Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Random Recipes Challenge: Nigella's Courgette Cake

Random Recipes #4 - May

This is officially only my second foray into the world of Food Blogger Challenges.

Cue a trumpet fanfare! Exploding fireworks! Rather a little bit of trepidation and terror...!

My second challenge comes courtesy of Dom at Belleau Kitchen's brilliant Random Recipes Challenge . I high fived myself: I'd joined as the Random Recipe wheel of fortune rested this month on all cake-related books. 98% of my books are about cakes and bakes. Don't judge me, we just eat very few savoury things.

So I got A to spread out all the books in a circle around me and spin me round in the style of a game of Spin the bottle (Spin the Kate? It'll never catch on). When I stopped spinning (and ahem, feeling dizzy and just a little bit nauseous), I was pointing to Nigella Lawson's 'How to Be a Domestic Goddess'. Bingo!

I opened the book randomly and it opened at Page 18: Courgette Cake.


Trust me to open the page with a cake recipe with a bloomin' vegetable in it.

You see, I am inherently distrustful of vegetables and cake together*. It just doesn't seem right.

I remained very suspicious baking this cake, stating quite clearly out loud to the courgette in question that I simply didn't trust it in a cake and really I ought to making a nice frittata out of it.

And the verdict?

I take it all back vegetables. Sometimes, you and cake aren't a bad combination at all.

NB: I blatantly didn't leave the cake in the oven for long enough- the centre was most definitely not cooked. So I did what I always do when this occurs and I cut out the middle and pretended it was all part of the masterplan.

Courgette Cake
(Nigella Lawson; adapted a little)


250g courgettes, grated using course side of box grater
2 large eggs
125ml vegetable oil
150g caster sugar
225g self-raising flour
1/2 teaspoon bicarb
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
200g full fat cream cheese
juice of 1 lime
100g sieved icing sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/Fan 160C/Gas Mark 4
2. Grate the courgettes with the coarse side of a grater, then turn them into a sieve over the sink to remove excess water
3. Beat the eggs, oil and sugar in bowl until nice and creamy
4. Sieve in flour, bicarb and baking powder and beat until well combined
5. Stir in courgette
6. Pour into tins and bake for 30 minutes until slightly browned and firm to touch
7. To make the cream cheese icing - mix the ingredients in a bowl, placing in the fridge if you like to firm up then spread over the cake

Baker's notes...
  • The cake was super moist and freezes very well wrapped tightly in clingfilm, then a freezer bag or two
  • Nigella adds a layer of lemon or lime curd to fill between the two layers and chops a bunch of pistachio nuts on top of the icing to decorate
  • Nigella also suggests you can turn the into muffins if you wish- cooking the same mixture in muffin tins and when they are cooked and cooled, cutting them in half, plonking a dollop of cream cheese icing in the middle and pouring hot curd over the top

* With the sole exception of Carrot Cake: doesn't count in my vegetable-and-cake-together hating ways. Infact, it is almost always in my Top 3 Best Ever Cakes Chart.


  1. I'm also suspicious of vegetables in cakes and need to just take the plunge and try other veggies in cake other than carrot!

    This courgette cake does look delish, especially with the icing!


  2. great stuff kate... but come on now, you must try more baking with veg its simply genius... check out my chocolate and beetroot cake which is sublime and stays moist for over a week... simply brilliant!!... thanks so much for taking part x

  3. I think my using vegetables in cakes is a bit like heading into a very cold swimming pool- at first, you pop a toe in, not entirely convinced (its bloomin freezing after all) but once you've summoned up the courage to dive in, its worthwhile! I will definately be trying your chocolate and beetroot recipe Dom. I think I've always been put off the idea by the fact the first contestant to be booted off The Great British Bake Off last year baked chocolate and beetroot cake... But I like the fact it stays moist over a whole week, thanks for the tip!

  4. Hey, I can't believe that vegetables and cakes mix either...but I am glad you went against that voice in your head!:) I bet this beats any frittate at any time, eh?? Veggie cake...hmmmm....healthy and you have vegs in them, not really guilty of pleasure indulgence anymore right?:P

  5. Wow looks great, I'd like a slice please :) I love baking with vegetables - carrot, courgette, beetroot. Everyone usually goes ugh when you mention whats in it but then change their minds after they try it!

  6. Christy: You are absolutely right, I somehow convinced myself that it was a 'healthy' cake, and ate the whole lot myself over the course of four days (I'm not sure I should be revealing my gluttony!)

    Baking Addict: I must absolutely take the plunge and embrace the vegetable- I think chocolate and beetroot is next on the list!

  7. Wow - I love your tip for cutting out the middle - it looks so good as a ring!

  8. Yep, I was distrustful of courgette and cake, but my chocolate version was amazing!

    I did notice the cake needed longer in the oven, due to the moisture content of the courgette, mine wasnt too bad as I drained some liquid before with a piece of cloth.


Thank you very much for your comment- I appreciate every single one of them!