Gluten-Free Chocolate-Zucchini Bundt Cake
Simple, easy, delicious, incredibly moist, AND (slightly) more healthy than your average chocolate cake? Nice, very nice. Also, perfect for these dog days of summer when you want a treat, but don't want to fuss too much, this cake is fantastic with a nice cold scoop of plant-based ice cream. Did I also mention it meets dairy-free, egg free, soy-free, gluten-free needs (and of course, it's vegan so animal-free needs!)? Genius!
My family adores this cake; especially when we see nice big fat zucchini's at the store. I always grab several for both savory (for several of recipes with zucchini found HERE), and sweet (like this one, or my Citrus Zucchini and Carrot Quick Bread). Yes, the end of summer may be dogged for heat, humidity or drought, but using up the wealth of summer harvests can be a joy amidst the August sun.
Sustainability Spotlight: Speaking of drought, how many of you know that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administrating (NOAA) stats as of early August this year, have the following drought percentages: "...43.16% of the U.S. and 51.39% of the lower 48 states are in drought." (NOAA.org). "130.8 Million people in the U.S...are affected by drought..." which increased by 7.5% from the prior week and over 10% from the prior month. Compare that data from 2020's NASA Earth Observatory data where only "one-third of the country (was) experiencing at least a moderate level of drought...(and only) an estimated 53 million people (were) living in drought-affected areas," and we have to consider the differentials in just two years ago.
By, the way, The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is a US governmental agency that employs almost 7,000 scientists and engineers dedicated to studying and monitoring our evolving planet focusing on provision of daily weather forecasts, storm warnings, climate monitoring, and fisheries management, coastal restoration and supporting marine commerce.
So, what causes drought (which by definition is already a comparative - a period of drier than normal conditions that results in water-related problems)? While precipitation amounts vary from season to season and year to year, over a period of years, the average amount is fairly consistent. When that average is low, there is a conditional response from the soils in the immediate area of the drought; stream flows decline, water levels in lakes and reservoirs fall, and depth to water in water wells increases (maybe past our ability to extract) (www.usgs.gov).
Now, consider the following from the article on USGS.gov on "What are the long-term effects of climate change?" and further focus where I have entered the text as bold.
"Below are some of the regional impacts of global change forecast by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change:
North America: Decreasing snowpack in the western mountains; 5-20 percent increase in yields of rain-fed agriculture in some regions; increased frequency, intensity and duration of heat waves in cities that currently experience them.
Latin America: Gradual replacement of tropical forest by savannah in eastern Amazonia; risk of significant biodiversity loss through species extinction in many tropical areas; significant changes in water availability for human consumption, agriculture and energy generation.
Europe: Increased risk of inland flash floods; more frequent coastal flooding and increased erosion from storms and sea level rise; glacial retreat in mountainous areas; reduced snow cover and winter tourism; extensive species losses; reductions of crop productivity in southern Europe.
Africa: Between 75 and 250 million people are projected to be exposed to increased water stress; yields from rain-fed agriculture could be reduced by up to 50 percent in some regions; agricultural production, including access to food, may be severely compromised.
Asia: Freshwater availability projected to decrease in Central, South, East and Southeast Asia by the 2050s; coastal areas will be at risk due to increased flooding; death rate from disease associated with floods and droughts expected to rise in some regions."
Now, consider the following articles recently from the world:
From UNICEF in April 2022:
From the United Nations (published just a few days apart in May this year):
World ‘at a crossroads’ as droughts increase nearly a third in a generation
More than 75% of the world could face drought by 2050, UN report warns
From Reuters in June 2022:
From NASA Earth Observatory in July 2022 (you know, before the bodies started showing up about a week ago; only 1 month later):
Just two days ago in the NY Times (August 2022):
Have you realized it yet? Do you see what we have been and continue to do is NOT working? Drought is killing our planet, and climate change is HERE when you look at affects of climate change on water specifically. The Drought is a symptom globally of Climate change. With water being our most precious resource,, we can't afford to ignore the connections here. Without water, life on this planet simply does.not.exist; fact, not drama. We have taken the availability of water for granted all these years, and now, we are confused at seeing the repercussions of our climate change impacts on this world?
Do you believe climate change has happened now? It's not happening like we can stop what we did already, it happened, and now we can choose to stop contributing to it further.
If you are reading this, you can do something about it! You can make every attempt at being more sustainable. Go vegan (even if just part time for now!) to move away from animal-based food that requires a lot of water to raise, clean, disinfect, process, and provide en masse. Save water resources, by cutting down on your water consumption, recycling boiled water for food consumption to water plants, and don't take this planet for granted any longer. If we are to survive into the next generations as a species, we must face the global crises that are already here and take responsibility for what did, but also for what we can do as humans to be better.
Think about how you can do better; be better while having this cake and realize that some of the things we enjoy now, may be available in the future if we don't change tactics. Maybe (because it's that good!) consider making this your "normal" cake vs. a conventional one with animal ingredients forever after.
1.75 cups oat flour
1.25 cups almond flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
3/4 cup plant-based creamer (any kind but this is exceptional with caramel almond milk )
1/2 cup avocado oil
1 tsp vanilla paste
1 large zucchini (finely grated)
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large bowl, whisk together all Dry Ingredients above
In a large measuring cup, whisk together all Wet Ingredients above
Add Wet Ingredients to Dry Ingredients - Note, you will have a very thick batter at this point - that's okay! Don't overmix and proceed to Step 5 for the "magic" to happen.
Finely grate your zucchini into your batter mixture; stir to incorporate fully. The batter should have smoothed out and will have lightened in color to a very "pale" shade of chocolate cake.
Spray a bundt pan liberally with cooking spray and pour batter into the pan. Tap lightly on the counter to distribute evenly and pull any large air bubbles from the batter.
Slide pan into oven and bake for ~45-50 minutes. Cake is done when a toothpick (hopefully reusable!) is inserted and comes out "dry" with a few crumbs clinging.
Now (and this is SUPER important), let your cake cool completely in the pan on a wire rack (like an hour or two). Place a dinner plate (width larger than your bundt pan) on top of your cake. Flip upside down. Your cake should come right out (and whole); but if not, give it a few swift taps to release.
Serve slices with plant-based vanilla ice cream or plain for an easy and amazingly secretly healthy(ish) dessert!
With love & hope for a better future for all of us - Jamie