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Spice up zucchini squash in zingerbread cake

Recipe: Add blueberries for a seasonal touch

Cake on plate
Zingerbread makes a fine dessert with blueberries in the cake and more berries alongside. (Photos: Kathy Morrison)

It's time to shake the dust off the zucchini recipe collection. A gardener's favorite squash is back in season.

We've had several good recipes on the blog already, including our two biggest hits: Chocolate zucchini bread and Zapped pickles.

But the plants are going to be producing for awhile, so we like to provide new options for The Squash That Keeps on Giving.

This recipe, adapted from " The Classic Zucchini Cookbook," brings together zucchini and gingerbread, which I usually associate with fall and winter. But add some blueberries to the mix, like I did, and it becomes a great picnic cake, a brunch offering or a vehicle to show off even more summer fruit. Whipped cream, ice cream, fruit sauce -- all good.

Zucchini squash
Two 8-inch zucchini will provide about 3 cups grated squash.
Zingerbread with blueberries
Serves 12
3 cups grated zucchini (from two 8-inch squash)
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
3 to 4 teaspoons ground ginger (it's quite spicy with 4)
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for pan
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses (light or dark)
2 eggs
1 cup hot brewed coffee
1 to 1-1/2 cups blueberries, washed, dried and tossed with 1/2 tablespoon flour
Powdered sugar, for garnish
To serve alongside, optional:
Whipped cream, vanilla ice cream, fresh berries or other fruit, applesauce, lemon sauce or any freshly made fruit sauce
Combine the grated zucchini and salt in a colander, stirring to mix. Set aside to drain for 30 minutes.
The grated zucchini drains for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9-by-13-inch baking pan.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, ginger, soda, cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg. Set aside.
Put the butter and light brown sugar in large mixing bowl. Cream the butter and sugar, then add the eggs one at a time, beating well until combined. Add the molasses and mix well. Don't worry if the mixture appears curdled.
Using a clean dish towel, squeeze the excess moisture from the drained zucchini, and add the squash to the bowl, blending just to combine. Add the flour mixture alternately with the coffee, mixing just until combined.
Gently fold in the flour-coated blueberries. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top.
Bake for 30 minutes, or until the top springs back when touched and a toothpick or thin knife inserted near the center comes out clean.
Cool the cake on a rack before cutting.
Sprinkle powdered sugar over cake. Cool the cake on a wire rack 10 minutes before cutting. Or let it cool completely and serve at room temperature.
Serve plain or with any of the suggested accompaniments.


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A recipe for preparing delicious meals from the bounty of the garden.


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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of Dec. 10:

Take advantage of these dry but crisp conditions. It’s time to get out the rake!

* Rake leaves away from storm drains and keep gutters clear.

* Fallen leaves can be used for mulch and compost. Chop up large leaves with a couple of passes with a lawn mower.

* Prune non-flowering trees and shrubs while they’re dormant. Without their foliage, trees are easier to prune.

* Rake and remove dead leaves and stems from dormant perennials.

* Make sure to take frost precautions with new transplants and sensitive plants. Mulch, water and cover tender plants in the late afternoon to retain warmth.

* Succulent plants are at particular risk if temperatures drop below freezing. Don’t water succulents before frost; cover instead. Use cloth sheets, not plastic. Make sure to remove coverings during the day.

* Clean and sharpen garden tools before storing for the winter.

* Brighten the holidays with winter bloomers such as poinsettias, amaryllis, calendulas, Iceland poppies, pansies and primroses.

* Keep poinsettias in a sunny, warm location. Water thoroughly. After the holidays, feed your plants monthly so they'll bloom again next December.

* Just because it rained doesn't mean every plant got watered. Give a drink to plants that the rain didn't reach, such as under eaves or under evergreen trees. Also, well-watered plants hold up better to frost than thirsty plants.

* Plant garlic (December's the last chance -- the ground is getting cold!) and onions for harvest in summer.

* Bare-root season begins. Plant bare-root berries, kiwifruit, grapes, artichokes, horseradish and rhubarb. Beware of soggy soil. It can rot bare-root plants.

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