Wednesday, August 15, 2012

vegan chocolate zucchini cake

First off, what I am supposed to be doing...writing my dissertation. What I am actually doing...writing this blog post. It took a few months of slogging away at the same old thing every day to get me back on here, but, hey, I will take it if you will.

It's no secret that I'm a vegan baked good skeptic. Mostly because, I've never really been impressed with the vegan baked goods I've tried. Even Babycakes, the New York bakery that is a favourite among the ethically-minded celebrities, was a huge flop when my sister and I missioned across the city to try it. I always thought the less than amazing vegan baking was due to long-time vegans simply forgetting how real baked goods are supposed to taste and being happy with sub-par offerings as a result.

Ok, so where am I going with all this? Yesterday, I had a baking date with my friend Elinor who happens to be a vegan. I met her in class and we bonded over food, food system issues and eventually both got involved in a food related discussion group on campus. Moral of the story, we both love food! For a while now, I have been on-and-off trying to eat less animal products. I even toyed with the idea of veganism myself. There are plenty of good reasons to go vegan. I was reading an article about the water footprint of various food items last night. By and large, the water footprint for animal products is much greater than crop products with equivalent nutritional value [1]. In fact, it's 1.5 times larger for milk, eggs, and chicken meat than for pulses. And, those aren't even the biggest offenders when it comes to animal products [2]! The thing that really should concern all of us in North America especially is that animal products from industrial systems consume and pollute more water resources than those from grazed or mixed-systems [3]. The water issue is just one reason to reduce our consumption of animal products...I could go on, but I'll save it for another time.  

On our merry vegan baking adventure we went and can I just say, I was shocked and surprised at how amazing it turned out? We made two things. Both, I would never guess are vegan if I didn't know. First up, was a vegan chocolate zucchini cake. Moist, chocolately and delicious. It was so yummy warm. If you are looking for an easy treat to whip up, whether vegan or not, this is worth trying!

Vegan Chocolate Zucchini Cake


2 cups flour
½ cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup canola oil
¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon instant coffee powder
1 ½ bananas4 tablespoons water
¼ cup soy milk (you could use any non-dairy milk)
2 cups zucchini, grated
1 cup vegan dark chocolate chips

For Topping:

3 tablespoons light brown sugar
½ cup flaked almonds

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour a 9-inch cake pan.
2.  In a medium mixing bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda and powder, salt.
3. Mash bananas adding the water until combined.
4. In a large bowl combine oil, applesauce, sugars, vanilla, and coffee powder. Beat!
5. Set aside half a cup of the dry mixture and add remaining to the wet ingredients while beating at a low speed. 
6. Combine the zucchini, chocolate chips and flour mixture. 
7. Add the zucchini mixture to the wet ingredients and mix well. Batter is very thick but moist.
8. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 25 minutes. Remove cake from oven to add combined brown sugar and flaked almonds for topping. Bake for an additional 20 to 25 minutes until a tester comes out clean.
9. Let cool a little bit and enjoy!

References[1-3] Mekonnen, M.M. and Hoekstra, A.Y. (2012) A global assessment of the water footprint of farm animal products, Ecosystems,15(3): 401–415. Found here:


  1. I just realized that you put footnote references in this post... You must have been in the height of disserting.. dissertating... whatever. lol