1 lb/455 g zucchini, trimmed and coarsely grated
1 cup/200g packed dark or light brown sugar + 2 Tbsp
3/4 cup/180 ml ml extra-virgin olive oil + a little extra to grease the baking dish
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/4 cup/60 g plain, unsweetened yogurt
zest of 1 lemon
1 cup/140 g all-purpose flour
1 cup/140 g whole-wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 tsp ground green cardamom
8 pitted dates, chopped
1/2 cup/50 g sliced almonds
2 oz/55 g crystallized ginger
- Preheat the oven to 350F/180C.
- Place the zucchini in a large microwavable bowl and heat twice at 1-minute intervals. Toss with 2 Tbsp sugar and leave aside for 10 minutes. Squeeze the zucchini to obtain 1 cup/240 ml of liquid. Discard the liquid.
- While the zucchini sits with the sugar, grease and line an 8 in/20 cm loaf pan with a little olive oil and parchment paper.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk the 1 cup/200 g sugar, 3/4 cup/180 ml extra-virgin olive oil, eggs, yogurt, and lemon zest until combined.
- Dry whisk the flours, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cardamom in a medium bowl. Fold directly into the liquid mixture in the large bowl using a silicone spatula or wooden spoon. The batter will be slightly dry at this point, do not worry.
- Take 1/4 cup of this dry flour mix and add it to a small bowl with the dates, 1/4 cup/25 g almonds, and ginger. Using your fingers, rub the fruit and almonds with the flour to coat well.
- Add the drained zucchini and dried fruit and fold well. The batter will loosen up. Transfer to the prepared loaf tin and level the top with the spatula. Top with the remaining 1/4 cup/25 of almonds and 1 Tbsp of sugar. Bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean through the center of the cake, or the internal temperature reaches 200F/95C. Leave the cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Carefully remove the cake, peel and discard the parchment paper, and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Serve at room temperature. This bread will last for up to 4 days if stored in an airtight container at room temperature or 1 week if refrigerated.
- Do not extract more than 1 cup/240 ml of zucchini liquid or the bread will turn dry.
- Almond, walnut, and hazelnut oil are also great alternatives to olive oil and add different flavors.
- To reduce the sweetness of the bread, use 3/4 cup/150 g of brown sugar.
- I prefer the earthier taste of dark brown sugar, jaggery also works great here. You can also use regular superfine/caster sugar.
- Both skin-on and blanched sliced almonds work well here.
- Feel free to experiment with the combination of dried fruit and nuts in this recipe. Dried apricots, orange peel, hazelnuts, macadamias, etc. are all fantastic options.
- You don’t need to do the topping of almonds and brown sugar for the cake (I skipped it in the video to show you the difference) but it adds an extra layer of texture and sweetness. If you skip the topping, use 1/2 cup/50 g of sliced almonds in the batter (there’s no need to add the 1 Tbsp of sugar).