We haven’t baked cakes here for ages and like the No 10 bus, they all come along at once! As a result I’ve been trawling through the recipe books trying to find ways of cooking courgettes (known as zucchini in several parts of the world) differently. I love them chopped and fried in loads of garlic and served with pasta and cheese sauce, Mr G isn’t that fussed about them one way or another. Our son claims to like them but is always full when it comes to eating them so they’re the last item left on his plate. The girls refuse to eat them point-blank.
Courgette flowers are like a burst of sunshine in the garden but the plants themselves can be very heavy producers and take up a lot of space. The flowers are edible (we’ve yet to fry them in batter as suggested) but if you pick them all, you may find yourself with no courgettes! It’s recommended to place the plants a metre apart but ours is taking up well over that space at this stage.
Yesterday I harvested three courgettes and today another four are ready, hence my search for recipes.
So here it is. The ultimate courgette recipe that keeps everyone in our household happy: Flora’s Famous Courgette Cake recipe found in Nigella Lawson’s “How to be a Domestic Goddess”:
(Preheat oven to 180ºC/gas mark 4)
Courgette (Zucchini) Cake with Lime Curd & Pistachio Recipe
For the cake:
60g sultanas, optional (but tasty)
250g courgettes (2-3), weighed before grating
2 large free range eggs
125ml organic rapeseed oil
150g caster sugar, sieved
225g self-raising flour
half teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
half teaspoon baking powder
2 x 21cm sandwich tins, greased and lined
If you’re using sultanas, put them in a bowl and cover with warm water to plump them up.
Wipe the courgettes with kitchen towel (don’t peel them), then grate. The coarse side of an ordinary grater is best as anything finer or smaller can make them mushy). When the courgettes are grated turn them into a sieve over the sink to remove excess water.
Put the eggs, oil and sugar in a bowl and beat until creamy. Sieve in the flour, bicarb and baking powder and continue to beat until well combined. Now stir in the grated courgette and add the drained sultanas. Equally pour the mixture into the tins and bake for 30 minutes until slightly browned and firm to the touch. Leave in the tins on a rack for 5-10 mins then turn out and allow them to cool until you’re ready to fill and ice them.
For the lime curd filling (or buy one from the shop but it’s very easy to make)
75g unsalted butter
3 large eggs
75g caster sugar
125ml lemon and lime juice (approx 3 limes and 1 lemon)
zest of 1 lime
Melt the butter in a heavy-based saucepan, add all the other ingredients and whisk to a custard over a gentle heat. If it’s allowed to get too hot the egg will curdle which isn’t a problem but will explain the lumpy bits. Let the curd cool before filling a steralised jar – or a cake – with it. Keep in the fridge.
For the lime and pistachio icing:
200g cream cheese
100g icing sugar, sieved
juice of 1 lime, or more to taste
2-3 tablespoons chopped pistachio nuts
Beat the cream cheese in a bowl until smooth, add the icing sugar, beating well to combine, then stir in the lime juice to taste. Sprinkle the pistachio nuts over the top.
We loved this cake. It’s a bit like carrot cake, light and moist and very easy to make. I also tried it out on a neighbour this afternoon who politely tried it though I could tell it was the last thing she wanted to try, but was then very complimentary and devoured every last crumb.
If you like the idea of making cakes with courgettes, here’s a chocolate and courgette recipe that we had a go at too. If you’d like some other ideas for using up a glut of courgettes from fritters to soup, you can find some here.
Dr How’s Science Wows wrote a series of blog posts about using vegetables in cakes that makes for a very interesting read. I can’t wait to try the spinach cake that Naomi’s children claimed to enjoy the best!
This weekend I was catching up on blog reading when I noticed that Mona Wise had mentioned courgette cupcakes in a recent post. I had all the ingredients in my cupboard to make the cake above, as well as the usual summer glut of courgettes but couldn’t face tackling my exploding cupboard to root out a cake tin. I therefore decided to give the cupcakes a go.
Using the same method and ingredients as above, instead of turning the mixture into a cake tin I divided it into bun cases. This also cut the baking time down to 20 to 25 minutes, even better for hungry mouths!
When the buns were cool I removed them from their paper cases, cut them in half and spread the icing in the middle, before replacing the top. I then poured over the lime curd topping and grated some pistachios on top. Today’s toppings varied slightly from the original above as I had didn’t have enough lime so made a mixture of lemon and lime. The result was still scrummy!
Do you have any cake recipes that you make using vegetables? I’d love to hear about them.