This moist, simple cake bridges the gap between summer and fall. Even though fall is here, it feels like we're still in summer, with this random heat wave we are having in mid-October in Pennsylvania. We can certainly find zucchini all year round in the grocery store, but for the most part, it's pretty much finished for the season. I had a few lingering in the fridge, and that was all the impetus I needed.
I made this recipe as written just once, and used my own leftover cream cheese frosting rather than the vegan frosting it calls for. It's rare that I make a dessert straight up; I usually start tinkering immediately because I can't leave well enough alone. However, with gluten-free baking there is a more narrow margin of error, so there's something to be said for a slow and steady approach. As soon as I made it, I thought pumpkin would be a good addition to keep this cake moist, and indeed, it does. This cake will keep for days, covered, at room temperature. It's good plain, with some powdered sugar, or a cream cheese frosting of your liking. As far as sweets go, it's fairly nutritious, with almond flour, zucchini, applesauce and pumpkin. There's not much in the way of sugar, and I've used coconut oil and it works well, along with a butter-infused organic olive oil that I bought from a local purveyor near me, Olive With a Twist.
I adapted this from a recipe from the Minimalist Baker. I changed the sugar and applesauce amounts, changed the flour amount, added pumpkin, bumped up the spice amount, clarified the salt and added ginger where there was none. If you don't want to use zucchini, I would advise carrots, and add a little more liquid (possibly a couple T of milk), because grated carrots aren't quite as moist as zucchini.
1 1/2 cups zucchini, grated
1/3 cup pumpkin puree
2 T. unsweetened applesauce
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/4 cup olive, coconut or canola oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose gluten free flour blend (I used Bob's Red Mill 1 to 1)
1 cup almond flour
1/4 cup rolled oats
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. cloves
Preheat the oven to 300°F and grease and flour an 8x8-inch square baking pan.
In a large bowl, whisk together zucchini through vanilla extract. In a separate bowl, whisk together the gluten-free flour blend through cloves. Carefully add the dry to the wet. The batter will be somewhat thick but you should have no trouble scraping it into the pan.
Bake for about 45-50 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean and the edges of the cake have started to turn golden brown and pull away from the sides of the pan.
Cool in the pan on a wire rack before frosting—if that's the kind of cake you're going for.