This Valentines Day combine healthy and sweet to bake a chocolate zucchini loaf that will make all your loved ones happy. By substituting healthy ingredients in baking recipes you can enjoy your favorite desserts without the guilt and have the nutrition benefits to. The healthy ingredients I like to bake with are:
100% cocoa powder: Contains good sources of magnesium, niacin, potassium, copper, and manganese. Cocoa powder is rich in antioxidants, polyphenols, and flavonoids. Cocoa powder is anti-inflammatory, helps to decrease cancer risk, heart disease, and insulin resistance and may help to prevent depression and cognitive decline.
Zucchini: A good source of vitamin C and A, potassium, folate, and fiber. The green skin is rich in antioxidants that help protect the body from free-radical cell damage. Zucchini contains both soluble and insoluble fiber helping to support a healthy digestive system.
Maple syrup: In this recipe I reduced and replaced part of the sugar with maple syrup. It has a lower glycemic index compared to cane sugar and brown sugar. Maple syrup is rich in antioxidants and calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, copper, and manganese.
Grape seed oil: Is from the seeds that remain from making wine. It is flavorless and does not alter the taste in foods compared to other oils making it ideal as a replacement to butter in baking recipes. Grape seed oil is high in phenolic antioxidants and a good source of vitamin E, is anti-inflammatory, helps lower cholesterol and insulin resistance.
Spices: Add flavor, color, and fragrance without adding fat and sugar. Dried spices have many health benefits supporting digestive health, reducing inflammation, and preventing cell damage.
Chocolate Zucchini Loaf with a Raspberry Butter Cream Frosting
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup grape seed oil
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup buttermilk
- 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
- 1 cup shredded unpeeled zucchini
- 1 2/3 cup all purpose white flour (sifted)
- 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9 by 5 inch loaf pan with baking spray and line with parchment paper for easy removal of the cake after baking.
- In a medium bowl whisk together sifted flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cardamon, and allspice. Set aside.
- On medium speed with an electric or standup mixer beat butter and sugar until smooth, add grape seed oil and maple syrup and continue beating until light and fluffy about 3-4 minutes.
- Add vanilla extract, then eggs one at a time until well blended.
- Whisk buttermilk and espresso powder together.
- On slow speed gradually add flour mixture alternately with buttermilk starting and ending with flour mixture.
- Gently by hand with a spatula mix in the shredded zucchini until well distributed.
- Transfer to a prepared loaf pan.
- Bake for 45 to 48 minutes until lightly springs back. Cool in pan for 15 minutes before removing to a cooling rack. Once cooled frost if desired.
Raspberry Buttercream Frosting
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
- 2/3 cup of powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons of heavy whipping cream or half and half cream
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 teaspoons of seedless raspberry preserves
With an electric mixer beat unsalted butter until light and fluffy, gradually add the powdered sugar . Add the vanilla and cream and continue beating. Then add 1 teaspoon at a time the raspberry preserves beating until well blended and smooth.