September 18, 2013

Cinnamon Apple {Zucchini} Cake with Oatmeal Crumble + Novel Update

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I've mentioned this recipe before.  But since I've made it so many times and have tweaked to my where my family requests it all.the.time. I decided to go ahead and post it.

It's so good. And it tastes like apples, which right now, is a really popular flavor.  Fall and all. Even better, it uses up any zucchini left over. Am I the only one who has that problem?  Ready for all fall foods but summer produce keeps hanging over their heads?

Somehow, when you sauté zucchini in sugar, cinnamon, and lemon juice, it takes on the exact flavor of apples. Has fooled every person who has tried it and my dad has taken pieces to work just for his employees to try.

Apples: every time. 

The ingredient list looks long, but don't worry; this recipe is super easy. Sauté the zucchini. Whip up the cake batter. Make the crumble. Layer them and pop in the oven. That's it and out comes this delicious cake full of texture and flavor. And cinnamon. I really like cinnamon:)

I have no idea to write now. I'm tired ... and still not feeling great. Umm, let's see ... 
Oh, wait!  I'll tell you more about my novel!  The more I write, the more background info I have to create. Like, the country's history. And why a person could disappear and not want to come back. Why music can both heal and kill. And I still have a LOT of work left.  It's amazing how much a story can change with time. There are little bits if my original plot but nearly all of it is edited or new ideas. Characters are created, plot twists fabricated, and mistakes, well, are everywhere. Writing this novel has been an ongoing test of patience and creativity. It takes time, but it is rewarding.  

*By this afternoon (sorry I didn't plan far enough ahead to get this on here by publish time) I will have one of my most recent scenes right here. Sorry!*

As we walked away, I mused, “I wonder who this Duchess is.”

            “I’m going to find out.”  Kurt swallowed his bite of bread.  “I’m going to find her and ask for help.”

            I remained silent, but my doubts were growing stronger.  This Duchess was obviously important and the likelihood of her taking the time to listen to two poor children?  Not likely.  Not willing to burst Kurt’s bubble, I followed him towards the main marketplace. 

            “Ouch!” I yelped as a man trod on foot.  Hopping after Kurt, I asked, “Why are we going through the market right now?”  I pushed past a women carrying a basket full of cloth.  “Its so busy!”

            Kurt turned and gestured behind him.  “We have to go through it to get to the castle.”

            I sputtered as dust filled my nostrils.  Waving it aside, I groaned.  “Couldn’t we just wait?”

            Pulling me aside, Kurt shook his head in exasperation.  “Aubria, our chances of getting help aren’t very good.  The sooner we get in, the sooner we make our request, the sooner we know our answer.  Understand?”

            I looked at the ground.  “Yes.”

            Kurt forced a smile and said, “I know its hard to almost drown and then come humiliate yourself.”

            “You do the crazy things for the people you love,” I reflected.

            I caught his glance and added, “For my parents, I mean.  And for Dalice.”

            He paused and then nodded.  “Right.”

            “Right,” I said under my breath. 

            “Hey you!”  A large man with scars across his face stomped over to where we were standing.  “What are you doing there?”

            “Uh, talking?” Kurt offered.

            An ugly smile covered the man’s face, crinkling his scars into grotesque patterns.  Tossing his cup aside, beer splattered on the street, some hitting my dress.  I flinched, a sinking dread in my stomach.

            “I don’t think you’re supposed to be there,” he took a step forward.  “Or here at all.”

            “I’m sorry,” Kurt stepped backwards. “And we’ll be going now.”

            “Right,” I announced, loudly this time.

            Our Scar Man chuckled, but how something good could sound so offensive, I wasn’t sure.  Before I could back away and disappear in the crowd, he grabbed my arm and said, “I haven’t had a profit in days.  You should catch a pretty price at the market.”

            “No!” Kurt pointed his finger at us.  “You will not take her.”

            I moaned, this situation eerily familiar.  “Oh Kurt, its no use.  Remember what happened last time?”

            “Glad to know you are used to this, missy.  You make my job so much easier.”  He began to pull me away, clamping his other hand over my mouth.  Dirt and other things I didn’t wish to identify smothered my face, the stench of garbage sickeningly overpowering.

            I twisted to see Kurt lurch after us, but it was no use for another man wrested him into submission.  I stretched my neck, trying to get a breath.  “You’re breaking the law, you know!” I gasped out.

            He slapped me and muttered, “Doesn’t matter to me.  And it doesn’t matter to you either.”

            By taking back alleys, we were at the makeshift auction within minutes.  The castle walls and towers soared above us and I wondered why they chose to conduct such business so close to the main castle.  But it was a hidden location.  The only exit was a small archway leading to a maze of alleys and the rest of this slave trading arena was surrounded by high stone walls covered in moss and greenery.  There was no way out. 

            Kurt and I were shoved into line with other people.  I was shocked by their haggard faces and frankly, disgusting clothes.  As I glanced at myself, I was appalled my own appearance.  My dark hair was no longer smooth, but stringy and my dress worn stains and tears worthy of the rag pile.  Humiliation swept over me and I covered my face in my hands.  Although I wasn’t the only one crying, I felt like I was losing my last shred of dignity among these people.

