The title of this recipe is a lie.
Well, kind of. That’s a big dramatic, but I must admit that the star ingredient in the loaf you see pictured is actually marrow squash, not zucchini. The two are closely related, and I have made this recipe with regular old zucchini before, but I received an enormous marrow squash in my CSA basket this week and decided it was fit for baking.
In my books, if zucchini or other summer squash are more than a couple of inches across, they are designated for baking rather than general consumption. I find once they get too big, they become stringy and mushy when cooked and I don’t enjoy the texture. Marrow squash has a fairly thick skin that should be removed, and a fair number of seeds and spongy membrane in the centre that need to be scraped out. What’s left is perfect for shredding and baking into muffins, brownies, or loaves.
This is a classic zucchini loaf recipe that I’ve made many times. It bakes up perfectly soft, luscious and cake-like, with just a hint of cinnamon in every bite. It’s my favourite when it’s fresh out of the oven, when the crust is still crunchy and the tender insides are warm enough to melt the copious amount of butter I’ve slathered on top.
The first time I made this recipe, I was a bit alarmed at how thick the batter was and how it didn’t seem to fill up the 9×5-inch pan. Fear not! It rises an incredible amount and produces a perfect loaf every single time.
This is a fantastic use for the plentiful zucchini I’m sure you’re all harvesting from your backyard garden, or for those gigantic, overgrown squash being thrust upon you by well-meaning neighbours, family and friends. You can have your cake and eat your vegetables all at once!
- 2 cups peeled, seeded, and grated zucchini or marrow squash (about 1 large or 2 small)
- 1 and ½ cups sugar
- ¾ cup butter, melted
- 3 large eggs
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¾ cup chopped pecans
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9x5-inch loaf pan and set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine butter and sugar. Beat and add eggs one at a time.
- In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. With the mixer running, gradually add this mixture to the wet ingredients just until blended. Fold in zucchini/squash, pecans and vanilla. Batter will be quite thick.
- Spoon batter into prepared pan and smooth into an even layer. Bake until the bread pulls away from the sides of the pan and a tester inserted in the centre comes out nearly clean, about 60-75 minutes. Remove from pan and cool on a wire rack before serving.
- Will keep covered at room temperature for 2-3 days.
Source: Adapted from The Essential New York Times Cookbook by Amanda Hesser (Shirley Estabrook Wood’s Zucchini Bread recipe)