The courgette cake hasn’t yet taken off quite like the carrot cake. I’m not sure why. I think it’s a shame, really, because a good courgette cake is just as simple and delicious as a carrot cake. While the natural sweetness of carrots works wonderfully in desserts for obvious reasons, a courgette is a more neutral vegetable. The advantage of that is that it’s a great vehicle for all sorts of exciting flavours. Here, I’ve added lime and coconut to go for a kind of tropical vibe. Even though courgettes are possibly the least tropical vegetable ever.
I am good at looking after children and animals but, for some reason, totally useless at keeping plants alive. We don’t have a garden so I don’t have anywhere to practice. But really, that’s just an excuse: I’ve never been able to grow things anyway. I always get confused (too much water? not enough water? who knows?) and then forget about whatever plant I’m supposed to be tending to.
Luckily, we have plenty of lovely neighbours who are digging their way to victory, and occasionally we will receive donations of tasty home-grown vegetables. I say donations, but the neighbours from whom we got the magnificent courgettes that went into this cake were practically begging us to take them off their hands. They seemed slightly panicked about the sheet volume of courgette they had managed to produce. One of them was the size of my arm.
So anyway, obviously if you have an abundance of courgettes you could put them in a stir-fry, or on a savoury tart, or make courgette fritters. Or, you could add a load of sugar and make a courgette cake. I bet you can guess which direction I went in.
Adapted from this recipe.
I think this recipe would also work brilliantly well with lemon or orange, if you have them lying around. Or if you don’t like lime, I guess? I don’t think I have ever met anyone who doesn’t like lime though.
If you want a quicker or more simple courgette cake, you can leave all the stuff at the end and have it unadorned. It’s really easy though, and I promise it only takes five minutes.
for the cake
350g courgettes, unpeeled
150g soft brown sugar (or any brown sugar, or coconut sugar if you have it)
50g desiccated coconut
125ml sunflower oil, or other neutral oil such as vegetable or corn
3 large eggs
zest of 2 limes
100g sultanas, or raisins if you prefer
300g self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
for icing and finishing
100g icing sugar
juice and zest of 1 lime
handful of desiccated coconut
- Preheat your oven 180C/160C fan/gas 4, and lightly grease a large non-stick loaf tin. Grate your courgette, then pop it in a sieve and try to push and squeeze as much liquid as possible out of it, to stop your cake going soggy.
- Pop your courgette in a large bowl, then add your sugar, coconut, oil, eggs, lime zest, and sultanas, then give it all a good mix. Add your flour and baking powder, then quickly stir until just combined. Pour your mixture into your loaf tin, then bake for around 40-50 minutes, or until the cake is firm and well risen, and passes the skewer test.
- Mix your icing sugar with enough lime juice to make a thick icing. Let your cake cool, then zigzag it with your lime icing, and finish with a sprinkling of the lime zest and a bit more desiccated coconut.