Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Zucchini Cake (just another day in Russia)

After visiting a monastery yesterday, we went to a friend's house for lunch. This is Baba Zeena's backyard. It is FULL of gorgeous flowers and probably the best produce in the world.
3-year-old, not at all overwhelmed
Sunflowers, compost bin, rusty barrel

Cabbage patch with melons hanging in the background
Zucchini the size of the Russian spouse's forearm
What does one do with such bounty? Baba Zeena fries the zucchini in lots of butter and oil, and it's delicious. I decided to shred the zucchini and bake it into a cake. I ran into some obstacles: among other things, I had to convert the gas oven settings to find approximately 350 degrees farenheit, and I could only find one measuring implement in my MIL's apartment: a 500 ml cup. The cinnamon smells different here, and the baking vanilla is in powder form.
The oven: note the Turkish coffee pot

It turns out that "3" is about 325 and "4" is about 350
But I was determined to surprise my MIL who was very skeptical about the American custom of baking with zucchini. I used Smitten Kitten's recipe for zucchini bread.

random image of child with bucket of purple gooseberries
Fortunately MIL remembered where she had stashed the cake tin she apparently never uses and dug it out for me. Here are some of the ingredients, including eggs fresh from the village, the powdered vanilla, and the weird cinnamon.
Even if one had not been baking under the influence of wine, the cake batter might have seemed too green, yes?
The cake baked a little longer than I expected (unfamiliar oven, unfamiliar ingredients), but it came out of the spring form pan perfectly. The crust (now on the bottom) is lovely and crusty, and the cake inside is moist enough. Overall, I am pretty satisfied with my attempts to bake here.

Breakfast: zucchini cake with plum