As the sun returns after many, chilly autumn like weeks in Wales, it appears we are due 2 days of summer. So after weeks of baking some very unseasonal bakes (there may have been gingerbread), the sudden hit of vitamin D has me inspired again. The windows are agape, letting summer breeze its joy & the scent of freshly cut grass through the house, the fridge has been stocked with every array of salad & berry, the garden furniture has come out of hiding in all is dusty glory, cobwebs & all.
Optimistic as I am, I’m not going as far as to dig out the barbecue & lotion quite yet. Instead, I will bring sunshine to the kitchen & perhaps enjoy my efforts with a pot of earl grey, soaking in the sunlight & peace of the garden. Now, many recipes spring to mind when I think of my favourite season: summer pudding, trifle, cheesecake, scones, pavlova, foraging hedgerows for the perfect blackberries & my attempts at creating something new with the yearly rhubarb crop at the bottom of the garden.
When it comes to cakes of the summer, for me, it has to be one of two things: zesty or seasonal. Whilst these seasonal ingredients include a beautiful, jewelled array of summer berries, it also includes vegetables & with a penchant for vegetable cakes, this season includes three of my favourite culprits: carrots, beetroot & courgettes.
In my little library of recipes (a patent, purple leather notebook full of scribbles, doodles & odd scraps of paper stuffed in), this cake is aptly named courgette cake 6.0, an indication of the multiple attempts, tweaks & perfecting of my favourite courgette recipe. Recipes 1 – 5 have been round, bundt & finally loaf shaped (you’ll notice my slight obsession with loaf tins). This truly is a very simple bake that makes the most of seasonal courgettes. It’s very light, moist & not overly sweet.
COURGETTE LOAF (with elderflower icing)
(makes one 2lb loaf cake)
- 240g plain flour
- 135g caster sugar
- 1 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp cardamom
- zest x1 orange
- 1 egg
- 125ml buttermilk
- 1tsp vanilla
- 135ml rapeseed oil
- 145g courgette (grated & squeezed of excess liquid)
- 45g walnuts (roughly chopped)
For the icing:
- 2 tbsp elderflower cordial
- 1 tbsp sunflower seeds
- Grease & line a 2lb (30cm) loaf tin with baking parchment
- In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, bicarbonate of soda & spices
- In a large enough jug, combine the buttermilk, vanilla, egg, oil & orange zest
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry mixture & combine
- Fold in the grated courgette & walnuts
- Pour the mixture into the tin & bake at 180°C for 50 minutes to 1 hour
- Leave the cake to cool in its tin for 10 minutes before removing & allowing to cool fully on a cooling rackonce cooled, make the icing:
- Combine 2 tbsp of elderflower cordial with enough icing sugar to make a pourable icing
- Drizzle the icing over the cake & sprinkle with the sunflower seeds
(I like use some dried rose petals for a bit of added summer colour)