Friday, October 23, 2015

Chocolatey Courgette Cake

I can hear you now: Courgette, eewwwww.  Look, if it tasted horrible, do you really think I'd bake it, never mind share the recipe with you?  My first taste of courgette was as a kid tasting very exotic Zucchini Bread from an American friend of my parents.  I'll be honest, I ate it before I knew what it contained because it smelled of sugar and spice and all things nice.  Also, we didn't have a clue what a zucchini was, never mind a courgette because vegetables in my day either came in a tin or from the back garden (peas, spuds & carrots).  As time has progressed along with my taste buds, courgettes are one of my favourite vegetables.  So far I've written recipes for soup, cake, spaghetti (before spiralisers were trendy), fritters, and a really tasty vegetable gratin.  Last week I was gifted a beautiful, homegrown, impressive looking courgette as a birthday gift and I wanted to create something unexpected from it.

When I broached the subject of Zucchini Bread in work, the squeals of horror were almost bordering on hysteria so I needed a cunning plan.  Chocolate.  It makes everything taste so much better and by using both cocoa and chocolate chunks here with a dash of espresso powder to ramp up the chocolate flavour, it's a cake that anybody would love a slice of.  Even the vegetable haters.  And kids. By the way, this recipe makes two 2lb cakes because my courgette was huge.  Feel free to halve it.  Or just freeze the other cake for later.

Chocolatey Courgette Cake

450g Courgettes, trimmed, washed, cored & shredded
250g Plain Flour
80g Cocoa Powder
1.5 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Instant Coffee (or Espresso Powder)
220g Chocolate Chips
2 Eggs, at room temperature
1 tbsp Vanilla Extract
120ml Rapeseed Oil
120ml Sour Cream
200g Caster Sugar

Preheat your oven to 170c / Gas Mark 4.  Line two 2lb loaf tins with paper liners or greaseproof paper

Get a large plate, put 4 sheets of kitchen paper on it, place the grated courgette on the paper and another 4 sheets of kitchen paper on top.  You won't believe the moisture that comes out, even though you've removed the wooly core!

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, cocoa powder, bicarb, baking powder, salt, coffee & chocolate chips all together.

In a food mixer, or another large bowl, beat the eggs, vanilla, oil & sour cream together until smooth.  Fold the flour mix into the egg mix until well combined.

Now mix in the courgette, making sure it's really well coated in the chocolate cake batter.

Pour into the two prepared cake tins and bake for 45-55 minutes until a skewer comes out clean.

Remove from the oven & cool in the tin for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack.  This cake is moist and crammed with chocolate, so it will keep for up to a week in a sealed container.  The beasts in the office fell upon this like locusts and it was gone within the hour!

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