I have an early courgette glut. It is not a proper uber-gardener’s early courgette glut, the kind that you might get if you sowed early, remembered to water your plants occasionally and planted them out under protection. No. This is a garden writer’s courgette glut. I have had to write about having a courgette glut several weeks before I actually have one, so I had to go to the greengrocers and buy courgettes to make myself look glutty in the photos. Insider info, see. I will be hurled out of the Garden Writers’ Circle for telling you that…
So I’ve had all these courgettes knocking about and I had an occasion to make a cake, so I made a courgette cake. The other ingredient that I seem to have a perma-glut of is oranges. They must grow particularly well in the north Somerset region because there is never not an orange in my veg box. So it became a courgette and orange cake. I based the recipe very roughly on the ‘strawberry and cream cupcakes’ from Harry Eastwood’s Red Velvet & Chocolate Heartache book. I have a love/hate relationship with this book. She uses lots of veg in the cakes, and they are very tasty, and she also doesn’t use fat in some of them, making them feel healthy and dietitious, but it is written in the most annoying style imaginable. You will like it if you aspire to be posh and girly and kooky… ugh ugh…
The recipe goes like this:
For the cake mix
2 medium free-range eggs
160g caster sugar
200g topped, tailed, peeled and finely grated courgette
100g rice flour
100g ground almonds
2tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
I also added a few drops of orange essence and the grated rind of one orange to the mixture.
Harry says to whip up the eggs and the sugar for a good four minutes with a whisk first. This turns the mixture slightly merenguey, and is perhaps how you get away without adding fat, maybe *science face*. You then add all the other stuff and mix. I put it into two 8-inch tins and baked at gas mark 4 for about 35 minutes. In the meantime I used up another two oranges by bubbling their juice up with some sugar to make a syrup which I poured on as soon as the cakes came out of the oven, so you could call it a sort of courgette and orange drizzle cake. I had creme fraiche for the filling and topping which I was going to just mix with orange zest, but something went wrong and I ended up having to use normal icing sugar, so the whole thing was slightly sickly sweet in the end.
The occasion was a tea party and dance for my friend and fellow band member Arieh. They hired a hall, got in the wonderful Elly of Pear Cafe and Montpelier Basement fame (who officially pronounced the above cake ‘Delicious’ when pressed for a quote for this very blog) to make the sandwiches and the tea, in beautiful vintage teacups, and the band played and all the guests brought cakes. Here is the hall as we were warming up, complete with bunting. A very special occasion and a lovely way to use up my faux glut. By the time the real thing comes around I will be a dab hand.