            “We’re going to be okay, Aubria.”  Kurt twisted his hands awkwardly.  “We may be sold, but we won’t be slaves.  I’ll make sure to get you home.  Please don’t cry, Aubria, not now.”

            “Its not that,” I sobbed.  “Look at me, Kurt.”  I wiped my eyes angrily and stood straight.  “Look at the clothes I am wearing, my hair, my hands, my face.”  I lowered my voice and whispered harshly, “I am now associated with these people.”  I swept my hands over the group around us.  “And I hate it.  I have never felt so worthless in my entire life.  Ever.”  I looked away, fury keeping the words inside, but not the tears.

            Kurt leaned back, a stunned look on his face.  “That’s really what you are thinking?”

            “Yes,” I gritted my teeth.  “Thank you for not understanding!”

            His eyes narrowed.  “That’s not it, Aubria.”  He licked his lips.  “I don’t think you look like a slave or a vagabond.  I don’t see your clothes, or your hair, or your face.  I see a friend, I see a girl beautiful for her courage and her loyalty.”  He grabbed my shoulder.  “Don’t you see?  Don’t you see what you’ve been through has only made you better?”

              I wavered.  “But I don’t feel it at all.”

            “Just because you can’t feel it doesn’t mean its not there.”

            A whistle silenced the group of slaves and Scar Man stepped up onto the platform.  “You all know the routine, so I won’t go over rules and such.”  He jerked his head at the first slave in line.  “Get up ‘ere.”  Eying the man, Scar Man began a pitch, describing the man and showcasing him in front of the shady crowd.  I began to feel sick, knowing it would be me soon.

            The man was quickly sold, but the next person, an older woman, took more to time to finagle and argue.  Her wrinkled face was wet, but completely emotionless, a stone mask for the sadness inside.  I closed my eyes, unable to watch.  “Oh ( ) please let us get out of here.”

            After the women were two young boys and the younger one was crying for his mother.  “Mother, where are you?  Please come get me!” he whimpered again and again.  The older boy held his brother close, trying to console him.  Unable to take it any longer, I stepped out of line and ran up to the platform.  I knelt in front of the boys and held out my arms.  “I’m not your mother, I know,” my voice cracked.  “But I’ll hold you anyways.”  As the boy crawled into my arms, I wished more than anything I had my mother’s arms to crawl into. 

            “Get away, girl,” Scar Man growled.  He jerked my arm and I let out a cry of pain.  Scar Man was about to hit me, when a man ran from the archway and into the small courtyard.  It was Harner.  “What do you think you are doing with this girl?” Harner demanded. 

            “None of your business!” Scar Man gnarled. 

            Harner ran up the platform and pulled his hand off of my arm, not struggling at all with Scar Man’s resistance.  “Actually, this is a friend of mine.  As is the boy.  They’ll be coming with me.”

            Scar Man jerked his arm away from Harner.  “And what is gonna stop me from pounding you?”

            “Me!”  Brayden lumbered into the courtyard, his bristly face red and his hands clenched.  He pushed his way through the crowd, his barrel chest cowing many of the undersized slave traders.  Scar Man wilted a little, but kept up his bravado.  “This is business and you can’t come in without agreeing to trade.”  He rubbed his thumb and forefinger.  “How badly do you want her?”

            Harner crossed his arms.  “Not as badly as you want to keep your life.”  He leaned closer.  “We aren’t going to stoop to selling human beings for a living like you.  We will however, take what is ours and these two are with us.”  He patted Brayden and gestured pointedly.  “Give us the girl and that boy.”  He pointed to Kurt.

            Scar Man hesitated, but seeing no backing from his fellow traders, he took me and threw me at their feet.  “We’ll meet again, on my terms, like gennelmen.  You hear?”

            Harner pulled me to my feet, dusting me off.  “We don’t hear anything.”  Then he began down the platform, Kurt and Brayden following.  As we exited under the arch, we heard the bidding begin again and I shuddered, thinking of that little boy and his brother.  “Can’t we help them?”

            Harner sighed.  “I’m afraid not, missy.  I’d have that whole courtyard up in arms against me if I jsut started freeing all their slaves.  I barely got out of there with you two.”

            “But no one challenged you,” I observed, stumbling to keep up with him.

            “Ah,” he smiled sadly.  “Not that you saw.  But they did.  Under their cloaks, with their eyes.  Minutes more and they would’ve.  Tis dangerous business, the slave trade.  Lots of ruthless men.”

            “Not for the likes of us,” Brayden added, his neck still red.

            “Here,” Harner ducked into an alley.  “This is the way.”

            “The way where?” Kurt asked, ducking and following.

            “To the castle’s lower level.”

            “What!” I exclaimed.  “The castle’s lower level?”

            “How do you know?  I mean how did you?” Kurt sputtered.

            Brayden chuckled.  “I have friends who work here.”

            “So,” I could tell Kurt’s mind was racing.  “You can get us into the castle?”

                        “Yep,” Brayden grinned, obviously pleased wiht himself.

