Sunday 21 September 2014

Courgettes & September!

 This is a time of year for abundance...our tomatoes are ripening so fast, that I pick them twice a day...
I have given many away, but they keep coming! 4 types this year...marmandes, plums, golden cherry & little grape ones, like mini red sweet, we eat them straight from the vine. A neighbour has the same 'problem' with courgettes...too many ripening at once to be able to use them quickly enough! So we did a swap...and after using some in conventional recipes, I thought I would bake a courgette cake. After all, we use carrots & beetroot quite routinely in baking nowadays, so why not? I turned for the recipe to an old friend... you can see, my copy of Nigella's brilliant book has been extremely well-used! Her version of the cake is baked in round layers and has a lime curd filling and cream cheese frosting...but I wanted a plainer cake, a loaf cake to slice for everyday a little adaptation went on (as always!) I also added lemon zest and a lemon syrup glaze to finish (I almost forgot to say that made this way it is also dairy free if that's important to you!) here is the recipe for a

Sugar Moon via Nigella Courgette Cake"

2 medium courgettes (about 250g) grated - but not peeled
2 large free-range eggs
125ml sunflower oil
150g caster sugar + 1 tbsp extra for the lemon syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract - I use pure vanilla powder from Ndali
225g self-raising flour
1/2 tsp each baking powder & bicarbonate of soda
pinch of salt
zest & juice of 1 unwaxed lemon

Line a 2lb/1kg loaf tin with baking parchment
Preheat oven to 180c/350f

First place the grated courgette in a colander to drain off any excess water...(for best results, grate them by hand on the coarse side of a regular box grater)

 In a large bowl, place the oil, 150g sugar, eggs, vanilla and lemon zest and mix well together - I do this in my stand mixer using the beater attachment...
 Next measure the remaining dry ingredients...
 ...and add to the liquid...
 ..mixing until well combined... will be quite thick and glossy. Now mix in the grated courgette - I use my silicone spatula because it gets right down to the bottom of the bowl...
 ...and scrape into the prepared loaf pan.
 Bake for about 45mins - 1 hour...this depends on your oven, but it should be well-risen, golden brown and spring back in the middle when pressed gently with a finger...
 Remove from the tin and cool on a wire rack. Make a syrup by gently heating the lemon juice and remaining tablespoon of sugar and brush over the surface of the warm cake to glaze...

 Leave to cool completely before slicing... is gorgeous inside, with emerald flecks...very light and moist. It won't keep for too long because of the fresh courgette, but definitely for a couple of days if well wrapped and airtight. Or you can freeze it for up to a month...
We have also started baking Christmas cakes! These are really popular on the farmer's market stall, where some are sold undecorated to be passed off as home-made (and why not?!) and others will be glittered and glazed and gilded...
 I started off by baking the really rich, alcoholic cakes as these have the best keeping qualities..
 French brandy, Jamaican rum and Portuguese port goes into these babies...the fruit is soaked in all three for a whole week first....then they are 'fed' with yet more rum & brandy after baking...before being double wrapped and stored in a cool, dry place for the next 3 months. I will unwrap and feed them with alcohol a few more times. So they are really quite special!
There will be other versions too...some with no alcohol at all...but these smell absolutely divine and started me thinking about more Christmas baking. But then I looked out at the warm, golden September afternoon...and resolved to forget about it for just a few more weeks!

I hope you will try the courgette cake...and if you bake anything from the Sugar Moon Blog, we'd love to hear how it turns out! It was great to get your views and comments on the blueberry brownies and other flavours...Have a great week...and if you would like to try some of our remarkable brownies, then do visit our website here!


  1. Yes, time to bake the Christmas cake again! Last year, I did Delia's "Creole Cake" ~ don't light a match anywhere near that one! Your Courgette cake looks so good, and I really like the idea of a lime curd with it too.
    Hope Guillame enjoyed the brownies!

  2. Yummy! Your tomatoes look very scrumptious, too! Happy Autumn, Rachel! xo

  3. I just left you a message on Facebook about vanillasugarblogs delectable Fall cake and now this lovely Courgette loaf to add to my repertoire. I think I have a recipe I can adapt with our measurements and baking instructions. My Autumn appetite is definitely gearing up! I'm looking forward to trying my hand with the flaming Christmas cakes again, too! Thanks for another delightful culinary break! xo

  4. I am more into an autumnal/Halloween mood than a Christmas one.

  5. Delicious and sweet inspired baking..,Mozart would be happy...xo

  6. Your courgette loaf cake looks gorgeous, so moist and delicious! I have made courgette loaves several times before. Here in Canada and the USA, we call courgette zucchini. The flavour reminds me of carrot cake. Thank you for sharing your twist on Nigella's recipe. Wow! You're baking for Christmas already? Do you enjoy drinking a glass of Portuguese port while cooking with it? Nuno and I often buy port. It's lovely! Happy Monday, sweetheart. Happy baking! xo

  7. Don't those look wonderful. I used to bake a zucchini bread--a quick bread, much like carrot bread. Haven't in years. I'll paste the recipe below in case you want to try it. No clue where I got it. Happy Monday!

    Pineapple Zucchini Bread
    3 cups flour
    2 tsp. baking soda
    1 tsp. salt
    ½ tsp. baking powder
    1½ tsp. cinnamon (or more)
    ¾ tsp. nutmeg
    3 eggs
    1 cup salad oil
    2 cups sugar
    2 tsp. vanilla
    2 cups coarsely shredded zucchini
    1 can (8¼ oz.) well drained crushed pineapple
    1 cup chopped walnuts
    1 cup currants or raisins

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour (or spray with Baker’s Secret—not Pam) 2 5x9 loaf pans.

    Combine flour, soda, salt, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg. In another bowl, beat the eggs then add oil, sugar, and vanilla and beat until thick and foamy. Stir in zucchini and pineapple. Gently mix in dry ingredients then stir in walnuts and raising. Blend carefully.

    Bake for an hour until bread tests done. Cool on wire racks. Serve with cream cheese or plain

  8. Oh, wow, I finished reading and had to wipe the drool off my chin. That zucchini cake looks fantastic and those Christmas cakes - something special indeed!! Now I'm hungry... xoxo Silke

  9. I'm definitely going to give the courgette cake a go, although of course it's the vile word 'zucchini' here!! Don't know how I can pass the green off to the kids as not something healthy, maybe say it's lime??!! Anyway will give it a go and let you know. I love fresh tomatoes, I planted some last year and have just done the weeding and seen that there's a new plant coming up which is wonderful, a fresh tomato always reminds me of dear dad and his conservatory grown tomatoes, nothing like that smell is there? Love love love xxxxx


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