Courgettes are one of my favourite vegetables. They might not be very exciting, but they’re great with pasta and vegetable bakes and as I discovered this week, they’re very good in cakes too. Vegetable cakes are nothing new, but this was the first time I’ve baked a courgette cake and it won’t be the last. My courgette cake was light, moist and delicious; delicately spiced and devoured almost immediately by my greedy family.
Despite what you may think, the cake really doesn’t taste like it’s packed with courgettes, it just tastes like good cake. With the frosting it looks really pretty too, and for my money is a great way to sneak a nutrient rich vegetable into an unsuspecting child.
Courgette Cake with Cinnamon Frosting
150ml vegetable oil
200g soft brown sugar
3 medium eggs
1 lemon, finely grated and zested
200g coarsely grated courgette
1 heaped teaspoon of ground cinnamon
250g self-raising flour
1 level teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
For the frosting
50g unsalted butter, softened
85g icing sugar, sifted
pinch ground cinnamon
180g soft cheese
Preheat oven to 180°c or gas mark 4. Grease and line a large loaf tin, I use loaf tin liners which are so much easier. In a large mixing bowl, beat the oil, soft brown sugar, and eggs until smooth. I used my hand mixer, but a wooden spoon works just as well.
Stir in the lemon zest, lemon juice, cinnamon and the grated courgette. Tip in the sifted flour and bicarbonate of soda and fold in gently until it’s all mixed together well. Pour the cake batter into the prepared tin and bake for around one hour until risen and golden. If you’re not sure, insert a skewer into the centre of the cake and if it comes out clean, then it’s cooked.
Leave the cake to cool fully on a wire rack for a few hours. The cake has to be fully cool before you pile the frosting on top, or it’ll melt.
With an electric whisk beat together the unsalted butter, cinnamon and icing sugar until it comes together and is smooth. This will take a little while, so persist with it. It will look unpromising and like breadcrumbs for a while. Once it is smooth, add the cream cheese and beat quickly until it’s soft and smooth. Do not over-beat the frosting, or the cream cheese may split and become runny. Spread over the top of the cake with a palette knife or an offset spatula, it might be mice to sprinkle chopped nuts over the top, or more lemon zest if you like. I just made some decorative ripples, then popped the cake in the fridge for the frosting to firm up.
The courgette cake without frosting would happily keep in a tin for a few days, with the frosting it’ll need to be kept in the fridge, or the cream cheese frosting might go off.
If you love carrot cake, or chocolate beetroot cake, try this easy and delicious courgette cake recipe, you’d never know what was in it!