Sunday, 5 July 2015

Baking mad: Courgette / Zucchini Cake recipe and Irish Soda Bread

Another Credit Crunch Munch post today because I am entering my
Courgette Cake (or Zucchini Cake for American speakers!) for July's link up. Credit Crunch Munch was the brainchild of Helen at Fuss Free Flavours and Camilla at Fab Food 4 All, and this month's round is being hosted by Camilla. Take a look at her blog where she posted a supermarket fresh produce haul that is a good basketful and all for 24p! Now that is frugal shopping!

However, before we get to my frugal cakey dessert, I have also been
Irish soda bread 
baking loaves of a completely new-to-me yeast-free bread over the past couple of weeks. I first saw this Irish Soda Bread recipe on Julie's Family Kitchen blog when we were in Spain in March and it took me until June to try it out. I can't believe I waited so long as it has lots of flavour and is much quicker than a yeast bread. If, as I did, you have trouble finding buttermilk locally, follow Nigella's advice and mix 150ml of Greek yoghurt with 150ml of ordinary milk instead. I used Fage Total which is authentically Greek and, let's face it, their economy needs all the help it can get right now! The soda bread goes perfectly with homemade veggie soups (several recipes here), or strongly flavoured cheeses and tangy jam.

Irish soda bread 

And if you've still got room after eating all that bread, how about baking a Courgette Cake for afternoon tea? I love vegetable cakes because they are reliably moist and tasty as well as being a great way to use up veg box surpluses. This cake calls for a small courgette, but obviously half the large courgette left over from last night's dinner will do just as well. They are in season throughout the summer and, as we know from when we grew a few plants one year, once they start producing there is an incredible glut in no time. Make friends with neighbourhood gardeners who may well be glad to let you take as many courgettes as you can carry! The ingredients below are sufficient for a standard sized loaf tin.

Courgette Cake 
125g butter
225g brown sugar
2 eggs
175g self-raising flour (or plain flour including 3 tsp baking powder)
2 tsp mixed spice
2 tbsp orange juice
1 small courgette
40g sultanas

Preheat the oven to 180c and grease a loaf tin. If preferred, you can line the tin with baking paper and then grease it to make removing the baked cake easier.

Grate the courgette onto a plate. I don't peel the courgette as I think the little green flecks are pretty in the finished cake. If you are trying to hide all veggie evidence though, you might want to do this.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and eggs then stir in the two eggs.

Add the flour and mixed spice and stir in to combine.

Add the orange juice and stir in. Last time I made this we didn't have orange juice so I used Mango and Papaya instead. It worked just as well.

Stir in the grated courgette and sultanas.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared loaf tin. Don't worry when the mixture is stiffer than a usual cake mixture. The courgette will release water during its cooking.

Bake at 180c for 50 minutes to one hour. Test by inserting a skewer into the cake. If it comes out clean, the cake is cooked through. If your cake starts to darken too much on top before it has completely cooked through, cover it with a piece of aluminium foil.

Once out of the oven, leave to cool a little before turning out onto a wire rack. The cake is delicious both warm and cold. Serve in slices alongside a good cup of tea!

Slice of Courgette Cake 

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