I had a couple of things in mind for my next Clandestine Cake Club meeting (our theme was fruit and vegetables) but I didn't really want to make a carrot cake as I thought that was quite obvious. So I turned to a recipe book I knew wouldn't disappoint:
Red Velvet Chocolate Heartache by Harry Eastwood is a brilliant book with a bit of a twist; each and every recipe contains vegetables! From parsnips, to carrots, potatoes, turnips, butternut squash and courgettes.
I uhmmed and ahhhed about what to make and settled on the birthday cake, mainly because it kind of has both fruit and veg in it - courgette in the batter and raspberry jam in the middle!
Some people get a bit weird when you tell them you are baking courgette into a cake. It doesn't bother me in the slightest even though I am a really fussy eater, but it genuinely is a lovely cake. Really flavourful and moist (sorry, that is a horrible word!). I adapted the recipe quite a bit to suit me and what I had in my cupboards. I used 2 20cm tins and made a simple layer cake.
For the cake:
4 large free range organic eggs
200g caster sugar
400g topped and tailed finely grated courgette
220g plain flour
140g ground almonds
3 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
Harry does quite a runny icing, which I didn't like the first time around so I have used a standard buttercream instead.
For the buttercream:
250g icing sugar (if I can't be bothered to sift it, I stick it in the bowl and whisk gently with a balloon whisk)
80g butter at room temperature
dash of vanilla extract
For the filling
200g jam - I use raspberry as it is my fave!
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C, then grease and line your cake pans (I only ever line the bottom of mine and and just grease the sides).
2. Beat together the eggs and sugar for 5 minutes - they will turn pale and frothy. Carefully add your grated courgettes and beat until combined. Add the vanilla extract and beat until combined. Then add the flour, ground almonds, baking powder and salt. Beat until the mixture comes together.
3. Divide the batter between your pans and cook in the middle of the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes.
4. Cool the cakes in the pans for 10 minutes, then remove and place on a cooling rack until completely cold.
5. To make the buttercream beat the icing sugar and butter together slowly so it makes as little mess as possible. When it starts to come together, slowly add the milk and vanilla. Then beat on a medium-high speed for 5 minutes until light and fluffy.
6. To put the cake together, put the flattest layer on the bottom of your plate or cakestand. Neatly spread half of the buttercream on this layer, next adding a neat spreading of jam. Once happy with this, place the second cake on top. Spread the remaining buttercream on the top and decorate.
So here is the finished cake:
It went down really well and I've been asked for the recipe a couple of times already! Have you made a cake with vegetable in it? What veg did you use?