Zucchini and spiced pear cake

I’ve been doing a lot of eating lately.

I blame it on Easter. Easter has the best candy. Chocolate eggs, sour pastel jellybeans, gummies in pink and blue, more chocolate shaped like cute animals. You know the drill.

I’m worried I’ll grow a cotton tail if all this sugary snacking keeps up.

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What better way to combat a candy coma than to hide my veggies in cake? I have such fond memories of eating my mom’s zucchini bread as a child. On the outside, it looked no different than a banana bread. On the inside, it was flecked with fresh green zucchini, cherries and walnuts. Absolutely delicious.

This is an homage to that, as well as a bit of a tribute to spring. This cake mixes the fresh, green of zucchini with that beautiful, subtle sweetness from the pears. Together, they blend right in with the maple and spices. And what better way to ring in the first day of spring than with a hint of maple?

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In Quebec, it’s cabane à sucre season. The beautiful maple syrup this province is known for is being coaxed from the trees, getting ready to be poured over pancakes and waffles and ham (oh no, I’m getting hungry again).

I lightened up this recipe by cutting out a third of the sugar and halving the oil with plain 0% yogurt. If you’re really watching your processed sugar intake, you could omit even more of the sugar and supplement with maple in the batter itself.

This cake was the perfect ending to some boneless, skinless chicken breast (classic food sin penance) and a truly tasty tomato avocado salad (more on that later).

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