Edna Staebler: Chocolate zucchini cake

This last summer I had a bit of a mania for looking for old-school cookbooks in secondhand shops. My rules were simple; I was not allowed to buy any books that:

  • depend on name recognition to sell (i.e. no celebrity chefs or bloggers);
  • were published to promote a product or brand; or
  • capitalized on a food trend or diet.

It’s pretty surprising how few books were left over after that, which suits my lack of shelf space just fine.

I found a faded and well-used copy of Edna Staebler’s second book, Schmecks Appeal, in a thrift store in Edmonton earlier this year, and the title amused me so much that I had to have it. It turns out that she wasn’t just a random person collating the recipes of Waterloo-area Mennonite women, either — according to the Wikipedia entry for her, she won a respectable set of literary, journalistic, and other awards, including the Order of Canada, and also founded the Edna Staebler Award for creative non-fiction.

All of the above wasn’t on my mind when I pulled out her recipe to use up a zucchini roughly the length and girth of my entire lower leg; I just saw a welcome way to avoid wasting home-grown vegetables. That said, I’m a little tickled that this humble recipe has such a distinguished author.

Print Recipe
Chocolate Zucchini Cake (adapted from Edna Staebler's Schmecks Appeal)
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
11x17 cake
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
11x17 cake
  1. Grease and flour an 11"x7" brownie pan or equivalent (7.5" diameter bundt pan or 8"x4" loaf pan) and preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, mix eggs, oil, sugar, salt, and vanilla extract until blended.
  3. In a smaller bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and cocoa powder, then mix it into the wet mixture.
  4. Stir in zucchini and nuts.
  5. Pour mixture into prepared pan and bake around 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  6. Cool a few minutes in pan, then turn cake out onto a rack to cool completely (if intending to frost), or onto a serving plate to serve still warm as is.
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