Do you call them courgettes or zucchinis? In our house they are courgettes, but I’ve decided to call this a zucchini cake as I think that makes it sound much more exciting and exotic.
Before making this cake I had never tried nor baked a zucchini cake. I have seen them popping up on blogs for years, and every summer tell myself ‘I will bake one this year’ but somehow I never achieved it. However, this year I finally managed it and am now kicking myself for not trying one sooner, I can’t believe what I’ve been missing all these years!
I was prompted to finally attempt this cake after Monica of Lick The Bowl Good recently talked about her favourite recipe for a chocolate zucchini cake. I’ve had another plain zucchini cake recipe saved in my ‘to bake’ file for years, but Monica’s recipe looked so good that I was torn between them. In the end I decided to use Monica’s recipe as the base, but remove the chocolate from it and use the other recipes additions of nuts and spices for flavour.
I decided against making a chocolate zucchini cake as I wanted to see the grated shreds of dark green courgette scattered throughout the cake and taste its subtle flavour. I was worried adding cocoa would overpower this. This turned out to be a good call as I loved the appearance and flavour of the finished cake.
The cake was incredibly light with a fine tender crumb and very moist from both the zucchini and use of oil instead of butter in the cake. I used a mix of ground cinnamon and a little freshly grated nutmeg in the cake which gave it a wonderfully spicy after note that went so well with the pecans I also added. My first slice crumbled slightly, this was partly because I used gluten free flour, but also because the cake was still a little warm – I couldn’t wait any longer! The following slices cut more cleanly.
Once baked and cooled it was topped with a simple drizzle of lemon glace icing. You could add a thicker frosting or cream if you like, but I think the zingy tang from the lemon helped enhance the other flavours in the cake, rather than overpower them and helped keep everything light and fresh tasting. Sometimes simple is the way to go.
The cake reminded me strongly of carrot cake (one of my all time favourites), only slightly more sophisticated with its streaks of emerald green. It’s the perfect summer cake and the ideal way of using up a glut of courgettes. I bet this would be a hit even with courgette/zucchini haters.
Don’t do as I did for so many years and let this cake pass you by – go make it now!!
Lemon Glace Icing
80g icing sugar
Juice of ½ lemon (approx)
Preheat oven to 180C. Grease the sides and line the base of an 8inch/20cm deep springform tin.
Grate the zucchini and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla together until lighter in colour and increased in volume.
With the mixer still going, drizzle in the oil until all combined. Add the grated zucchini and spices. Roughly chop the nuts into chunks and stir them in too.
Sift over the flour and baking powder before folding it in using a spatula, turning the bowl as you go. Do not over mix, stop once the flour is all incorporated.
Pour the mix into tin and bake for 45 minutes until golden brown and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
Allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before running a thin knife around the edge and releasing the cake from the tin. Leave to cool completely.
Mix the lemon juice into the icing sugar, a little at a time, until you have a thick smooth glaze. Use a fork or tip of a spoon to drizzle the icing over the top of the cooled cake.
Makes one 8inch/20cm cake.
Note: If not making this cake gluten free then use plain flour and increase the baking powder to 1½ tsp