- Food & Drink
The height of summer is here and courgettes march upon us like vegetable agents of the devil. If you grow them, then you’ll know how it feels to scrape up the last spoonful of a big cheesy gratin and think: “I’ve finished the last of the courgettes – I have triumphed!” only to wake up the next morning and find more of the tubby green tubes hanging from the plant. They are relentless in their fecundity.
Outmaneuvering the courgettes, so they don’t get left on the plant, getting fat, pulpy and tasteless, or abandoned in the vegetable drawer growing a fuzzy grey beard, is hard work. There are gratins, miscellaneous pasta meals, frittatas, frying them as side dishes, steaming them as side dishes and then… and then what do you do? When they won’t stop producing more and more courgettes and your kitchen is overrun, what do you do?
You turn to cake.
This moist, sweet cake is perfect for afternoon tea on a warm summer day, when you can sit out in the garden and eyeball the courgette plants. I made it in a 20cm round cake tin, but I think that was too big and it would work better in a loaf tin.
Courgette and apple cake
250g courgette, coarsely grated
150g self raising flour
150g caster sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
200g sweet dessert apple, cored and grated
2 medium eggs, beaten
50ml fruity extra virgin olive oil plus extra for greasing
1 Place the grated courgette in a colander and sprinkled with a small pinch of salt. Put a plate on top, weigh down with a tin and leave for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to gas mark 4/180°C/fan oven 160°C. Lightly grease a 450g loaf tin with olive oil and line the base with baking parchment.
2 Sift the flour, sugar, cinnamon and bicarbonate of soda into a large mixing bowl and stir with a whisk to mix. Squeeze any excess moisture from the courgettes and add them to the flour with the apple and sultanas. Stir to mix – you should have a fairly wet mixture.
3 Beat the eggs and oil together and stir into the cake mixture. Scrape into the cake tin and bake for 45 minutes–1 hour until risen and firm. A skewer inserted into the middle should come out clean. Turn the cake out and cool on a wire rack. Store in an airtight tin for 2–3 days/eat straight away.