitely grilling season in my neck of the woods.  I'll try and post them this week.  The recipe for this cake is at the bottom of this post. I included the frosting recipe, for those of you who want to make this.  It's a keeper!

Two more weeks until Spring Break!







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34 comments:

Kim said...

I think you had a fantastic idea to make the cake and leave the frosting off. The cake looks pretty enough with the sprinkling of powdered sugar and you're saving some major calories. Good for you! I shipped my dessert off to my neighbors:D

My mom made PW's pineapple zucchini cake last summer when zucchini was in full swing. We really loved it and she uses it as her go to recipe now.

The Chef In My Head said...

What? Drop? I didn't see anything! 5 second rule :-0
It looks very moist and delicious! Happy Sunday~LeslieMichele

Ciao Chow Linda said...

This looks so deliciously moist and your photos are terrific. Really makes me want to grab a slice. I would like it without the frosting too.

ARUNA said...

such an attention to detail......loved the presentation, awesome cake!

Debinhawaii said...

Gorgeous cake--reminds me of my Mom's zucchini muffins and good move leaving of the frosting too!
;-)

Stacey Snacks said...

This cake looks SO MOIST and delish.
Getting your vegetables? hmmmmm.

TKW said...

Now this is my idea of eating fruits and veggies! Yum!

And I am so dang jealous of your lunch spot! Gorgeous.

bella said...

It must be pineapple season among us bloggers! This has got to be so incredible with the juicy addition of Hawaii's famous fruit! I've got to try this cuz I love zucchini cake on top of it all! Your luncheon spot is glorious and I'm completely jealous! I'm with you on the posting of healthy recipes too! We splurge on the weekends and eat healthy during the week as much as possible! Spring break was spent in NYC a few weeks ago, so I understand your anticipation of it! Love the photos, Deb! Take care, Roz

Bellini Valli said...

Excellent choice. I wouldn't have been able to resist the frosting either dso my hips thank you.

loneilteaches said...

It looks wonderful, and I think I would prefer it without the icing. I love zucchini and can only imagine the extra kick the pineapple gives it. This is going on my to try list.

Pam said...

This looks and sounds excellent! Very moist and nothing tastes like pineapple! Just wish I had a slice!

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

I think the combination of zucchini and pineapple is brilliant! I make a zucchini whole wheat bread with cinnamon each summer, and will just some small alterations, the pineapple would make a sweet addition!

Carla said...

I have to make this cake! You have the most beautiful blog on food I have seen yet. Thank you for all of this wonderful food!

Joanne said...

I wish I had gotten my act together to participate! I love zucchini cake...I made a chocolate one this summer and no one even new there was zucchini in it. My brother threw a fit when he found out.

This looks so moist and delicious!

Marguerite said...

Oh this cake looks heavenly! Very yummy, without the frosting, I'm sure. Beautiful beach photo! You are so lucky to be able to have lunch there.

Monica H said...

I have very few PW recipes bookmarked but this is one of them! I bet these would be awesome as muffins.

I'm going to make them for sure. Thanks for reminding me of this recipe and how great it can look without the frosting!

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

I understand the need to cook something good for you more often. *Sigh* Why does bad food taste so good?

Nice view! I wish I had that by my office. I'd like your weather too. We had that sunny 72 over the weekend, but now we're back to a typical rainy NY spring.

Susan said...

Oh, I hate you for having something that beautiful that close to your work! Not really, but, WOW! Are you lucky! Can I come visit? :}

I make an Apple Zucchini bread/cake that is wonderful. I will have to post it one day. This looks delicious and your photo is gorgeous!

I am already thinking about what to make for next months Foodie Fans. :)

Kate said...

Oh, Debby, this looks and sounds delightful. I love a moist cake that can double over and be a breakfast cake! If Ihad it for breakfast it would truly be "dessert first"!

Cristie said...

I love baking with zucchini- so many people give it a bad rap. Your cake looks so most and tasty. Delicious!

Deborah said...

I made this recipe - with the frosting - and can still remember it. I LOVED it!!

Mary said...

Debbie, this is a simply gorgeous cake. Your photos of it are beautiful. I've put it on my to-do list. It looks wonderful.

Cathy said...

Hi Debbie - I know I'm always in for a treat when I come by to visit. Your cake looks heavenly delicious. And using a ricer to squeeze out liquid is genius.

I haven't visited Pacific Grove since my aunt died about 15 years ago. It's one of my favorite places and I hope to visit again one day. When I do we must get together for lunch and stop at your favorite spot to look at the ocean.

Mother Rimmy said...

Right up my alley with the fruits and veggies. We have an empty nest too, so I know what you mean. Can't wait to try this! As usual, your pictures are terrific!

Jules said...

Thanks for your version of the recipe. I love your blog and love the area of CA that you come from. Thanks for sharing!

Jules
alittlebiteoflife.net

My Carolina Kitchen said...

Pineapple and zucchini - why didn't I think of that combination? They sound like perfect partners. Your cake is gorgeous.
Sam

Sophie said...

This is so neat! I love that you combined two popular sweet treat ingredient to make a deliciously moist cake :).

I tried commenting on our blog regarding featuring you, but it isn't showing up for some reason :/. At any rate, it was fun to feature you. We love your blog!

Phoo-D said...

This looks terrific! I love the moistness of the cake.

Lisa@The Cutting Edge of Ordinary said...

Using the potato ricer - genius! That cake looks wonderful! I'm bookmarking it!

Ingrid said...

You know if you hadn't of told about yout mishaps we would have never have known.
~ingrid

Jessica said...

I just found this recipe to use with my garden zucchini. I liked your idea of leaving off the frosting, but I added a pineapple glaze so the juice wouldn't go to waste. The cake was very moist and delicious... Thanks!

Jessica said...

I just found this recipe to use with my garden zucchini. I liked your idea of leaving off the frosting, but I added a pineapple glaze so the juice wouldn't go to waste. The cake was very moist and delicious... Thanks!

Kelly said...

Used apple sauce for the oil (why not?) and I did use almost 16oz crushed pineapple and about 1/2C juice. Omitting the frosting and dusting with p. sugar instead because I like that idea. My house smelled wonderful while baking. Very moist cake, sticky (maybe my use of the pine juice?), but delicious! I love it and will make it again the same way. Thanks for sharing!

Debby Foodiewife said...

Kelly, I think using applesauce instead of sugar was a great idea. I'd like to try that myself!