            “How did you know we wanted into the castle?” I ventured quietly, avoiding eye contact with Kurt.

            Brayden patted my shoulder.  “Guessed it, missy.”

            Kurt looked down, red creeping up his neck.  “Thank you.”

            “Think nothing of it, young un.”  Harner continued walking.  “You two are good ‘uns.  Got your heads on straight.  Whatever you want, tis sure to be important and we’re going to help you until its done.”

Cinnamon Apple {Zucchini} Cake with Oatmeal Crumble
Recipe Source: Adapted from Crazy for Crust
Yield: 9 or 16 servings

For the filling:
3 cups zucchini, peeled, seeded, and chopped
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

For the cake:
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup oil
1 egg

For crumble topping:
1/2 cup oats, ground up
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon oil

Preheat oven to 350°. Spray an 8” square pan with cooking spray.
Add zucchini, lemon juice, sugar, and cinnamon to a frying pan over medium heat. Cook for about 3-4 minutes, until the zucchini just starts to turn opaque, but is still white. Remove from heat to cool.
Whisk flours, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon, nutmeg, and brown sugar together in a medium bowl.
Stir milk, oil, and egg in a large bowl.  Stir dry ingredients into wet and stir until just combined. Pour into prepared pan.
Sprinkled cooled zucchini evenly over the top of the cake batter.
Make the crumb topping: stir together oats, sugar, cinnamon, and oil. Sprinkle over zucchini.
Bake for 30-35 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.

My Appleless Applesauce Granola Scones also use zucchini for apple flavor. 

And this Apple Crisp is an often requested recipe. We make it all.the.time in the fall and winter.

What is something that takes/has taken you a lot of time but was so worth it in the end? 


  1. Ohhh- Mary Frances! This apple cinnamon zucchini cake is good enough to pin, like, g+ and follow! Thanks for posting on Wake Up Wednesdays! Enjoy your site and your blog. Happy baking. Deb @ Kneaded Creations.

    1. Wow, Ms. Warren, three things about your comment One; you used my "real" name and didn't misspell it! Two;thank you for taking the time to comment. And three; for following! That is so sweet of you! Thanks!

  2. Oh my goodness!!! These look fantastic!!! Cinnamon Rolls take FOREVER but they are definitely worth the patience :)

    1. Thanks Davida! Oh my goodness, so true. They do take forever, but they are incredible warm out of the oven!

  3. This cake is the perfect combination of summer and fall- looks amazing!

    1. It is a great fall/summer cake, the way you put it describes it perfectly! :) Thanks Meghan!

  4. These look amazing and I love how healthy they are! And you know I'm a sucker for the fall/summer combo, so I must try this!
    Good luck with your novel, I hope you're having fun writing it! It sounds so so exciting :-*

  5. I would just eat that crumble topping by the spoonful! And loving the apples here as I'm in a total apple frame of mind!

    1. That is me with every crumble:) Thanks Pamela!

  6. you cannot go wring with a recipe from Dorothy! this cake looks amazing

  7. How admirable that you're writing a novel—what a huge (but rewarding) undertaking! I'm so excited about fall baking, and nothing says it better than apples and cinnamon :)

    1. It will be rewarding, but its taking a long time! Aren't all worthwhile things that way? I can't wait to get my hands on some real apples because you are right, apples+cinnamon = fall baking! Thanks Irina!

  8. I love the mix of apple and cinnamon - such a classic autumn combination! x

    1. Absolutely! I'm all about classic autumn right now (and its only September!) Thanks Trisha!

  9. First off, it is so amazing that you are writing a novel!! Good job! Love the little excerpt already and can't wait for you to finish it :)

    And this cake is just dangerous. It has everything I love!!!

    1. Aw thank you! Both the cake and the book are fun to make;)

  10. Hey, was that a new part?? That's so fun, I love it!! You must send me your new chapters!!!
    Oh and of course the crumble cake looks delicious. I wonder if I can convince my siblings to eat it.... :)

    1. I would love to send you the new chapters! And Chloe, I'm sure your siblings would eat it! :)

  11. It's so funny that you mention that about zucchini--I know someone who makes a zucchini pie and swears it's exactly like an apple pie. I've always been a little scurred to try it (not a zuch fan) but maybe there's something to this idea...

    At any rate, this cake look amazing! Perfect summer to fall transition!

    1. Zucchini pie - I must try that! And this cake is the perfect transition from summer to fall. Thanks Liz!

  12. How exciting that you're writing a book!
    This cake looks so yummy. I love a good crumble on top of any cake. ;)

  13. You are such a talented writer! I want to read more - I'll be first in line to buy your book! Have you ever heard of Nanowrimo? You should google it and check it out - it's lots of fun and it's coming up in November. I've never seen zucchini cooked like this! That is so neat how it tastes like apple!

    1. I will have to check that out! It DOES sound like fun! This is also fun - tricking people into thinking zucchini is apples;)

  14. I would have never thought to cook up zucchini to imitate apples!

  15. Ok, I LOVE your writing as much as I love your baking!! Both are seriously awesome!! ;)

    1. Aw thanks:) Its a good thing my baking doesn't take as long as my writing does!


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