Zucchini loaf is one of my favourite baked goods because it is positively delectable. There’s no two ways about it. Plus, I also pass it off as healthy. To be fair, I make my zucchini loaf with twice the amount of zucchini usually used in other recipes, so it is kind of healthy… right?!
Anyway, this loaf was inspired by a bag of pre-mixed “masala tea” spices I picked up a while ago and couldn’t decide what to do with, and a zucchini from my CSA share that was so big, it gave me four cups of grated vegetable. It was massive! I should have snapped a picture.
So of course, I made a batch big enough for two loaves, and put chocolate chips in one of them (after foolishly wondering if I should on my Twitter and receiving indignant replies from my friends).
The masala chai spice mix is more complex than the usual cinnamon-and-lots-of-nutmeg combo I use in my zucchini loaf, but it is also more subdued, so I added a bit of extra cinnamon and ground ginger for good measure. If you can’t find a ready-made chai mix, see below for my version of it. You can use this spice mix in other baked goods or to make your own chai tea at home, instead of using barely spicy, overly sweetened mixes.
The loaf has a nice spicy little kick to it, is sweet and moist, and with the yoghurt part-substitution (which could easily be traded off for apple sauce for a dairy free version), it’s not too high in fat either. What more could you want?
I’m not going to lie… I preferred the regular loaf to the chocolate chip one. I know, I know — I’m a chocolate fiend and I was shocked that I enjoyed the plain one more. I think I wanted to taste the spiciness of the masala mix the most, and the chocolate got in the way of that. However, both versions of the loaf are fantastic, so you really can’t go wrong!
Chai Spiced Zucchini Loaf
for two loaves or 24 muffins
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup plain low-fat yoghurt or apple sauce (for the dairy free version of the loaf)
1 2/3 cups sugar
4 cups grated zucchini (about 3 to 4 regular-sized zucchini)
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups all purpose flour
6 tsp chai spice mix
3 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips for one loaf; 1 1/2 cups for both
To make your own chai spice mix:
1 tsp allspice, 2 tsp ginger, 1 tsp nutmeg, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp ground cloves
1. Grate your mountain of zucchini.
2. Preheat your oven to 350º. Grease and flour two loaf pans or line two muffin pans with paper liners. (Or, if you work in a totally understocked kitchen like me, bake one loaf at a time with your sad single pan.)
3. In a large bowl, beat the eggs. Add the sugar, yoghurt, and oil, and beat until fully incorporated. Add the vanilla, then the zucchini.
4. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, spice mix, cinnamon, ginger, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix to combine the ingredients thoroughly, then add to the wet mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until fully incorporated.
5. Pour the batter into the lined muffin pans or loaf pans and place in the oven. For muffins, check after 20 minutes — they should be done between 20 and 25 minutes. For the loaves, check after 45 minutes, but be prepared to let them bake for up to an hour. They will be ready when a toothpick inserted into the centre of the muffin or loaf comes out clean.
6. Allow the loaves to cool for at least 10 minutes before removing them from the pan.
Fun fact: halfway through baking these loaves, I realized I didn’t have enough flour for two recipes, so I substituted the rest of the flour for some random organic pancake mix I had lying around. Just goes to show that you can improvise when you bake and still have awesome results!