When I was in junior high and high school, each year our school put on a bike trip and a canoe trip. The bike trip was in the fall, and the canoe trip in the summer. I was an avid participant every year. Spanning over 4-5 days, the trips were planned meticulously by the teacher supervisors and were my first real experiences backcountry camping and getting to cool places using my own muscle power.
I can’t say enough for what those trips did for my sense of capability and self-worth. They taught me team work and cemented a love of the outdoors that has lasted through the decades since.
Every fall, when I rode off on my bike, part of a two-by-two chain of my schoolmates steadily progressing down the highway out of town, my mom would get to work in the kitchen, finely dicing ripe zucchinis from the garden and measuring chocolate chips and cocoa, adding a little bit more for good measure. On our first night away from home, she would drive out to our campsite and drop off several pans of chocolate zucchini cake for me and my friends to enjoy. I’m not sure how far we normally cycled on those first days, but I do know that despite the fact that we had biked all day, the chocolate chips would still be warm and melty by the time my mom got there.
This, of course, was a great way to win the hearts and minds of my trip-mates – even the cool ones. There’s nothing like chocolate cake at the end of a long day of biking to make a bass-playing, combat boot-wearing, poetry-writing bookworm cool by anyone’s standards.
- 1/2 cup margarine
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup sour milk/yogurt
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 4-6 tbsp. cocoa
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 2 cups grated zucchini
- Chocolate chips to top
- Preheat your oven to 350F and grease a 9x11 baking dish.
- Combine all the ingredients except the chocolate chips. Pour the mixture into the Pyrex dish, top with chocolate chips, and bake until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
- Enjoy with a glass of milk after a long day of biking with the cool kids.