We don’t have an eiruv in my community, which means that once you have a baby, you are stuck at home for Shabbos until your baby can walk! So getting invited out for Shabbos (to sleep over) is a real treat! A few weeks ago, my good friend Rivka, a shlucha in Long Island City, invited us, and we were more than happy to accept. Rivka’s mother is Moroccan and her family is in the restaurant business, so it is no surprise that she knows how to cook! She make some traditional Moroccan foods, but her table is a kaleidoscope of different cuisines.
Rivka is not only a good cook, but a very practical one. Instead of three courses on a late Friday night, she serves one. She made mini pumpkin muffins which she served at breakfast, for snack, and in a cupcake tree along with the Shabbos meal. Pumpkin cake is moist and dense, so it lends itself well to be served as a kugel. I myself have served it that way many times.
My kids were head over heels for the mini cupcakes (kids love anything mini, don’t they? maybe because it’s more their size!) so last week, I purchased a mini muffin pan, and went to work on some muffins for the kids. I’ve mentioned before how I’m not the biggest baker, and it has a lot to do with the fact that cake is just so unhealthy. When I see myself throwing white flour, sugar and oil into a bowl, I think to myself, “Am I really going to put THAT into my mouth?” Not that it tastes bad, cake is delicious. And I do buy it on occasion. It’s easier when I don’t see how it’s made (even though I know it’s full of junk). So, I justify this recipe by reminding myself that it’s filled with zucchini, a vegetable :)
Feel free to make this cake in a bundt pan, it is absolutely delicious any way you bake it. You can make a zucchini bread in loaf pans, or larger cupcakes which you are free to frost with a maple cream cheese frosting!
NOTE: When I make these, I like to shred double the amount of zucchini and freeze half for the next time. Just thaw the zucchini in a strainer and press down with a paper towel to squeeze out excess water.
Mini Zucchini Muffins
2 cups sugar
1 cup canola oil
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1-2 tsp cinnamon (depending how cinnamony you like it)
1 tsp salt
2 cups grated zucchini, unpeeled
chopped walnuts (optional)
Whisk sugar, oil, eggs, and vanilla together. In a separate bowl, mix the dry ingredients. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and fold in the zucchini. For mini muffins, bake at 350 for 18 minutes. For a loaf or bundt pan, bake for 45 minutes – 1 hour, until toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Rivka’s Pumpkin Cake
These work extremely well in mini muffins because they are more dense but still very moist. When I called Rivkah for the recipe, it turned out to be nearly identical to mine (hers called for just 1/2 tsp more of the baking soda and powder).
I have made these to serve as a kugel, filling muffin tins with the batter, and adding a tsp of blueberry pie filling in the center (I happen to have a picture of it because I had made them on my anniversary Shabbos, and as luck would have it, the blueberry pie filling turned out as a heart in one of them, so I served it to my husband and told him I made it that way on purpose!)
2 cups sugar
1 cup oil
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
2 cups flour
1 15oz. can pumpkin (not pie filling)
chocolate chips (optional)
Whisk sugar, oil and eggs together. In a separate bowl, mix the dry ingredients. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and fold in the pumpkin. For mini muffins, bake at 350 for 18 minutes. For a loaf or bundt pan, bake for 45 minutes – 1 hour, until toothpick inserted comes out clean.
NOTE: If you’d like to make this as a kugel, and you feel it’s too cakey, you can double the amount of pumpkin (either by using 2 cans, or by using 1 and halving the batter ingredients). Adjust baking time accordingly.