Today is one of those days that feel like winter will never end. It is not especially cold (unlike Friday -30 C!!!!!) at -4 degrees but it is grey. The streets are ugly from the salt and gravel. My vegetable garden is under three feet of snow and it looks like no zucchini would dream of growing there ... ever. My head aches and my heart is heavy, arghhhh! I want to wake up to new life, green, growing,sunshine. Since I am pretty sure that reality is many sleeps away, and I am not one to wallow (at least not for very long) I think what the doctor ordered is a trip to the grocery store where one can purchase a bit of summer for the price of a couple of zucchini and two lemons. Don't believe me? You might after trying this cake. I am pretty sure actually, that you will.
This cake is soooooo good. The brown sugar adds warmth and is a nice foil for the brightness of the lemon. The chia seed was my substitution for poppyseed and I think it is a much better choice. If you haven't tried chia (or Salba a trademark name) it is worth the trip to get. You will most likely need to go to a whole foods type of market but may be lucky enough to find it in the health food section of your supermarket. It is super duper good for you and the tiny seeds add a perfect little crunch. mmmmmmmmmm.
Lemon Zucchini Cake
adapted from cinnamon, spice, and warm apple pie
finely grated peel of 2 lemons
1/3 cup milk
1 cup unsalted butter
1 1/3 cup golden brown sugar
4 large eggs, separated
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup ground almonds
3 Tbsp chia seed
2 medium zucchini, coarsely grated
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
for the icing:
1 cup powdered sugar
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 tsp finely grated lemon peel
2-3 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
Butter and baseline with parchment paper a 9" springform pan. Heat the milk until hot but not boiling. Add the lemon peel and let cool while you make the rest of the cake batter.
Cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy. Beat in the egg yolks, followed by the vanilla, flour, baking powder, salt, ground almonds and chia seed. Add the milk and lemon peel mixture and the zucchini. In a separate grease-free bowl beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until stiff, then fold into the other combined ingredients. Scrape into the prepared pan and level the surface.
Bake in 375 F oven for 50-60 minutes, until just firm to the touch and a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes before turning onto wire rack to cool completely.
When cool, mix together powdered sugar, melted butter and lemon peel. Add sufficient lemon juice to make a spreadable icing. Spread over cake top.
And look! The sun is weakly trying shine for me - just since I sat down here. A little reminder and a bit of hope. Spring will come. I feel better already.