This weekend was quite lovely, both in weather and activities. It was nice to have a weekend that we neither had company nor were company, a couple of days to just do what we felt like doing and enjoying ourselves (with some errands etc. mixed in, of course). We sat in the backyard in the warm shade and read books; we completely restocked our liquor supply (were out of EVERYTHING); we spent way too much money on plants for our garden (mostly vegetables, a few flowering annuals) and put the garden in, finally.
On Friday, I asked our friend Julie what kind of cake she wanted for her birthday. We threw around ideas, and, knowing she’s on some sort of fancy diet, I wanted to make sure I made something that would a) taste good, and b) not make her feel extraordinarily guilty for eating it. She asked for chocolate, zucchini, and booze to be involved in the production of the cake. I went to allrecipes and typed in those ingredients (plus cake) and came up with this recipe. However, I knew it needed to be modified to be made healthier. Here’s what I came up with.
MLE’s awesome Chocolate Zucchini Rum Cake, now with Less Guilt!
3/4 cup butter
1 1/3 cup brown sugar
2 1/4 cups grated zucchini
1/3 cup Sailor Jerry’s rum (that’s the kind we buy, I’m sure it would be fine with any rum)
1 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 plus a little bit wheat flour
1/2 cup chopped walnuts and pecans
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 dark unsweetened cocoa powder (I use this stuff, it is terrific)
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup powdered sugar
2 oz Sailor Jerry’s rum
I accidentally omitted the milk from the original recipe but discovered it wasn’t necessary (the batter was plenty moist) and probably could have even left out some of the butter. I used a 9×13 pan rather than a bundt pan because we don’t have a bundt pan, plus I knew there would be a lot of people at the party and it’s easier to divide up a sheet cake into lots of pieces.
We got all gussied up for the party, which was held at a swanky local establishment (so swanky the drinks were $8-9 EACH, good thing I had planned to only have two) and walked the 8 short blocks and 4 long blocks, me tottering in four-inch heels and carrying the cake in arms, Dan carrying my wrap and his jacket. A great time was had by all, but, best of all, the cake was a huge hit. Julie cut it up into about 28 pieces so everyone could have some and everybody who tried it must have complimented me. Seriously, it turned out SOOO GOOD, and you couldn’t tell at all that it had zucchini in it (or that it was made with partly wheat flour, or that I’d cut the sugar nearly in half, etc.) I plan to make this cake again, only this time I’ll use parchment paper in the bottom of the pan (it was so moist that a few bits stuck to the pan rather than holding cohesively, but since I iced it in drizzles and the venue was dark, it didn’t matter).
I love going to events that are Julie-centric, because she has a lot of friends who I like very much, some of whom I have known almost as long as I’ve known Julie (about 5 years now), so it’s fun to catch up with people. Like Chu, the Brazillian goddess who just got back from 6 months traveling around the world, who also plays Capoeira. I enjoyed the company for a couple of hours, but at one point the place got really loud because they were showing some sort of fight on the television and it was a little overwhelming. Luckily, things quieted back down once the fight was over. I started to feel like I wanted to leave at one point, until I learned that Julie’s cousin and his wife were on their way, so we decided to stay and say hi to them (having met them at Julie events through their engagement and wedding and decision to become Orthodox over the last few years). The female half of the couple was exceedingly pregnant, having been told by her midwife that she’d probably have the baby over the weekend. Yet she and her husband made it to two social events in one night. Go, them! She looked great and I am really excited to find out what flavor of baby they have and what his or her name will be.
Because we were up so late Saturday night, we slept in on Sunday and didn’t finish with our breakfast of waffles-from-scratch, strawberries, and turkey bacon until nearly 11 AM. We had decided to experiment with a new sweetener, maple syrup being prohibitively expensive these days and regular syrup being rife with HFCS, so we bought Agave Nectar at the grocery store on Saturday. Turns out I like it better than maple syrup, plus it’s marginally healthier (has a lower glycemic index) and far less expensive. Hooray! We bought our plants and other necessities (bags of poop and bark and dirt) and spent the afternoon planting everything. I have high hopes for the zucchini plant I put in, since now I have a great food processor that grates in like 2 seconds and a fabulous new zucchini recipe.
We never ate lunch, opting instead for a early (for us) dinner of homemade hummus, falafel, veggies, and pita, and then we walked to our neighborhood ice cream store. It turned out that everyone else in a 3-mile radius had the exact same idea, so we waited in line for a half hour for our child-size chai tea and billionaires (me) and chocolate peanut butter in a sugar cone (Dan). It was nearly full dark by the time we got home, enjoying a leisurely stroll in the warm June evening.
I couldn’t have asked for a better weekend.