Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Its zucchini season, in case you missed it, and here is another one of my favorite zucchini recipes. Not just one of my favorites, but one of my husbands too!

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Caution: this cake is addicting and requires a glass a milk.

Zucchini Chocolate Cake:

  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 1 ¾ cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ½ cup oil
  • 2 ½ cups flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ cup cocoa
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • 2 cups grated zucchini

Sift the dry ingredients together and set aside.

Cream butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla, and oil until creamy. Add dry mixture to creamy mixture, alternating with buttermilk. Add zucchini. Bake at 325° for 45-55 minutes in a 9×13 greased pan.

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Chocolate Butter Cream Frosting:

  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 1/3-1/2 cup cocoa
  • 1 ½ tsp vanilla
  • 2 Tbs milk
  • 2 cups powdered sugar

Beat butter until fluffy. Gradually add cocoa and vanilla. Beat in 2 cups powdered sugar adding 2 Tbs milk. Beat the mixture until light and fluffy.

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What are some of your favorite zucchini recipes? Please share!

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Zucchini Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

Its zucchini season. Full blown zucchini season. In the last week and a half I’ve picked 6 of them. As my husband likes to say, “we have zucchini coming out of place zucchini shouldn’t be coming out of.”

I’m a big fan of desserts and I try hard to eat them in moderation which is why my desserts are usually made in the evening and sent with the hubby to the farm or they go to work with me for my co-workers to eat up.

With a couple of my zucchini picked last week I made Zucchini Barns with Cream Cheese Frosting. I took these to work with me and the 11×17 pan didn’t last long! These bars are extremely easy to make and always turn out! They are moist and the frosting is so creamy and scrumptious!

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Zucchini Bars:

  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup oil (or 1/2 cup apple sauce and 1/2 cup oil)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 cups grated zucchini

Mix eggs, oil, and sugar together in a large bowl. Stir in the flour, baking powder and soda. Stir in zucchini. Pour into a greased 11″x17″ jelly roll pan. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes; top should be brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting: 

  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 Tbs milk
  • 2 – 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Mix all of the ingredients with a mixer until well combined.

(I usually double the frosting for this recipe, because I LOVE cream cheese frosting!)

Enjoy and leave a note on what you thought of them!

Garden: Planted

What a difference 9 days makes!

What a difference 9 days makes!

Finally, the weather has been nice for more then one day! I took advantage of a couple of warm days and planted my garden. I talked about getting antsy for spring in my Garden: Prep Work post and thought it might snow Thursday of that week. Well guess what, we missed the snow but a hour away the got 18″+!!

Garden Planted

Planted!

I planted the garden on May 7th this year. I have not planted everything yet, I’m still waiting to plant my tomatoes and peppers until the night lows aren’t in the 30°s.

In the corner with the straw are my potatoes! Yes, I’ll admit I saw the idea on Pinterest; I grew them this way last year and it didn’t work the best so I thought I would alter it a little bit and try it one more time. For my garden, where space is limited, its nice to be able to plant potatoes without taking up much space!

The same day I planted my garden, the farm started planting corn! I know all of my farmer friends are getting pretty anxious to get corn planted because they can all remember last year they were done planting by now!

Just like I prepped my garden, the farmers have been prepping their fields this week before planting. They have some bigger and far more advanced equipment then I do. I’m pretty old fashioned and didn’t use a garden tiller to work my garden, just a hand tiller. I spread some rabbit manure on my garden and likewise the farmers are recycling animal manure and using it as fertilizer for their fields. I know those farmers are sure happy for the advancements in technology, can you imagine farming multiple football field size areas of land by hand?!

Garden: Prep Work

The weather this weekend was BEAUTIFUL! Finally. We have been waiting a long time for it to warm up some and it looks like the warm weather was just a teaser with the possibility of snow on Thursday. Regardless of what the weatherman is forecasting  I wanted to get out and start some prep work on my garden.

When we bought our house there was already a garden in the back yard. It was overgrown and full of weeds; this will be the 3rd year we will have a garden at our house and it has taken of bit of work to get it going.

The first year our garden did not produce well, so farmer husband and I decided to do a soil test. We took our soil sample after harvest that fall and sent it off to the test lab. Results indicated our soil type was high in clay, which we figured, and low in nitrogen.

The next spring we were able to get soil off of peat ground. This soil has a lot of organic material and is a light soil type; we determined this would help the soil mixture in our garden and provide a better seed bed and growing condition for our crops. In addition to the peat ground, my husband also brought home some rabbit manure from the farm for fertilizer. If I would have said yes, my husband would have brought home liquid hog manure to fertilize the garden with but I was more then happy with the rabbit manure. Our harvest that year was much better then the prior year and we got the weeds under control using corn gluten meal.

Garden Pre Tillage

Garden Pre Tillage

This year we are repeating our fertilizer plan and applied a 5 gallon pail of manure to the garden and worked it in. I’ve bought all my seeds and purchased tomato and pepper plants. I tried starting my tomato plants from seed the first two years and it just didn’t work out well so I pay a bit extra to get plants that have been started so I know they will produce.

The garden is only 11.5′ x 14′ so its not tremendously large but it is adequate for Kyle and I.

Garden Post Tillage

Garden Post Tillage

This year we plan on planting:

  • 4 tomato plants
  • 2 green pepper plants
  • 2 jalapeno plants
  • carrots
  • green beans, bush
  • beets
  • spinach
  • Mesclun salad mix
  • 1 mound of zucchini
  • potatoes, above ground

Additionally, we have raspberries planted in the garden and a small patch of rhubarb in the corner of our yard.

Yes, this is a fair amount of stuff to plant in our small garden  but it works out quite well. The distance between rows is minimal but it cuts down on weeding, one of my least favorite jobs. Hopefully it will warm up soon so I can plant my garden!

The best part is eating the produce year round, we freeze a lot of carrots and beans and can salsa and tomatoes for year round feasting.  Another great part of having my garden is being able to share produce with others. The neighbor lady has a daycare and I am affectionately know as “Garden Lady” to some of the daycare kids, they enjoy coming over to see what I’m doing and even eat some of the veggies!

Do you have a garden, what are you planting this year and what is your favorite part of having a garden?