My brother-in-law has an allotment and every year he has a glut of courgettes (zucchini) many of which my sister turns into courgette loaf using her tried and trusted Mary Berry recipe. In case you didn’t know, Mary is the doyenne of British baking and was one of the original judges on the Great British Bake Off. She’s as close to British royalty as you can get without being royal.
I took the recipe and played around with it – sacré bleu! Don’t tell my sister, or indeed Mary, but I found it a little on the heavy side. Indeed, my sister always serves it buttered. I think I’ve come up with a much moister cake by combining it with everyone’s favourite lemon drizzle cake. This way the flavour of the courgette fades away beneath the zingy lemon, while leaving pretty decorative flecks of green. What’s more, the courgettes provide one of your 5-a-day! What could be better? I usually make this as a loaf cake but during confinement I made large muffins so I could more easily share the spoils with my elderly neighbours who were isolating.
Ingredients (makes 12 large cup cakes)
- 350g (3 cups) courgette (zucchini) raw, grated
- 125ml (1/2 cup) vegetable oil
- 2 organic eggs, approx. weight without shells 125g
- 100g (1/2 cup) granulated sugar
- 4 tbsp fresh organic lemon juice
- 4 tbsp freshly grated organic lemon zest
- 300g (2 1/2 cups) plain (all purpose) flour
- 1tsp baking powder
- ½tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
- ½ tsp sea salt
- 85g (3/4 cup) powdered icing sugar
- 1tbsp fresh organic lemon juice
- organic lemon zest to decorate (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/160ºC fan/gas mark 4 (350ºF/320ºF fan). Grease and line a 2-ltr (1 lb) loaf tin or 12 muffin sized baking tray.
2. Coarsely grate the unpeeled raw courgettes (zucchini) (in a box grater or food processor). Tightly squeeze the gratings in a clean tea towel to remove much of the moisture.
3. In a large bowl, whisk the oil, eggs, sugar, zest and juice together until smooth, then stir in the courgette. Sift in the flour, bicarbonate, baking powder and salt, and gently combine.
4. Pour the batter into the prepared tin(s) and bake for 75 minutes (large cake)/30 minutes (muffin sized cake), or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.
5. Leave to cool in the tin completely.
6. Mix the lemon juice and icing sugar together until smooth. Drizzle over the cooled cake and sprinkle with the lemon zest.
Sheree’s Handy Hints
1. All ingredients should be at room temperature.
2. When I’m baking I always use a timer as it’s so easy to lose track of time. Once you’ve put the cake(s) in the oven, put the timer on for 5-10 minutes less than the cake should take to cook and then check regularly.
3. If you think the cakes are browning too quickly, particularly at the edges, cover them with an aluminium-foil tent.
4. Don’t skip the step to remove moisture from the grated courgette. Otherwise the cake will be soggy!
5. No need to peel the raw courgette – a lot of goodness is in the green skin.
6. This cake itself has a reduced amount of sugar on account of the lemon drizzle topping.
7. Swap the lemon for lime for a totally different flavour. I’ve also made these cakes with the addition of a couple of tablespoons of chopped basil.
8. Make it gluten-free by using gluten-free flour and baking powder.
9. Make it vegan: swap eggs for flax or chia eggs (2 tbsp of ground flax or chia seeds stirred into 6 tbsp of water and allow to stand for 5 minutes to become gelatinous).
10. This is a dairy-free courgette cake.