Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Courgette chocolate cake

I did it! I actually made a cake with courgettes - otherwise known as zucchini. It's a boring vegetable if you ask me, with no real taste of its own. I guess that's a good thing in SOME ways, but if I come across any mushy pieces of courgette in anything I'm eating, I generally set them to one side under the "ick" category, to be avoided. That said, courgettes dont gross me out the way eggplant/brinjals/aubergines do.

I had a surfeit of courgettes thanks to one of the guys in the office who has a smallholding and grows his own vegetables. He must be a pretty good farmer, because he brought enough courgettes for everybody in the office to have at least 3-4 each. It must be nice growing your own veg... but it needs time and effort. Lucky for my colleague that he only works part-time, so I guess he's got both.

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Anyway, after ratatouille one day (forgot to take pix) and courgette-tomato pasta the next, I still had 2 courgettes left and, frankly, I was getting a bit tired of the darn things.

Then while going through my favourite food blogs (as usual), I suddenly remembered "Chocolate & Zucchini"... and that led me to wonder if courgette cake could really be edible. Well, the only way to find out was to make it - and I stuck by my decision despite the barrage of "bleahs" and yarking noises from my colleagues and family. It was a good decision, as it turned out, because the cake was worth it.

I guess the blandness of the courgettes worked in the cake's favour, because it totally took on the flavours of the cocoa and chocolate chunks - so much so, it was easy to forget that there was actual vegetable matter in the cake. All in all, the best way to use up any extra courgettes, in my opinion.

I didnt frost the cake this time, because I used a nut topping. But next time I make this cake, I think I will split it in two (or bake it in two tins) and sandwich it together with chocolate icing - that would be just perfect, methinks.

Recipe for:
Courgette chocolate cake

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2 cups flour
1/2 cup plain cocoa powder (I used Cadbury's)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2-1/4 cups brown sugar (I substituted 1 cup Splenda)
1/2 cup soft butter (I used margarine)
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups finely grated courgette (I left the skin on)
1/2 cup dark chocolate chunks

For the topping:
1/2 cup mix of chopped nuts (I used hazelnuts, brazil nuts and pecans)
1/4 cup brown sugar - (I prefer not to use Splenda here)


1. Heat the oven to 180C (350F). Grease a 9" round cake tin and dust with cocoa powder.

2. Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl.

3. In a bowl, beat the butter/margarine with the sugar/Splenda until fluffy and light. Add the vanilla extract.

4. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well between additions.

5. Reserving 1/2 cup of the flour-cocoa mix, fold in the rest with the egg mixture. The batter will be very thick and difficult to handle, but dont be tempted to add any extra moisture.

6. Once the flour has been incorporated well, toss the grated courgettes and the chocolate chunks with the reserved 1/2 cup flour, then fold it all in. The moisture from the courgettes will make the batter easier to handle.

7. Transfer the batter to the greased and floured baking tin and smooth the top.

8. Mix the topping ingredients together and sprinkle evenly over the top of the cake.

9. Bake for 40-50 minutes or till done (check by inserting a tester or toothpick in 2-3 places to make sure).

10. Take the cake out of the oven but leave it in the tin for 20 minutes. Then unmould and cool completely on a wire rack.

This cake can be split and iced, if desired, and it's also lovely served with chocolate or vanilla icecream.


Mika said...

That sounds delicious Shammi. Great use of boring old zucchini.

Anonymous said...

I know :) Not an original idea, of course... but I'm pleased I tried it out! :)P

Nupur said...

sounds so good! eat dessert and get ur fiber all at the same time ;)
BTW I got hold of this really yummy zucchini cornbread recipe...will blog about it soon. Another way to use up zucchini u know.

Anonymous said...

Nupur... will wait for your zucchini cornbread recipe - I LURRVE cornbread :)

tanvi said...

that looks surprisingly good! im not a huge fan of zucchini, but anything chocolate appeals to me :-D

pk said...

Zucchini and cake i could never imagine. Look yummy.

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