It’s been over a week since I last baked – cue much complaining from the friendly pony. As almost always, the request was chocolate cake, but with a ‘secret ingredient’. I’d mentioned various fruit or vegetable based chocolate cakes, including pumpkin, tinned pear, beetroot and courgette, and decided upon courgette because it was something which had intrigued me but I’d never tried before.
I adapted a recipe from the BBG Good Food site, as it had pretty good reviews. I decided to half the quantities (less temptation for me to break my diet if there’s half as much cake) and took out the hazelnuts as I thought it seemed a bit odd. Instead i threw in some ground almonds, because chocolate-almond is another cake I’ve been wanting to do for a while.
I originally planned to make the cake in a 7″ sandwich tin, but as I was pouring it in realised there was no way it was going to fit, so split it between two. They rose up quite well, but took half the recommended time to cook.
The BBC recipe uses a chocolate ganache to ice the cake. I decided instead of buying cream I would use up some creme fraîche I had left over in the fridge. To add a bit of sweetness I used 3 parts dark chocolate 1 part milk, which worked out well.
Due to the unexpected dividing of the mixture between two tins, I also needed to make a filling. I went for a simple chocolate buttercream as the list of flavours was already looking a bit confusing!
A few friends have birthdays coming up, so I decided to use this cake to brush up on my icing skills in preparation. I invested in an actual cake board, as opposed to a plate it barely fits on, and took the time to crumb-coat the outside of the cake before icing, which I can rarely be bothered to do.
I’m glad I did, as it made a MASSIVE difference, it was so much easier! Still a few things I need to improve on for next time though, using some sort of paper to cover the board while icing, and buying a palette knife to spread the icing will make it look a lot nicer.
As for the taste… Well, the secret ingredient surprise was slightly ruined as the pony saw the title as I was writing this. Oops! But it wasn’t obvious at all, unless you looked reeeeally closely and saw the tiny green specks, and you definitely couldn’t taste it.
I’m not sure I’d use almonds if I made it again, but it got a good reaction from the pony and the neighbours, which is good enough for me.
Chocolate Courgette Cake, adapted from BBC Good Food
- 250ml courgettes, grated (this was 2 small courgettes for me)
- 100ml oil (recipe calls for olive oil, i used sunflower)
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 2 small eggs
- 190g caster sugar
- 170g plain flour
- 30g cocoa
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 50g ground almonds
Grate the courgettes into a jug then add the oil, eggs, vanilla and sugar and mixx together. Sift the flour, cocoa and baking powder into a bowl the fold in the courgette mix and the almonds. Pour into whatever greased tin you think it’ll fit in, then bake for anywhere between 20 and 50 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean.
- 30g butter, softened
- 60g icing sugar
- 25g cocoa
Beat the butter and gradually add in the icing sugar and cocoa. Keep beating until it comes together into a buttercream!
Creme Fraîche Chocolate Ganache
- 75g dark chocolate
- 25g milk chocolate
- 100g creme fraîche
Heat the creme fraîche in a saucepan until boiling, then pour over the pieces of chocolate. Mix well until the chocolate is melted, then chill until ready to use. Don’t do what I did (twice) and chill so much that it goes hard and you have to microwave it and start again…
Once all the individual parts are made, place on half of the cake on the cake board and spread the butter icing on top. Place the other cake half on top, then spread a thin layer of the ganache all over to crumb-coat. Leave this in the fridge for 15-20 mins, then spread the remaining ganache all over. Can be served either hot or cold, both are nice!