14 April 2013

Nigella Challenge: Flora's Famous Courgette Cake

Courgettes are, for those of you who aren't fancy-minded (or British), your regular garden-variety, zucchini. Very normal, and very un-fancy.

"If courgette cake sounds dodgy to you, think about carrot cake for a moment; this is just an adaption of that" says Nigella. And I must say, it's infinitely better than the humble carrot cake. I run in fear at the sight of a Sara Lee carrot cake slab - too many boarding school memories! And we all know that these "vegetable cakes" are really just a vehicle for cream cheese icing.

  • 60g raisins (optional, and I didn't use them)
  • 250g courgettes (2-3, weighed before you grate them)
  • 2 eggs
  • 125ml vegetable oil (I used rice bran)
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 225g self-raising flour
  • 1/2 tsp bicarb soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
Preheat oven to 180C. Grease and line 2 x 21cm round tins.

If using raisins, place in a bowl and cover with warm water to plump them up.

Rinse whole courgettes, and then grate (skin on) with the course side of a grater. If its too fine it turns to mush. I can vouch for that...

Place eggs, oil, and sugar in bowl of electric mixer, and beat until creamy. Fold in sifted flour, bicarb, and baking powder. Stir in courgette (and raisins if using).

Pour mixture into tins and bake for 30 minutes, until golden on top and firm to touch. Remove from oven and leave to cool completely before assembling.

For filling, you can buy a good lemon or lime curd. If you prefer, you can make Nigella's own curd (to come soon), which I definitely recommend.

  • 200g cream cheese, softened
  • 100g icing sugar, sifted
  • juice 1 lime
  • 2-3 tbsp chopped pistachios (make sure they're raw it your cake will get a salty edge)
Beat cream cheese with some sort of electric mixer until smooth. Gradually add icing sugar, beating continually. Add lime juice.

To assemble cake, place bottom layer on a serving plate and spread thickly with lime curd. Place 2nd cake on top carefully. Spread cream cheese over the top, and sprinkle with pistachios. 

I promise you, this cake will change the way you look at vegetables forever!