Let’s face it, zucchini (courgettes) are pretty tasteless and watery; for instance, if you want to roast them, they’ll need to be salted first to remove excess moisture and to ensure they keep their shape in the roasting pan. Then you’ll want to add garlic, tomatoes, onion, peppers, etc., because on their own they’re a bit ‘blah’.
However, firm young zucchini when grated and drained a bit (and squeezed to get rid of excess water), make a great addition to cake, yielding a moist result. You can then add other things for flavor such as chocolate, lemon, elderflower syrup and so-on.
Here’s a simple recipe for a wickedly moist and luscious cake but be sure to use young zucchini/courgettes only. Once they start to get a bit hefty their extra weight is all water, so just chop the big ones up and add to a salad.
Note: this cake is dairy-free.
ZUCCHINI (COURGETTE) LEMON & ELDERFLOWER CAKE
(Enough for 8-10 slices)
1 and 1/4 cups (300ml measure) of fine (caster) sugar
6 tablespoons of a good, fruity, extra virgin olive oil
2 large eggs at room temp, lightly beaten
1/3 cup (80ml) of almond or coconut-vanilla milk
1 teaspoon of pure vanilla
2 cups of *cake flour, sifted together with:
1 and 1/4 teaspoons of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of fine sea salt
1 and 1/2 cups (360ml measure) of grated zucchini that’s been drained for about 30 minutes then gently squeezed out to remove any excess moisture
4 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice, divided
2 tablespoons of elderflower cordial mixed with 2 extra tablespoons of fresh lemon juice (optional)
2 tablespoons of finely grated lemon zest
1 level cup (240ml measure) of powdered (icing) sugar
Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease a 9″ x 5″ (23 x 13 cm) loaf pan and line it with parchment.
Sift together the flour, baking powder and sea salt in a bowl and set it aside.
In a separate bowl, whisk the olive oil together with the eggs and sugar until light and airy then whisk in the almond milk. Stir in the vanilla, lemon zest and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, followed by the sifted flour mixture. Fold everything together with a large metal spoon until combined, then stir in the shredded zucchini.
Scrape the batter into the loaf pan and bake for 45-55 minutes. Test with a toothpick or skewer – the cake is ready when a few crumbs stick to the skewer and the surface is lightly golden.
Pierce small holes over the surface of the warm cake with a toothpick and drizzle the elderflower-lemon juice mixture over the top. Cool in the pan for 20 minutes then lift out and cool completely on a rack.
One the cake is cool, stir the remaining 2 tablespoons of lemon juice into the powdered sugar and pour the glaze over the cake. Decorate with chopped candied citrus peel, toasted flaked almonds or whatever you like – or leave it simply glazed.
*Cake flour is slightly lighter that regular wheat flour. For every cup (240ml measure) of regular flour, replace 2 tablespoons with cornstarch/cornflour and sift together. That’s it.