Zucchini Bread

Summertime = buying tons of zucchini for cheap, which inevitably leads to zucchini bread, at least for me. This has been true ever since I discovered this awesome zucchini bread recipe at Smitten Kitchen. Baking zucchini bread has become more of a year round thing, because out of all of the baked goods that I make way too often, zucchini bread seems to be the biggest hit. I don’t know if it is because it is so tasty, or maybe because some people see zucchini and immediately think it must be good for you. While the former is true, the latter, not so much – it should really just be called zucchini cake. I’m not going to try to fool myself (or you) into thinking that this zucchini bread is healthy just because there’s a bit of shredded green veggie inside of it (amid the sugar, oil, chocolate, and so on). Similarly, I’m not going to try to fool myself that just because it isn’t health food that I’m not going to eat it (have you seem my other posts?!).

So, I decided that since I will definitely be eating this zucchini bread (and lots of it) when zucchini is so readily available and inexpensive, I might as well at least try to add some sort of health benefits. Seems like a nice compromise, right? So, along with all those horrible things like white flour, sugar, oil, etc, I added some whole wheat flour and ground flax seed. While this might not be the equivalent of eating steamed zucchini, at least there’s some fiber and omega 3’s hidden inside! This was also a nice exercise in using what I had (yay saving $!) – I realized I didn’t have any chocolate chips so I made chocolate chunks from a chocolate bar in my candy stash (yes, I have a target bag filled with all sorts of goodies in my desk for when the stress gets to be too much :/).

So what if I stock up on Halloween candy when it goes way on sale on Nov 1…that candy stash comes in handy at times!

Zucchini Bread (adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 2 cups grated zucchini
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chocolate chips (or chocolate chunks!)
  • 2 tablespoons ground flax seed

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease/flour either muffin tins (enough for about 24 muffins) or two 8×4 inch loaf pans. In a large bowl, beat the eggs until slightly fluffy with a whisk. Add oil and sugar, mix, then add zucchini and vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder, salt, chocolate chips, and flax seed. Stir this into egg mixture (careful not to overmix) and divide batter into prepared pans. Loaves will bake for 60 minutes, plus or minus 10 (I baked mine for about 55 minutes) and muffins take about 20-25 minutes.

My Version of Blueberry (and Raspberry) Boy Bait

I first saw the recipe for Blueberry Boy Bait on Smitten Kitchen about a year ago, and have made it no less than 5 times since.  While I cannot speak to the success of this as far as boys are concerned (I did give some leftovers to my advisor, but referred to it as blueberry cake – I was and am not the least bit interesting in baiting that man!), I can say that this cake is A M A Z I N G!

By 7 o’clock this evening, I had driven to and from the clinic to make phone calls and prep for my case tomorrow, walked around in the rain, finished my IRB for my thesis study, and even managed to throw in a thirty minute workout (which has since been completely negated by what I am about to share). The amount of productivity going on today deserves some relaxation. Which if you ask me, means watching Drop Dead Diva (not ashamed) and baking cake. Also, blueberries and raspberries were on sale at Publix, so this cake was basically destined to be made. I’ve made some modifications to the Smitten Kitchen version (which is adapted from Cook’s Country, who adapted the original recipe – geez this cake has been through a lot!). One of the modifications was out of necessity (unsweetened vanilla almond milk instead of whole milk because that’s what I had) and others were out of curiosity. First, I made half of the cake with raspberries because I had them and thought if the blueberry version was so good, a raspberry version has to be at least as good if not better (love love love raspberries). Second, I added a touch of vanilla because I love vanilla. Third, I used ½ whole wheat flour and ½ all-purpose flour. I don’t know why I do this – well, no, I do it to fool myself into thinking I am eating something that is good for me. Pretty irrational – what is the point when I am still using so much butter and sugar? No matter how irrational, I do this “part whole wheat” thing a lot, and usually (well at least in zucchini bread) things turn out fine. Moral of the story – I will continue to add whole wheat flour to recipes and pretend I am eating health food.* Anyway, here is the truly important part of this post – the recipe!

Yeah – that’s me doing some intense stirring while I watch Drop Dead Diva 🙂

Blueberry & Raspberry Boy Bait

  • 1 cup + 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk (or in my case, unsweetened almond milk)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup blueberries
  • 1/4 cup raspberries

Topping

  • 1/4 cup blueberries
  • 1/4 cup raspberries
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

CAKE: Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter & flour a 13 by 9-inch baking pan (Note: I have also made Blueberry Boy Bait Mini Muffins because of my love affair with my mini muffin tins + attempts at portion control – if you would like to go this route, reduce cooking time to about 15 minutes).

In a medium bowl, whisk together whole-wheat flour, 1 cup of all-purpose flour, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, beat butter and sugars with an electric mixer on medium speed for about 2 minutes or until fluffy. I’m going to be honest here – I used a wooden spoon and stirred as fast as I could (I was lacking in the mixer department the first time I made this and things turned out fine, plus I got a nice little arm workout – so mixing by hand stuck). Add eggs 1 at a time, stirring until just incorporated. Once all eggs are added, stir in 1/3 of the flour mixture until just incorporated followed by half of the milk and 1 teaspoon of vanilla (be careful not to overmix!). Repeat with the second third of the flour mixture and the rest of the milk, followed by the last of the flour mixture. Now is the part where I decided to complicate things. Split the batter between 2 bowls. Toss 1/4 of the blueberries with 1/2 teaspoon of flour and gently fold into one bowl of batter using a rubber spatula. Do the same thing with the other bowl of batter, but this time with the raspberries and 1/2 teaspoon of flour.** Spread the blueberry batter into one side of the pan and the raspberry batter into the other.

TOPPING: Stir sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup blueberries over the blueberry side of the batter and the remaining 1/4 cup raspberries over the raspberry side. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the entire cake and bake for 45-50 minutes (or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.). Let the cake cool in the pan for 20 minutes (this is the toughest part in my opinion – by this time the whole house will smell like blue/raspberry deliciousness). Once cool, either turn out and display the cake nicely on a platter or just dig in!

*So, the recipe still tastes good with the whole wheat flour BUT I will admit, it is better with 100% all-purpose flour. It also looks better (mine turned out pretty ugly). I retract my original statement – from now on, at least with this recipe, I am just gonna go all in and accept that this is a dessert and it was not meant to be healthy.

Tastes better than it looks, I swear!

**Alternatively, if you wanted to make things easier on yourself – either use all blueberries, all raspberries, or just mix them together in one cake rather than going through the unnecessary hassle of trying to make two different halves. I am sure that all of the above would be delicious…I just have a problem with unnecessarily over-complicating things by trying to get creative.