Zucchini Cream Cheese Bundt Cake

Yum

Summer is a time of glorious fresh garden produce.  Farmer’s markets brim with gorgeous fruits and vegetables, just begging to be brought home to be whipped into fresh garden salsa or thrown into crisp, vibrant salads.  And as the summer goes on, there is one vegetable that just seems to crop up more often than even juicy political scandal: the humble zucchini.

I have said before, and I say it again– that when I grew up in PA, the only time folks locked their doors was in the summer, so people wouldn’t “helpfully” sneak a box of zucchini into the backseat during church.  Thankfully, this sweet little vegetable can be worked into almost anything to add a little extra nutrition, and as it turns out, a gorgeous cream cheese filled bundt cake topped with drool-worthy cinnamon glaze is just what the doctor ordered to take a bite out of your summer bumper crop. 😉

What are we waiting for?  Let’s do this!

Zucchini Cream Cheese Bundt Cake

(adapted from Southern Living)

Cake Ingredients:

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup white sugar

1 cup vegetable oil

3 eggs, room temperature

2 tsp. vanilla

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1 tbsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. cardamom

1/4 tsp. clove

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

3 cups all purpose flour

2 small zucchini, grated

Cream Cheese Filling Ingredients:

1 (8 oz.) box of cream cheese, softened to room temperature

1/4 cup white sugar

1 egg, room temperature

2 tbsp. flour

1 tsp. vanilla

Cinnamon Glaze (optional)

1 cup powdered sugar

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

2 tbsp. milk

Directions:

It helps to make the cream cheese layer first and set it aside.  Cream together softened cream cheese and white sugar until light and fluffy with no lumps.  Add in egg, flour, and vanilla and mix well.  Set cream cheese mixture aside and begin mixing cake.

To make cake, mix together white and brown sugar and oil until well mixed.  Mix in eggs and vanilla; beat until combined.  Add in baking power, salt, baking soda, and spices; mix.  Slowly add in flour, and then stir in grated zucchini.

Coat the interior of a 10 cup bundt pan with equal parts flour, shortening, and oil (keep this mixture in the fridge– it’s a dream for “releasing” bundts.  😉  Place half of your cake batter into the pan, and then pour the cream cheese mixture on top.  Top cream cheese with rest of cake batter and bake at 350 degrees for 60-65 minutes until golden brown and cake passes toothpick test.

*Note: since all zucchini are a slightly different size, make sure your batter has about 1.5 inches of “leeway” to the top of the pan. If you have a little extra batter, make a few zucchini muffins instead of overflowing your cake.  🙂

Now, in pictures.  🙂

I love bundt pans.  I have a sweet friend who always sends me gorgeous bundt pants, and each one has a unique personality.  Some let the cake out with just butter and flour.  Some hold onto their cargo with the fierceness of a pirate clutching his stolen pirate booty. 😉  Recently, in our cake chats, the same friend mentioned a fool proof recipe for “pan grease,” which is supposedly what pastry chefs use to keep even the most clingy of cakes from sticking.  It’s so easy to make, and I bet once you try it you’ll never use anything else again to keep your cakes slippin’ and trippin’.  😉

And this “pan grease” is . . . ready?  Equal parts shortening, flour, and vegetable oil. That’s it.  Whirl this together in the bowl of your stand mixer, and put it in the container in the fridge. Voila.  The perfect “desticker” for all your cake pans. Let me show you.

Once you have your shortening, oil, and flour mixed together, you will have kind of a goopy looking paste.  Use a pastry brush to apply this grease to all cracks, crevices, and center posts of the bundt pan you are using.  Stick the bundt in the fridge while you mix up the cake.  And put the rest of your “pan grease” in the fridge.  Use it for all your cakes, and you’ll never have a cake stick, again.  😉

When your pan is nice and ready to rumble, cream together your room temperature cream cheese and white sugar until it’s nice and light and fluffy with no lumps.  Ahhhh isn’t that gorgeous. Letting your cream cheese out at room temperature just helps it to whip up better.  Cold cream cheese is HAARD to mix.  Don’t ask me how I know this.  *slides lumpy cream pie awkwardly under the table.  😉

Next, add in your egg, flour, and vanilla.  I like to beat in the wet ingredients, stop the mixer, and then scrape down the sides of the bowl, before giving it one more quick mix. That just helps to make sure that all the cream cheese gets mixed in.

Set the cream cheese aside and start working on the CAKKKKKEEEEE.  😉  Start out by mixing together your sugars and oil.  Whirl that around in there a little bit. Therrrrreeee you go.  You’re so smart. I love working with you.  😉

Next, mix in your eggs and vanilla, and beat until combined.  Think deep thoughts.  Dance around the kitchen.  I won’t tell anyone.  You’re the boss of your kitchen universe, and you should dance if you want to.  I’m pretty sure that’s a law somewhere.  “Thou shalt dance while making cake.”

Then add in the baking power, salt, baking soda, and spices.  I like to whirl the mixer a few times just to make sure the spices get incorporated into all of the batter. Slowly add in your flour.

Finally, stir in your grated zucchini.  I used about 2 small zucchinis for this recipe– no need to exactly measure. Just eyeball it.  Shred those suckers with a food processor and throw ’em in there. 😉

Next comes the most fun part (well, other than EATING, of course, which I guess would be the most fun part, if you want to get technical).  Take your bundt pan (that has been greased up with our pan grease and is waiting patiently in the fridge, just chillin’ . . .

Pour in half of your zucchini batter, and then pour on the cream cheese carefully. Then top with the rest of your zucchini batter.

*Note: all “zucchini” are different sizes.  I like to keep my batter about 1.5 inches away from the top of the pan, since the cake will rise during baking.  If your pan can’t hold the batter without that safe distance, then scoop a little batter out and make a few muffins. 😉  We don’t want your cake to overflow. 😉

 

Zucchini Cream Cheese Bundt Cake

Bake your cake (on a cookie sheet– just in case of spills 😉 for 60-65 minutes at 350 degrees, until the cake springs back lightly when touched.  Let it sit for 5 minutes out of the oven, until the cake starts to pull away from the sides of the bundt pan.

Zucchini Cream Cheese Bundt Cake

And then, after that agonizingly long 5 minutes, gently pull the cake away from the sides of the pan, to loosen it.  Put your cooling rack upside down on the cake and flip everything over.  And hopefully, if you used the “pan grease” trick, you will hear a satisfying “thud” as the cake drops effortlessly onto the cooling rack, revealing your flawless masterpiece.  Go ahead and whisk together your cinnamon glaze ingredients and drizzle over the finished cake when it cools. You’re so cool, glazing and flipping bundt cakes over like a boss. Seriously.

Zucchini Cream Cheese Bundt Cake

When your cake is completely cool (ok– MOSTLY cool, because it smells amazing in here and frankly, I can’t wait any longer to dig into this little beauty), cut some nice, cheesecake-marbled slices. That divine cream cheese layer!  That spicy fragrance wafting from the cake!  That drool-worthy cinnamon glaze!

Just remember. It contains zucchini so it’s really just eating your vegetables.  Makes sense to me. 😉

You did it. And I’m just so proud of you.


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