8.23.2010

Orange Zucchini Cake

Orange Zucchini Cake
1 1/2 cups canola oil
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1/4 cup orange liqueur, such as Grand Marnier
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 cups coarsely grated peeled zucchini
1 cup chopped, toasted pecan halves
1 cup chopped dates
Orange Cream Cheese Frosting (see recipe below)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat a 13-x 9- x 2-inch baking pan with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat oil and sugar together until well blended. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add orange liqueur, orange zest and vanilla extract and mix well.
Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Add to the mixing bowl all at once and beat at low speed until just incorporated. Stir in zucchini, pecans and dates. Batter will be thick.
Dump the batter into the prepared baking pan and spread evenly. Bake in preheated 350-degree oven for 35 to 40 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Spread frosting on cooled cake. Yields 12 to 15 servings.
Orange Cream Cheese Frosting
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
3 to 3 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar
2 tablespoons orange liqueur, such as Grand Marnier
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Beat butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer in a large bowl until smooth. Add powdered sugar and remaining ingredients. Beat until frosting is smooth.
Tips from Sue Doeden
--Raisins or dried cranberries are nice alternatives to the dates.
--Toast pecan halves on a baking sheet in a preheated 350-degree oven for about 8 minutes or until fragrant. Cool before using.
--If you don’t care to use orange liqueur in the cake and frosting, use frozen orange juice concentrate that has been thawed
--This cake freezes well. Once the cake has cooled completely, cover tightly and store in freezer for up to a month.
--The zest of an orange is the thin, colored part of the skin. Avoid the white bitter pith just beneath the thin zest.
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