If there’s any one vegetable you can always count on to be plentiful when growing your own, it’s the courgette. Last year I had three plants growing in the tiny garden of our old house, and such a bountiful supply I promised myself that in 2018 I’d cut back to just two plants.
But in reality? I’ve somehow managed to end up with five, yes, FIVE plants of differing varieties, and we’re picking an average of two courgettes a day. Last weekend we picked NINE. It’s madness, madness I tell you!
So what to do with them all? Well, we’re cramming them into just about every savoury recipe going (from risottos and pastas, to fritters and salads), I’ve made batches of pickles and chutneys, but my current favourite way to use these sweet summer squashes up is to bake them into a loaf cake.
The cake itself is the simplest thing to knock up (even with the help, or hindrance, of a toddler), and is absolutely delicious too.
It doesn’t taste exactly of courgettes, in the way that carrot cake doesn’t taste exactly of carrots, but it does have a certain undefinably ‘green’ flavour that works so well alongside the freshness of berries or some citrus zest. I’ve been topping it off a simple lemon glaze more often than not, but this time, thanks to a distinct lack of lemons available in the house, I had to get creative with a few of the first blackberries of the season instead.
Simply warmed through, crushed, and then mixed with a small mound of icing sugar, it made the most delicious topping for the cake. And oh so seasonal, too!
The recipe is one I’ve adapted from BBC Good Food, though minimally it must be said. Mainly through laziness (I didn’t have self raising flour first time I made it and so replaced with plain flour and just doubled up the baking powder), and also I’ve removed the sultanas because does anyone really want sultanas in a sponge cake? I think not.
Makes one loaf cake.
250g light brown sugar
125ml sunflower oil
3 large eggs
1tsp vanilla extract
Grated zest of 1 lemon
300g plain flour
2tsps baking powder
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees, and grease and line a loaf tin with parchment paper.
- Grate the courgettes, then put them all into a tea towel and wring out as much of the moisture as you can.
- Add the courgettes to a large bowl, and add in the sugar, oil, eggs, lemon zest (if using), and vanilla extract. Mix together. Tip in the flour and baking powder, mix thoroughly, and then pour the batter into the lined cake tin.
- Bake for 50minutes-1 hour, and then allow to cool slightly before turning out onto a wire rack.
- A simple and delicious glaze can be made by mixing icing sugar into fruit juice (lemon, orange, grapefruit, mashed berries…) until a smooth runny consistency is achieved. Allow the cake to cool completely before icing.
If you have a go and make it yourself, do tag me in a photo on Instagram! I’d love to know how you get on!