Using and Preserving the Harvest, plus Chocolate Zucchini Cake at the lake.

I’ve decided to work on a little series here called Using and Preserving the Harvest, documenting my triumphs and failures with freezing, canning, and cooking the things I’m harvesting from my garden.  I hope some of this will be useful to readers who are also interested in gardening and food preservation.

Here is what I’ve been up to this weekend (recipes for each will be posted over the next couple days):

  • making and freezing pesto image
  • making and freezing lemon-zucchini barsimage
  • canning sweet pickles image


Also, in my quest to Leave No Zucchini Unused, I decided to make a zucchini cake.  I had agreed to take a bunch of teenagers out to Independence Lake for the day on Friday, so I made Chocolate Zucchini Cake, and it ended up being a good choice for a picnic.



  • 1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) butter
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup sour cream, buttermilk, or yogurt
  • 2 1/2 cups all-Purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup Dutch-process cocoa
  • 2 teaspoons espresso powder, optional but tasty
  • 3 cups shredded zucchini (about one 10″ zucchini)
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips


  • 1 cup chocolate chips

I found the recipe on the King Arthur Flour recipe page, so I’m not going to repost the recipe directions here since you can read them there.   However, I made three changes which I recommend you follow: first, I grated the zucchini and let it sit in a colander for an hour to drain so the cake wouldn’t be too wet; second, I baked it for 40 minutes instead of 30 minutes; third, I sprinkled the chocolate chips over the top and put it back in the oven for five minutes but I did not spread the soft chips.  I liked the way they looked whole better:



I chilled it in the refrigerator overnight, covered with tinfoil.  All day at the lake it sat out on the picnic table while people grazed from it, but because it is a very moist cake due to the zucchini, it didn’t get dried-out and stale-tasting with air exposure, making it a perfect picnic cake.


The tinfoil blew away in the wind shortly after we arrived but the cake stayed moist and yummy.

For some reason, aforementioned teenagers felt the need to take selfies with a slice of the cake:


The puppies tried for a good ten minutes to get at the piece left on the table but alas were thwarted by their tethers:



I’ll post the directions for the pesto, pickles, and bars later; right now, I’ve got green peppers and cabbage to pick and deal with. 🙂  Happy gardening!


3 thoughts on “Using and Preserving the Harvest, plus Chocolate Zucchini Cake at the lake.

  1. I just had a discussion with my great aunt and grandma about canning my tomatoes and making dill pickles to can from cukes. I will REALLY benefit from whatever you can offer so I am looking forward to the next few posts. Also, a friend of my husband came by today with two of the largest zuchini Ive ever seen from his garden so this post was timely! I will make this chocolate cake tomorrow. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, I have recently found a resource online that I think you will really find useful! Hang on and I’ll put it up as a separate post to make it easier for others to find, too.

      I’m so glad your garden has been productive. Isn’t it satisfying to take a little seed in the spring and end up with a shelf full of organically-grown canned fruit and vegetables to feed your family for the winter?

      Liked by 1 person

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