food to glow

feel good food that's good for you

It’s el scorchio here at casa foodtoglow. Hens are lolling and cats are snoozing -and it’s only 10 am. But someone has to work around here so quick wee post and off to Maggies Centre for green tea and a good chat. My night-time eyeshades (sad, I know) were no match for today’s retina-searing dawn, so the green tea will have to steep a good five minutes to reach the requisite caffeine quotient. I hate having thin eyelids…

This week it’s a walk on the naughty side, but with my usual veg infusion. You may think it odd to whack vegetables into cake, but I bet you like carrot cake, don’t you? And any of you who have made my lower fat chocolate and beetroot cake know such partnerships work (shameless plug). Parsnips, butternut squash and sweet potato  are also pretty good – and pretty. Just ‘root’ around (sorry, it typed itself) in your fridge or garden if you want cakes and muffins with extra moistness, shelf-life, sweetness, fibre, nutrients and flavour. Warm spices such as cinnamon, allspice, cardamom, nutmeg and ginger work well with most vegetable-flecked sweet bakes. But today we are going spiceless and keeping it summery with lemon and elderflower.

As for my choice of courgettes? Well, come mid-July many allotmenteers fear finding marrows in place of courgettes if they skip one day of tending their precious crops. I have it on good authority that after a good dump of rain
you can actually hear them grow. All very Little Shop of Horrors. I don’t have an allotment, but my fantastically green-thumbed friend Warwick always has a glut of courgettes at this time of year. And he kindly brings over as many as I can cope with. I cope beautifully by turning them into fritters, cakes, caponatas and relishes, as well as all the usual suspects. So, before all goes triffid-like – and maybe even if it does – give this little cake a go. Allotment or no.

It’s perhaps too late to make your own elderflower cordial, but if you happen to be reading this in post-2011 June, here’s my easy recipe. Subscribers, I hope you are reaching for your homemade bottle of this early-summer nectar right now. For my US readers who may not have access to elderflower cordial (it seems to be a European thing), I think an equivalent amount of good quality frozen lemonade (defrosted) might be good, but will lack the floral note of elderflower. Or you could just do it with lemon only as described.

This recipe has been a huge hit with my nutrition workshop attendees and I hope you like it too. Remember that although it has a vegetable and lots of soluble and insoluble fibre, there’s no getting away from the fact that this is a cake and should be enjoyed by most of us in moderation. I make it easy on myself by scooping the batter into little muffin papers – perfectly portion-controlled.

Courgette, Lemon and Elderflower Cake

A little slice of summer. Enjoy responsibly!

100g unsalted butter, softened (or low fat margarine, if you must – can’t guarantee result)
125g light muscovado sugar
3 medium eggs, beaten
2 tbsp elderflower cordial (undiluted) OR milk
175 g self-raising flour
50 g porridge oats, ground/processed to fine crumb
1 ¼ tsp baking powder
Grated zest of one unwaxed lemon
300g grated courgette/zucchini (about 2), squeezed in a tea towel to remove excess moisture
1 tbsp poppyseeds (optional)

Glaze
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tbsp elderflower cordial (or more to taste) OR 2 tbsp sugar if not using cordial
heaped tsp poppyseeds

Preheat oven to 180C/350F; butter and line a square (22cm x 22cm) or equivalent volume rectangular pan. Alternatively, lightly oil a muffin tin for 14-16 muffins. Sift the flour and baking powder; stir in the oat crumb.  

Beat the butter and sugar with electric beaters or in a freestanding mixer, until light, pale and fluffy. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs and elderflower. Add one-third of the egg mixture and one-third of the flour and beat well. Add the remaining flour and egg mix in thirds, mixing gently with each addition. With a light hand, fold in the courgettes, zest and seeds and pour into the lined tin. Bake for 25-30 minutes. About eight to ten minutes less for muffins, but check.

At the end of the baking time, stir together the glaze ingredients. Remove the cake from the oven and immediately – and evenly – dribble over the glaze. Allow the glazed cake to cool completely before cutting into squares.      Makes 12 squares of lemony, fibrelicious goodness

One thought on “Courgette, Lemon and Elderflower Cake

  1. narf77 says:

    These look wonderful :). Just the sort of thing to pop into your mouth before you chase them with some nice strong tea before heading out into the garden to do some serious damage to some bolshie weeds :).

If you have time, I would love to hear from you. Thanks so much!

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