‘Tis the season of squash. Here are organically-grown squash at Better Food Company, Bristol.
Courgettes, or zucchini, are part of the squash family. Squash are one of the Three Sisters (along with maize and beans) planted by Native Americans.
Squash contains gentle soluble fibre, immune-boosting vitamins and minerals plus complex carbohydrates for slow release energy.
This recipe for Courgette Cake is from Make More of Squashes, which I co-wrote with recipe-writer, Patricia Harbottle, and her son-in-law, organic gardener, Peter Chadwick.
The book and its companion, Make More of Beans & Peas, are part of the Make More of Vegetables series – with some non-vegetarian recipes but all with veg as the star. And with instructions on how to grow from seed too!
Buy here from the blog Pete set up with Sue Richardson.
Peter Chadwick died in August. Rest in peace, Pete. This post is for you and your lovely wife, Sue Richardson, who helps people write the right book.
Using vegetables in cakes makes wonderfully moist cakes (so butter cream filing is optional). If you do not have self-raising flour or baking powder, experiment with adding two more eggs to lighten the mixture instead. If so, allow cake to bake a little longer in the oven.
Cake: 250g (9oz) coarsely grated courgettes + 2 large eggs + 120g (4oz) caster sugar + 120ml (4fl oz) rapeseed or sunflower oil + 225g (8oz) self-raising flour + 1 tsp baking power + pinch each of ground cinnamon and nutmeg and salt + zest of one large orange (keep 1 tsp for icing). Grate orange to get its zest. Or try lazy method. I use a potato-peeler on the orange, then snip the strips of peel – gives strong orangey taste.
Filling: 120g (4oz) softened unsalted butter + 225g (8oz) icing sugar + 1 tsp orange zest (from large orange above) + juice of half of the large orange.
1. Put grated courgettes in colander and drain for 30 minutes. Press down with a saucer or use hands to squeeze out as much liquid as possible.
2. Beat the eggs and caster sugar until the mixture thickens, then beat-in oil until amalgamated and creamy, like thick double cream.
3. With a sieve, sift the flour, baking powder, spices and salt into the beaten egg, sugar and oil mixture. Beat well until really well-blended. Stir in the courgettes and orange zest.
4. Grease and line two 20 cm (8 in) cake tins. Pour mixture into prepared tins and bake in 170C (150C for fan oven) or Gas Mark 3 oven for about 30 minutes.
5. Keep oven door closed for first 25 minutes then test cakes with your finger tip. Cakes should be firm to touch. If not, bake for a further 5-10 minutes. Leave in their tins for 5 minutes, then turn out onto wire rack to cool.
6. Optional butter cream filling: Beat butter and icing sugar and stir in zest and orange juice to make light butter cream. When cakes are cold, spread the filling over one cake and sandwich the other on top.
This cake keeps well in an airtight tin. Try it with lemons or limes instead of the orange.
Hope you like this seasonal recipe.