When it comes to baking I am an all or nothing kinda gal. There are no half measures in my kitchen I always want to make something as spectacular as it can be, both in taste and look. I want something that is reliable, especially when I am normally baking with the ‘help’ of two small children. The recipe needs to be robust and this one is.
I am not a nutritionist but I can certainly say that I feel like cake instantly transforms into salad in my mind with the addition of vegetables. Please tell me I am not the only one living that lie. This is not the first time I have I have dabbled in creating vegetable cakes, if you want the recipe for some tasty and quite beautiful vegetable cupcakes follow this link.
I am a member of quite a few allotment and produce growing groups on Facebook and I love this time of year seeing what everyone is harvesting but I never understand when people complain about a glut. There are so many wonderful recipes out there that enable you to think outside the box when you use your harvest. Growing your own food is incredibly rewarding, possible in a small space and a fantastic way to get a fussy child eating just about anything, I wrote more about growing with children recently.
Harvest time is baking time!
The problem I have with many vegetable cake recipes is that they are bland and boring. They have more of a tea bread feel to them. When I searched online for a courgette or zucchini cake recipe I could not find a single one that appealed to me so I decided to create my own.
The recipe calls for 3 cups of courgette/zucchini. If your 4 large courgettes create more than 3 cups use it and reduce food waste.
The main problem with a vegetable cake is the texture. The cakes can become a little too dense, the reason for this is excess moisture. This is an especially big risk with a courgette cake as courgettes hold a lot of liquid. Fear not the solution is a simple one. When the recipe asks you to let the grated courgette sit a while, let is sit a good long while. Don’t be shy when you squeeze the liquid out, squeeze the life out of that grated courgette. Remember you can save the liquid and add it to a vegetable stock or risotto. If you are not ready to use it straight away you can always freeze it. I freeze a lot of things, I love my chest freezer so much!
- 3 cups of grated courgettes/4 large courgettes
- 400g plain flour
- 100g self raising flour
- 3tsp sumac
- 3tsp baking powder
- 350g unsalted butter plus 200g for the buttercream
- 6 eggs
- 300g caster sugar plus 1 cup for the syrup
- 280g icing sugar
- 2tbsp orange juice
- 5 clementines
- 2 cloves
- 3 star anise
- Grate the courgettes into a large colander and lightly salt them. Cover with a tea cloth and let them sit for a while.
- Place the 5 clementines in a saucepan with a cup of caster sugar, the cloves and star anise. Cover with water and simmer on a low heat with the lid on.
- Preheat the oven to 180C and prepare 2 x 20cm cake tins.
- Beat the 300g caster sugar with the 350g unsalted butter until light and fluffy.
- Sift the flours and baking powder together.
- Add the eggs to the butter mixture one at a time. Whisk the mixture adding the flour gradually to prevent the eggs from separating.
- Once the eggs, flours, butter and sugar are all fully combined stir in the 3tsp of sumac.
- Squeeze all of the moisture from the grated courgette. Remember you can save the juices to use in other recipes. Make sure that they are fully squeezed out.
- Fold the grated courgettes into the mixture. Divide the cake mix between the two cake tins. Bake in the centre of the oven for 25mins or until a skewer comes out dry. Place on a cooling rack.
- By now the clementines will be done. Carefully remove them whole into a bowl to cool.
- Prepare the the buttercream using the butter, icing sugar and orange juice.
- With the remaining sugar syrup boil it rapidly with the lid off until it is a thick syrup. Spread the syrup onto the base cake.
- Once the syrup has cooled top it with the buttercream. Keep a little buttercream back to use on the top of the cake.
- Cut the candied clementines into chunks and place a handful onto the buttercream.
- Top with the second cake. Place the rest of the buttercream in the centre of the top cake and artfully pile the remainder of the candied clementines on also
This zucchini cake recipe really does elevate the whole vegetable cake genre to a new level, it has fast become my signature cake. I have already made this cake over a dozen times this year in the process of perfecting the recipe.
Making the perfect cake takes a lot of tasting!
Yes, that is how much cake gets baked when I am in recipe mode. Small adjustments here and there until it is perfect. My other half complained that I kept baking, “oh no my wife keeps baking cakes”, yeah cry me a river! All the hard work and tweaking is worth it when I see people enjoy the cake.
If you love cake but this recipe sounds like too much work I have an amazing Apple & Massala Chai Cake recipe that can be baked and frozen. After all we are approaching apple season and having a freezer full of cake is nice.