I love when recipes have a story, whether it has been passed down from generation to generation or the story comes from a brand new memory formed. It's one of the beauties of creating in the kitchen. Whether you're the one creating the recipe or following the recipe, you're the one crafting a memory. That's one of the things I love most about food. Its ceaseless ability to bring us together and create memories, regardless of whether or not we can be physically together.
One of the nice things, for me, that has come out of lockdown is the opportunity I've taken to meet other cooks, bakers, bloggers, and food writers virtually. I've made some new "internet friends" that I can't wait to make my friends IRL and I've connected with IRL friends in whole new ways through our mutual love of food and photography. Today is no different. I jumped on the opportunity to join in on the #summerfunweekcollab2020 Summer Baking Series hosted by Monique of @peaches2peaches. Which brings me to my story on how I decided on this Orange Zucchini Bundt Cake.
I've had an abundance of zucchini and oranges for a week or so now and wasn't quite sure what I wanted to do with them, but kept thinking I'd try a paleo bread of some sort. Since I'm practicing my food photography skills to help bring you next level content along with my recipes, I decided against that because I don't love how cake breads photograph. It's really that simple. I have a bundt cake pan that was my Grandmother's so I figured, what the heck I'll try a bundt cake, it's the same recipe anyway just a different pan. As I was planing out the recipe and creating a story board for my shoot, I decided that I didn't want to develop my own recipe. I've been doing A LOT of recipe testing lately which is super time and labor intensive, and honestly I just wanted a little break. So, I took to Google in hopes that a far better baker than I had something I could pull inspiration from. Of course, you're probably able to guess who that far better baker is, but if you can't quite put your finger on it (I guess I am being pretty vague, there are lots of far better bakers!) it was none other than Ms. Martha Stewart.
I've had the pleasure of working with Martha personally on two separate occasions, ironically none of which have been during my food blogging career. My first encounter with Ms. Stewart was back in 2008 when I worked briefly in advertising in NYC. One of my clients was doing some major product placement on The Martha Stewart Show and I attended the taping that day with my team to ensure all went according to plan, which of course it did. My favorite memory I have of this day that was not in the plan, was the moment Martha fed me a bite of her blueberry pie upon which I nearly choked on mostly out of shock that "OMG Martha Stewart just stuck a fork in my mouth and wants to know what I think of this pie how is this happening right now?!" Of course she didn't want or need my approval but WOW what a moment that was!
My second encounter with Martha was when I made the transition into wardrobe styling about a year or so later. I was assisting on a shoot for Real Simple Magazine and she came by to say hello, check out what we were all up to, and just as quickly as she came, she left.
In my search of the perfect destiny for my oranges + zucchini, once I found her recipe for Zucchini Bundt Cake with Orange Glaze, I knew I needed to pull inspiration from her and do a remake while I relived these special memories. I translated Martha's version into a paleo friendly version, but decided to skip the glaze to keep things a little more gut friendly. I've been doing a whole lot of baking so it has been important that I keep things even cleaner so I'm not destroying my gut in the recipe testing process!
I'm so excited to share this with you + offer you one more clean and delicious treat you can make for yourself, friends, and family that it so much easier than it looks. If you're not into the bundt cake thing, that's OK. Pour the batter into a loaf pan or muffin tins, or get a little extra about it and add to a silicone donut mold.
P.S. I'm pretty sure Martha would approve of these remake photos too, what do you think?! If you make this recipe be sure to let me know how you like it in the comments!
1 1/2 sticks butter, melted
2 1/2 cups paleo flour (I used King Arthur Paleo Flour Blend)
1 1/2 cups coconut sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp clove
1/2 tsp cardamom
3 large eggs
2 medium zucchini
1/2 tsp grated orange zest
1 tbsp fresh orange juice
orange slices for garnish
Pre-heat oven to 325 and pre-grease bundt pan using butter or pan spray + line bottom with orange slices.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, spices, and salt
Over low heat, add butter to sauce pan and melt. DO NOT allow it to boil.
Grate zucchini using the large holes on the side of a box grater and transfer shreds to a clean kitchen towel.
Squeeze out excess water from zucchini.
In the bowl of a stand mixer (you can use a large bowl/whisk if you do not have a stand mixer) add eggs + sugar and beat until combined.
Add in melted butter, zucchini, orange zest + juice continuing to whisk to combine.
Gradually whisk in flour mixture until fully incorporated.
Transfer batter to bundt pan + bake for about 1 hour or until toothpick comes out clean.
Run knife around the edges to loosen, transfer to cooling rack and allow to cool for at least 30 minutes before serving.