Zucchini Maple Pecan Cake – In Honor of Maine Maple Syrup

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.

Zucchini Maple Pecan Cake

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

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



Braised Short Ribs

Maine Maple Sunday was this weekend and it got me thinking about all of the fabulous things you can make with maple syrup.  This is one of my favorites, as are the Maple Scones in the previous post.  We've now got a collection of maple syrup from around the state and will be doing an in house tasting in the near future.  I'll post as soon as the results are in.

Braised Short Ribs
The crock pot is your friend when cooking these ribs.  The kitchen won’t get too hot and you can start it in the morning and have it for dinner without much fuss.  We had them with friends on a Friday night after work.  If you’d like to save this recipe for the fall, they are a great way to warm up the kitchen and the house when cooked in a stockpot!

1/2 cup peeled and sliced fresh ginger
8 cloves garlic
1/2 cup red wine
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons coriander
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne
2 teaspoons ground dried ginger
1 1/2 teaspoon allspice
1 1/2 teaspoon fresh black pepper
1/4 cup canola oil
3/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons dried thyme
2 tablespoons salt
6 pounds beef short ribs, bone in
4 cups low-salt beef broth

Combine all marinade ingredients with the short ribs in a non reactive pan and cover for at least 24 hours and up to 1 week. 

When ready to prepare:
Crock-pot:  place the ribs, marinade juice and beef broth in a crock pot and cook on low heat for 8 hours or until tender. 

Stock Pot:  place the ribs, marinade juice and beef broth in an 8-quart or larger stock pot.  Simmer on medium-low heat until tender, 2 1/2 hours.

Au Jus:
Drain the juice from the either the crock-pot or stockpot.  Skim the fat off the top and reserve liquid.  Strain through a sieve and adjust for seasoning.  

Serves 6

Darn it, now I'm hungry!

© 2009 Anne Mahle