When we were chez nous in our little French house in early October, we went out one day and on arriving home we found a food parcel on our doorstep.
This is not unusual. When ever we visit friends in the village we rarely come away empty handed and all visitors arrive with gifts of food. Sometimes this will be home-made jams or chutneys. Often it will be armfuls of produce from the garden.
On this occasion it was a little box of tomatoes and peppers, some chard and courgettes from our friends Tim and Pauline who had called when we were out.
There were some round and some long courgettes. I immediately had an urge to make a chocolate courgette cake, which I had made a few times before. My recipe came from a friend who used to live in France but my only copy was back home in England. So I went down to the tourist office in the village to use their public computer to find another one.
After a bit of Googling around, I found this recipe. It was for a huge cake that serves 24. I don’t have a baking tin of the right dimensions in my little French kitchen so I literally halved the ingredients and used a 22cm round spring-form cake tin. It seemed to work. I used the courgettes left for us by Tim and Pauline and windfall walnuts from the many trees around the village.
Apart from shelling and chopping the walnuts and grating the courgettes, the cake took very little time to make. There was no beating of eggs or sifting of flour, although I did give the flour a bit of a whisk to aerate it a little.
The cake was very dark and moist. You could not taste the courgette at all and in fact there was absolutely no sign of it – no little green flecks to give the game away. It was just a very pleasantly chocolatey cake, not too sweet. It would have been delicious covered in a cream cheese topping if you like it a bit sweeter but I just dusted it with icing sugar and served it au nature.
Unfortunately I was so keen to see what it tasted like that I forgot to take a picture until after I had cut myself a small slice. But anyway, it was lovely. And a good way to use up a glut of courgettes or fool the kids into eating vegetables.
CHOCOLATE COURGETTE CAKE
this makes a 22cm round cake
125g plain flour
190g caster sugar
35g cocoa powder
1 teaspoons bicarb of soda
½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
175 ml vegetable oil
170g grated courgette*
45g chopped walnuts
First, grate your courgettes. I read somewhere that this is best done by hand – if you blitz them in a food processor it may be quicker but they come out too wet.
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease and line a 22 cm baking tin.
Put all the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl and stir together.
Add the eggs and oil and mix well.
Fold in the nuts and courgettes until evenly distributed.
Pour the mixture into the cake tin and level the surface.
Bake for around 40 minutes. (The recipe for the full size cake says 50-60 minutes, so best to check after 35-40.) Cool completely before dusting with icing sugar to serve. Would also be nice iced with a cream cheese frosting or drizzled with water icing to glam it up.