I don’t have a garden—yet. But I know from those of you that do that zucchini are taking over. CSA boxes are full of them and there are piles of the the summer squash at farmers markets. So I thought I would dedicate this week to the humble zucchini. I’ve got a couple of recipes that can help answer the question, what am I going to do with all of this zucchini!? Let’s call it Zucchini Week. Like shark week, but tastier. For humans.
Zucchini cake is, admittedly, not something I am usually drawn to. But when Gina DePalma is writing the recipe, it is always worth a try. The cake is easy to make and super moist, but the real star is the crackle lemon glaze that is brushed onto the warm cake. It is fantastic. Walnuts give the cake a nice texture and crunch along with some nutty flavor. This is originally made in a bundt cake pan, but I prefer making two loafs, which you can then share with a friend. Try this now, with those zucchini sitting on the counter. This is a recipe I know I will be making every summer.
I don’t often come across Gina DePalma recipes online, which surprises me. Everything I have every made from Dolce Italiano has been incredible.
Zucchini-Olive Oil Cake with Lemon Crunch Glaze (recipe adapted from Dolce Italiano  by Gina DePalma)
- 1 cup walnut pieces
- 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
- 3 large eggs
- 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 1/2 cups grated zucchini (about 2 small zucchini)
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
Preheat the oven to 350° F. Grease two loaf pans (or a 10-inch bundt) and dust them with flour.
Place the walnuts in a single layer on a baking sheet and toast them until they are golden brown and aromatic, 12-14 minutes. Cool completely and then finely chop them.
Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices into a medium bowl and set aside (you know me, I just whisk it together). In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs, sugar and olive oil together on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, then beat in the vanilla extract. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the dry ingredients all at once on low speed until they are thoroughly combined, then switch to medium speed and mix for 30 seconds. Mix in the zucchini and walnuts on low speed until they are completely incorporated.
Pour the batter into the prepared pans, smoothing the top with a spatula. Bake the cakes for 40 to 45 minutes or until a tester inserted in the cakes comes out clean and the cakes have begun to pull away from the sides of the pans.
While the cake is baking, prepare the glaze. In a medium bowl, whisk together the lemon juice and granulated sugar, then whisk in the confectioners’ sugar until the glaze is completely smooth.
Allow the cakes to cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then carefully invert them onto a wire rack. Using a pastry brush, immediately brush the glaze over the entire surface of the warm cake, using all of the glaze; it will adhere to the cake and set as the cake cools. Allow the cake to cool completely and the glaze to dry.