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Recipes with Julie Van Rosendaal: Kids’ family dessert recipes

This week on The Calgary Eyeopener, we shared recipes from 15-year-old Sara and 13-year-old Priya — both shared family recipes, and one has been around for about 150 years!

Here’s how to make Sara’s family’s chocolate zucchini cake, and Priya’s great-great-grandmother’s lemon curd.

If you have a recipe to share — or a cooking question, or a request, send us an email or call the talkback line at 403-521-6209.

We’d love to hear from you!

Sara’s Moist Chocolate Zucchini Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Chocolate cake with frosting on a white plate.
Cinnamon is optional, but tasty with this moist chocolate zucchini cake. (Julie Van Rosendaal)

This wonderfully dense, moist cake makes great use of an abundant zucchini harvest; grate green or yellow zucchini on the coarse side of a box grater, no need to squeeze out excess moisture — we need it in the cake! Cinnamon is optional, but tasty. 


Chocolate Zucchini Cake:

  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • ¾  cup cocoa
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon (optional)
  • 1 ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 cup sour cream (or full-fat plain yogurt)
  • 2 cups grated unpeeled zucchini (about 1 medium)

Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • ½ pkg (4 oz) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups icing sugar
  • 2-4 tbsp. milk or water, plus extra as needed

Preheat the oven to 350°F and spray a bundt pan very well with nonstick spray. 

In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar on high speed with an electric mixer for 2-3 minutes, until thick and pale. Beat in the eggs and vanilla.

In a smaller bowl, stir together the flour, cocoa, cinnamon (if using), baking soda and salt. 

Add a third to the butter mixture and beat just until blended; add half the sour cream and do the same. 

Repeat with another third of the flour mixture, the rest of the sour cream, and the rest of the flour.

Stir in the zucchini and pour the batter into the pan, smoothing the top.

Bake for 50-60 minutes, until the top is cracked and springy to the touch. Invert onto a plate or wire rack to cool completely.

To make the frosting, beat the cream cheese and butter until creamy and free of lumps. 

Add the icing sugar, milk or water and vanilla and beat until smooth; add a bit more water or icing sugar until the frosting is creamy and spreadable but soft, so that it drips down the cake a little. 

Once the cake is completely cool, spread it overtop — you don’t need to cover it completely.

Serves: 12. 

Priya’s Great Great Grandma Young’s Lemon Curd

Lemon curd in a jar next to fried oatmeal on a plate.
This lemon curd recipe has been passed on for generations and is easy to recreate at home. (Julie Van Rosendaal)

Priya loves her great great grandma’s lemon curd on toast; her mom likes to eat it on berries, and I love it on pavlova, biscuits and fried leftover oatmeal!

This recipe has been passed on for generations — Priya’s mom says it’s about 150 years old.

Finely grate the lemon zest (I use a microplane) to release the most flavour.

And if you find your curd has lumps from the egg or lemon zest, put it through a fine sieve to make it completely smooth.

LISTEN | Julie van Rosendaal on dessert recipes created by kids:

Calgary Eyeopener7:42Julie Van Rosendaal on recipes from young listeners

More kid recommended recipes from our food guide, Julie Van Rosendaal.

Like most recipes of this era, this one has brief instructions; I make the curd in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the butter-sugar-lemon mixture to a simmer, then whisk some into the eggs to warm them up (temper them) and return to the pot, then bring to a simmer, stirring, and cook until the curd is thick.

Cool completely before serving. 


  • ½ cup butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • Rind of 6 lemons
  • Juice of 3 lemons

Melt butter and sugar together, stirring often.

Add rind and juice of lemons. Stir well. Beat eggs well. Temper eggs.

Stir into sugar mixture until thick.

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