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Will you tell your family there is a vegetable in this Double Chocolate Zucchini Cake?
Double chocolate zucchini cake is a delicious way to get your family eating their vegetables. - photo by Shannon M. Smurthwaite
It's that time of the year when zucchini mysteriously appears on your doorstep or in the office break room, looking for a new home.

This seasonal, prolific summer squash can be prepared in a variety of creative ways stuffed, fried, baked, steamed, grilled, spiraled and shredded and can even be eaten raw. It contains folate, potassium and vitamin A and is a low-calorie food. The challenge, like other good-for-you food, is getting your family to consume it.

Zucchini for dessert rarely gets the attention of, well, most children. Add in chocolate, and maybe you have a chance to sneak vegetables into your family. What parent hasn't tried to outsmart their kids when it comes to eating a little healthier? Starting with a moist, chocolaty treat may convince them if you tell them. If.

So the next time someone offers you homegrown zucchini, think dessert and eagerly thank them for sharing their bounty.



Wet ingredients:

cup oil

2 large eggs, beaten

1 teaspoons vanilla

cup buttermilk

2 cups shredded zucchini, squeezed gently to remove water

Dry ingredients:

2 cups flour

1 cups sugar

teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

5 tablespoons cocoa

teaspoon cinnamon

Toppings: 2/3 cup semisweet or dark chocolate chips

Optional: cup chopped walnuts, pecans or sliced almonds to top chocolate chips

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Butter well a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish; set aside. Shred and gently squeeze the zucchini with a paper towel to absorb excess water; set aside.

In large mixing bowl, blend all wet ingredients as listed, adding in zucchini last. Stir.

In medium mixing bowl, place all dry ingredients. Blend well with fork. Transfer dry ingredients into large bowl. Mix to incorporate all flavors.

Pour batter into buttered baking dish and spread evenly. Top with chocolate chips and nuts, if desired. Bake 35-40 minutes in a 325-degree oven. Test for doneness, as altitude affects cooking time. Knife or cake tester should come out clean. Serving sizes depend on your cut portions.