courgette & orange blossom cake
One of the best things about the summer seasons is all the delicious summer vegetables and fruits from my parents garden. While these homegrown delicacies are great cooked up in traditional Bangladeshi Bhaajis (sautés & stir-fries) and stews, I'm a also a huge fan of using some in baking. Fussy, over-handled cakes have never appealed to me, and I've always chosen taste over style when it comes to baking. A little incidental, or planned decoration - usually frosting and a sprinkling of nuts/rose petals is about as far as I go.
This super easy and utterly delicious cake was inspired by a cake I tried several years ago, made by one of my Dad's old allotment friends. While the cake I tried was very good I wasn't too keen on the overly courgette-y flavour of it. Though some might say that is the point of vegetable cakes I prefer my vegetable cakes to be subtle. Of course I've added spice to this (was there ever a doubt!), a scant sprinkling of ground cardamom and a more generous one of cinnamon. There's also a base of vanilla - however the main courgette pairing here is the undeniable flavour and fragrance of orange blossom extract. Courgettes have a mild, fresh taste which makes them a great to carrier of spices and a perfect partner to orange blossom.
250g grated courgettes
200g golden caster sugar
150ml vegetable oil
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp ground cinnamom
1 tsp vanilla extract
A few drops of orange blossom extract
3 medium eggs
225g self-raising flour
1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
Pre-heat your oven to 160 fan.
Grease and line a deep 9 inch cake tin and set aside.
In a mixing bowl whisk together the oil and sugar and incorporate the eggs, one by one. Add the spices and orange blossom extract and blend everything together until you have a smooth mix. Switch to a wooden spoon and mix the courgette with the wet ingredients.
In a separate bowl, mix together the flour and bicarbonate of soda with a whisk. Slowly add the flour into the wet ingredients and mix until combined.
Pour into your prepared tin and bake for 50-60 minutes, until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Cool for an hour in the tin, remove and serve with tea.