The best thing about this time of the year is all the veg and fruit that everyone has been growing is ready to harvest. Family and friends seem to have so much homegrown produce that they can’t keep up with the rate in which things are ripening.
Once their freezers and pantries are full of chutney, jams and frozen fruit and veg they start off loading to their nearest and dearest. I love this time of year and my parents always send me home with a huge bag of produce that cuts my shopping bill in half.
This week I have not yet benefited from my parents garden, but I from some of my friends. A large bag of beetroot and courgettes were delivered to my office at the beginning of the week, and along with the produce was some recipes ideas on how to use them. One that caught my eye was an interesting cake one that was gluten free in this months Waitrose magazine. My instant reaction was ‘seriously’ but reading through the article it made sense. The vegetable would make the cake light and add moisture to a gluten free flour which many people who follow a gluten free diet will understand how important extra moisture is when baking.
So, I was about to do something that I have never done before and that was to put two of my favourite ingredients together and never in my life did I think I would be doing it.
This cake was going to be an experiment and to make it even more experimental I was going to use a new gluten free flour that I had never tested. I literally had everything crossed as this cake went into my oven.
The flour that I used was made by Glutafin and it was a multipurpose white mix. I have never used an multipurpose flour before. The texture of it was very fine, I added some raising ingredients to it as I was not sure how much of a rise it would give without it being a multipurpose flour. My verdict on the flour was that it was good, the cake was light and fluffy and the crumb structure seemed OK. I was right to add the raising agent as well as some xantham gum. I would buy this flour again.
The verdict on the chocolate cake with courgettes… Amazing. The texture was light and fluffy. The taste was rich and sweet and the richness of the chocolate was balanced out with the sweetness of the courgettes. It’s an indulgent cake and one slice was more than enough.
My taste testers loved the cake and could not find a bad thing to say about it. They were unsure at first but the words delicious and amazing were used several times in one sentence by everyone who tasted it. One taste tester said: “It was delicious and the chocolate cream was sinful.”
I would recommend this cake to you. Give it ago and I bet you will never want to made a chocolate cake again without courgettes in.
This recipe has been adapted from a recipe from the Waitrose magazine and from ‘Red Velvet and Chocolate heartache’ by Harry Eastwood.
Ingredients: For the cake
Vegetable oil for greasing baking tins
100g shelled pistachio nuts
180g light brown muscovado sugar
300g courgettes, peeled, deseeded and finely grated
120g gluten free (GF) self raising flour or all purpose gluten free flour
60g coco powder
1 1/2 teaspoons of gluten free baking powder (Only if you are using all purpose flour. No need for self raising flour)
1 teaspoon of xantham gum
1/4 teaspoon salt
For the icing:
100g unsalted butter, cubed
150g icing sugar
60g coco powder
3 tablespoons of tepid water
Pistachio nuts for decoration
1. Preheat your oven to 180 oC or gas mark 4. Line 2 18cm sandwich tins with baking paper and brush a little vegetable oil around the sides.
2. Blitz the pistachios until they are fine and powder like and then set aside.
3. Whisk the eggs and sugar with an electric whisk for 2 minutes until they are pale and fluffy. Now add the courgette and blitzed pistachios and mix together.
4. Add the flour, xantham gum, salt and baking powder if you are using all purpose GF flour. mix until all combined, but do not over mix as you will over work the flour and the texture of the cake will be affected.
5. Split the mixture evenly between the baking tins and bake in the middle of your oven for 30 minutes. Use a knife or a skewer to check that the cakes are baked. Your knife or skewer should come out clean.
6. Once the cakes are cooked, remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes before turning onto a cooling/wire rack. Leave the paper on the cakes until the cakes are almost cooled. Once almost cool, peel the paper away.
7. Once the cakes are completely cool you can make the icing and topping for the cake. For the icing beat the butter until soft and pale. If you have an electric whisk or mixer do it in this. Once the butter is pale and soft add the icing sugar and coco powder and water and mix together. Mix on a low speed to start with otherwise all the icing sugar and coco powder will go all over place.
8. When you are ready to ice your cake place one half of the cake on a serving plate or board. Make sure that the underside (flat part) of the cake is now the top and the top is the bottom. Spread half of the icing mixture on the underside of the cake and now sandwich the other cake on top. The underside of this cake should be on top of the other cake. Now spread the other half of the icing on the top of the cake. Sprinkle with some pistachio nuts and place in the fridge for 20 minutes before serving.
Happy gluten free baking 🙂