Friday, 23 August 2013

Chocolate Courgette Cake

    My friends, it's time for me to leave you for a while. The RJ summer holiday is upon me (it's been a long time coming)  combining the heady weekend that is CarFest South, followed by a week on the mid-Wales coast (don't say a word). But I couldn't leave you without one last courgette-y flourish.

    Peeking out from the tin - don't be shy now!

    The southern venue for CarFest - the brain child of Chris Evans, raising money for Children in Need - is literally on our doorstep at the fabulous Laverstoke Park Farm.  As 'local' residents, we were lucky enough to get first dibs on tickets, and most of our friends will be there. It'll be almost like a village fete, but with everything on a much bigger scale. The kids are looking forward to the bouncy castle city, sing along Jungle Book, the Dancing Diggers, Keane & Scouting for Girls. The Husband is looking forward to the cars, the aeroplanes and The Wurzels. I'm looking forward to fantastic food generally, the Best of British Tent in particular, a silent disco, and the various musical delights of Texas, Keane, Amy MacDonald, Scouting for Girls and Jools Holland. Nothing edgy or out there (we're not talking Glasto, Reading or the Isle of Wight here) but hopefully brilliant family entertainment. And as you can see - something for everyone.

    By the way, after my rant about the Great British Bake Off, earlier this year, I thought it was only ethical and right that I refrained from entering Cakes v Pies which will be judged by no less than Mary Berry & the Silver Fox himself, Paul Hollywood. Besides, moral highground aside, I'd like to have a couple of drinks and a boogy and not have to worry about soggy bottoms...

    That's not to say there isn't cake knocking around the RJ house this weekend. We have 2 lots of friends coming to stay with us for the weekend to join in the jollification, and with the recent rain we've had, the courgettes have put in some more action. There was only one thing for it.

    Chocolate Courgette Cake

    The original recipe got mixed reviews on the Good Food website - as I read down, I felt excited that I would be producing a culinary marvel, and then as the reviews continued, I felt less encouraged, but I made my own tweaks, and soldiered on to produce what I think is a pretty good cake, especially considering it used up 2 courgettes. You might think the addition of custard powder is a bit random, and indeed it was. I didn't have enough cocoa, and then I thought it might make the cake a little less chocolatey if I added in some custard powder as a substitute. In the end, well, I'm not sure if it added anything or just made up the measurement. Give it a go and see what you think.

    One caveat - I'm not entirely sure my scales were working right when I made this (which is one of the reasons why I've included the link to the original recipe), but this is what I think I used...

    It's not a beautiful looking cake in its unadorned state, but looks aren't everything, as I've said before, and once slathered in some chocolate icing, well, does it really matter?

    350g self-raising flour 
    35g cocoa powder
    15g custard powder
    1 tsp mixed spice 
    250g caster sugar
    500ml grated courgettes (measure by volume in a measuring jug, but it's about 2 medium courgettes; if using 1 overgrown one, peel first and take out seeds)
    175ml vegetable oil 
    3 eggs  
    160g toasted unsalted pistachios roughly chopped

    100g dark chocolate
    50ml double cream

    Line a 23cm cake tin with greaseproof paper.

    Combine the flour, cocoa powder , custard powder, mixed spice and caster sugar togeter in a bowl.

    Squeeze the grated courgette to get the liquid out, then mix together with the vegetable oil, and eggs.

    Combine the wet and dry ingredients, then stir through the pistachios. Scrape the (surprisingly thick - which is why I wonder about my scales) batter into the prepared cake tin and bake for between 45 minutes-1 hr till a skewer comes out clean.

    Not a partcularly attactive cake...

      When cool, make the icing - break the chocolate into a bowl, then heat the cream till hot but not boiling. Tip the hot cream over the chocolate and stir till melted and combined. Leave the icing to cool and thicken up, then spread over the cake.

    but with icing, who cares??



    1. Plus cakes versus pies requires TWO of everything, very uncivilized. Might be there a bit later than my maundering hoard this evening - save me some!

      1. Don't worry Toby - it's quite a big cake! See you soon x

    2. Have a wonderful time. Don't eat too much and come back with cake!

    3. Sounds as though you are in for a good few days - have fun. If your cake is half as good as the one I just made (she says modestly) it will go down remarkably well. In fact, with the addition of pistachios, I expect it's heaps better than mine.

    4. Whoo! Enjoy, and go and look out for the Warner Edwards gin stall at CarFest - try their elderflower gin, it's just lovely. And then get yourself a visit to their distillery and I'll come and meet you :) plan! Love the addition of the pic by the way, nice to put a face to a blog x

    5. beautifully chocolaty rich cake,courgette adds so much tenderness,we love adding them to our cakes too...delicious :-)


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