Chocolate Zucchini Cake – What a Batter!

I have a confession to make – I am a batter taster.

I love those moments just after the cake pan is put into the oven, when the empty bowl beckons. The kids have absconded with the mixer paddle, which they have licked clean and left somewhere around the apartment, where I will have to fetch it in a few minutes. But for the moment, I am left standing at the counter next to the sink scavenging the Kitchen Aid stainless steel mixing bowl.

My technique is to use the thumb side of the pointer finger, trying to get as much as possible with one swipe as I run it across the bottom and around the rim of the bowl. I lick the batter from my fingers with abandon and without shame, going for every last bit of loveliness I can find. Towards the end, I often have to resort to using the red rubber spatula, but somehow this does not bring the same satisfaction as the finger swipe.

When it becomes clear that I have gotten all I can get without resorting to licking the bowl itself (that would be going too far), I reluctantly let go of the bowl, dropping it into the soapy water in the sink as I imagine that I am Rose, prying Jacks’ frozen fingers from mine and releasing him into the icy blackness alongside the sunken Titanic.

Rules for Batter Eating

As you might expect, there are certain rules for batter eating. This lends to the act a sacredness shared by other religious dietary laws. First, one must wait until the entire batter is made. Baking is chemisty, and early tasting risks upsetting the delicate balance of ingredients in the final product. Just try telling this to your daughter as she reaches into the bowl for a clump of brown sugar and butter you have just creamed while making chocolate chip cookies…

Secondly, one must limit oneself to small amounts of batter, since removing too much for tasting risks not having enough final product to fill the pan. As you might expect, this sets up great personal conflict, and I often feel the inner struggle as I use the rubber spatula to get the last bits of batter into the cake pan, knowing that in doing so, I am leaving less for myself to taste later. (Ah, sweet turmoil!)

Finally, batter is not something to be eaten in anything other than small amounts – some would say not at all – and most certainly not if you are pregnant or immuno-suppressed, since, after all, eating raw eggs risks salmonella. I must say, however, that in almost half a century of licks I have yet to become ill.

You can judge a cake by its batter

I truly believe that one can judge a cake by its batter. In fact, I can say with confidence that if I don’t love a cake uncooked, I won’t like it when it’s finished – so I might as well not waste the energy baking it up. Which reminds me of a tongue twister my mother taught me as a child –
Betty Batter bought some butter.
“But”, she said, “this butter’s bitter!”
“When I put it in my batter,
It makes all my batter bitter.”
So, she bought some better butter
and put it in the bitter batter,
to make the bitter batter better.

If you are a batter taster, you’re going to love making this Chocolate Zucchini cake, which comes from a recipe I found at Alpineberry, who got it from the King Arthur Flour Website. I don’t even care that I didn’t win her King Arthur Cookbook giveaway. This batter is prize enough.

Oh, right. The baked cake was lovely.

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Everyone loves this cake! (But did they taste the batter?)

17 Responses to Chocolate Zucchini Cake – What a Batter!

  1. We (my kids and I) always taste the batter! In fact, the kids start swarming around the bowl as soon as the batter start coming together. Thanks for the mention! This chocolate cake is sooooo good!

  2. I agree with you wholeheartedly about the pleasure (and rules) of eating batter. (Same goes for dough, too, of course.) My technique for splitting the difference between getting all the batter into the cake pan and still having enough to enjoy is to use a regular spoon to scrape the batter into the pan, and save the gleanings of the rubber spatula for myself.

  3. One word: Spatula. Use it to scoop the batter into the baking dish, and, well, if there happens to be an ungodly amount left on it when you're done scooping…

    (plus, you don't leave ANY in the bowl!)

  4. I like to taste the batter. I always hear the voice of my mother telling me not to because it's got raw eggs in it.

    Personally I'm fonder of cookie dough.

  5. This looks fabulous! One more variation – instead of zucchini substitue a can opf pumpkin puree and add a tsp. of pumpkin pie seasoning. There is something about the spice and the chocolate…mmmmmm. And the batter ain't bad either!

    XO, OBS Housekeeper

  6. I like to taste the batter. I always hear the voice of my mother telling me not to because it’s got raw eggs in it. Personally I’m fonder of cookie dough.

  7. This looks fabulous! One more variation – instead of zucchini substitue a can opf pumpkin puree and add a tsp. of pumpkin pie seasoning. There is something about the spice and the chocolate…mmmmmm. And the batter ain’t bad either!XO, OBS Housekeeper

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