Pipe Dream #292: To Take My Chances – Zucchini Spice Cake with Fancy Cream Cheese Frosting

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If you invite me to brunch, you can ask me to bring a delicious cake, and I will most certainly oblige. But I may also bring last night’s mascara and a few lame stories and poisonous berries with which to envenom you. So you can take your chances, I guess.
On the bittersweet nightshade: the  noxious berries might kill you (if their juice seeps into the cake), but who gives? They are pretty. Live a little. Eat your vegetables and fruits. And the best cream cheese frosting I have ever made will revive you.
But before we get to that part, let us start with the essentials. The zucchini spice cake layers. The recipe freaked me out a little because it was vegan, and I had to use a flax egg. I was worried the cake wouldn’t be light and fluffy. Turns out I was right. It wasn’t fluffy. But I didn’t even care, because it was moist and dense and made me forget that fluffy cakes are, like, a goal of many bakers.
To keep things fancy, you can torte the two layers (split each in half), so you end up with four, giving you pretty much a 1:1 frosting ratio (the only ratio worth my time).
This frosting though…easily one of the most involved frostings I’ve ever tried. You’ll need a candy thermometer, so if you don’t have one, git yerself to the store, because this one is for the books. I had to psyche myself up to it for months before I had the time or willpower to attempt it.
It’s a French buttercream, like this one, so it is extremely smooth and rich. And get this: it’s flavored with cream cheese. I was reading the recipe, and my mind was being blown apart by this revolutionary way to approach cream cheese frosting. Some guy named Robicelli made it up, and I am having massive respect.
Do you even know how hard it is to blow my mind about anything in baking? Years of food blogging and blog-stalking have created a bored and cynical Lauren. I am no longer impressed by anything. I’ve seen it all. You can’t wow me. (But I will still happily eat any delicious thing you bake bc I’m sure it tastes the most amazing bc I didn’t make it. Trust.)
And so I made it, and it totally lived up to the hype. You can also make it. You can.
Took too many pics of the styled cake. I went for a “rustic” look. Code for lazy. Code for easy. Code for pretty.
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Brunching so hard,
Rustic Zucchini Cake with Fancy Cream Cheese Frosting
Cake adapted from Fragrant Vanilla Cake
Frosting recipe (halved) by Robicelli’s: A Love Story, with Cupcakes found at Serious Eats
3/4 cup minus 1 tablespoon whole wheat flour
3/4 cup minus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
about 2 cups grated zucchini, squeezed of excess moisture
1/4 cup neutral oil
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground clove
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons milk
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F, and position rack in center of oven. Line two six-inch-diameter cake pans with parchment paper and coat with nonstick spray. (I skipped the parchment and used Baker’s Joy nonstick spray.)
Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl. Whisk in the  oil, sugar, milk, vanilla extract and zucchini together in small bowl to blend well, then whisk into the flour mixture until well blended. Transfer cake batter to prepared pan and bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 30-40 minutes. Let cool about ten minutes, then remove the layers to a wire rack to cool completely. Place in the fridge or freezer to chill until very cold to make slicing easier. When chilled, slice cakes horizontally in half so that you have 4 layers. Frost with cream cheese frosting as desired.
You can find the rather involved frosting recipe over at Serious Eats. Totally worth it.

3 Responses to “Pipe Dream #292: To Take My Chances – Zucchini Spice Cake with Fancy Cream Cheese Frosting”

  1. 1 Emily September 24, 2014 at 7:13 am

    These photos!! so beautiful. I love the berries!

  1. 1 Pipe Dream #301: To Holiday – Streuseled Sweet Potato Casserole | piping dreams Trackback on November 17, 2014 at 9:02 am

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