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Zucchini and orange creates a special cake

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It seems that when you try to think of ways to cook with zucchini, there's not really that many ways to use it! The first thing that comes to mind when I think of this unique green vegetable is turning it into "Zucchini Bread". A good while back, I shared two recipes for this unique and flavorful bread. In case you missed those recipes, this link will take you to them:

http://www.examiner.com/article/ways-to-use-all-that-zucchini

Other than in bread, have you considered baking a cake with zucchini? If you enjoy carrot cake, this recipe I'm sharing for "Orange Zucchini Cake" will certainly please you! This has a lot of the characteristics of the classic carrot cake, though there's no carrots in it at all. It contains cinnamon, dates, and walnuts, along with the zucchini. It's iced with an orange-flavored cream cheese icing that is a perfect match with the cake.

You'll see that the orange flavor comes from orange liqueur, along with some orange rind. Orange liqueur is easy to get and a little goes a long way. This makes a 9x13 inch cake, so it will serve a large number. I like to make this cake a day ahead and let it mellow overnight. This seems to help with the flavor of the cake and it's really a sensation!

Though it calls for chopped walnuts, pecans will work well, too. With the addition of dates, you may feel like this is more of a fruitcake than a zucchini cake since the dates certainly add to the flavor. Though I've never tried it, you may want to try raisins instead of dates, if you prefer them. Regardless of the variations you can come up with, it makes a very fine cake. Don't let the long list of ingredients discourage you from trying it, for it's well worth the time it takes to make!

For a new and different way to use zucchini, this cake will be one you'll remember!

ORANGE ZUCCHINI CAKE

  • 1-1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup orange liqueur
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons grated orange rind
  • 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups grated zucchini
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup finely chopped dates

In the large bowl of the electric mixer, cream together the oil and sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well as they're added. Add vanilla extract, orange liqueur and orange rind. Sift together the dry ingredients and add to the creamed mixture. Stir in the zucchini, walnuts and dates by hand. Turn into a greased and floured 9x13 inch pan. Bake at 350 degree oven for 35-40 minutes or until cake tests done. Let cool before icing.

Icing:

  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups confectioner's sugar
  • 2 tablespoons orange liqueur
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange rind
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cream together all ingredients until smooth and spread on cooled cake. Yield: about 16 servings.

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