This cake, like many delightful life events, came to me by accident. You see, it’s maple syrup time here in Maine and many of our friends with maple trees are boiling their sap. Their weekends are taken by all-day boils and then sometimes even staying up late to tend the wood fires. They are surrounded by steam, wood smoke, and enveloped eventually with the ultimate reward of sweet maple syrup.
We don’t have maple trees on our property, so this is not a family ritual for us, but to honor our friends and the heritage of Maine maple syrup, I wanted to create a cake without sugar and to replace it with maple syrup. While I was at it, the idea of using coconut oil, a healthier oil than canola or vegetable oil nudged its way into my process.
This lovely number is delicious, if a tad less moist than the original cake. I then conjured a glaze with a maple liqueur, given to me by a favorite Canadian guest, and the results were addictive.
Zucchini Maple Pecan Cake
1 teaspoon salted butter and flour for the pan
3 large eggs, beaten
1 cup coconut oil
1 cup pure maple syrup
2 cups grated zucchini; about 1 medium (or a portion of a huge one)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon table salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans
3 tablespoons salted butter, melted
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons Gélinotte or other maple liquor
Preheat oven to 325°F. Butter and flour one 9- x 13-inch pan. In a large bowl thoroughly mix the oil, maple syrup, zucchini, and vanilla extract. Add all the remaining ingredients. Mix well. Transfer to prepared pan.
Bake 35 to 45 minutes or until the cake springs back when lightly pressed.
Combine the butter, syrup, and liquor in a small bowl and while the cake is still warm, brush the top with the glaze mixture. It may seem like a lot at the beginning, but it will soak in (and be delicious). Cool in the pan and slice into 12 or 16 pieces.
Serves 12 to 16