Ok, one more zucchini recipe. I’m not obsessed, I swear, we just have a lot of zucchini growing in the garden. Matt’s sister Hayli made this zucchini cake (AKA courgette cake) for us when we visited her in France (I know you’re feeling SO sorry for us right now) and it was fantastic. Very summery from the lemon curd and the zucchini keeps the cake extremely moist. I adapted it from Nigella Lawson’s How to be a Domestic Goddess. We usually make it with green zucchini which gives the cake delightful green flecks throughout, but we’re growing yellow zucchini so that’s what I’ve used.
I’ve changed the recipe a bit, almost doubling the amount of zucchini and leaving out the raisins (which I hate, devil’s freckles, I call them). As long as you wring out the zucchini pretty well, the cake can really handle it. I’ve also added vanilla extract which I put in almost everything baked.
I used a 9″ cake pan instead of the 8″ since that’s what I had, so my cakes are a little wider and thinner than they would otherwise be. One thing I should probably mention is that the top cake always slides around when I try to frost it, making the lemon curd ooze out more than is optimal. I could probably solve this by putting less filling in the middle but that just seems…wrong, so I just go with it and allow it to be a little messy. If you really want cake filled perfection, you could insert chop sticks or thin dowels in the cake to stabilize it before frosting. I haven’t tried this, but might give it a go next time. I’ll update if it works.
Zucchini cake – Adapted from Nigella Lawson
FOR THE CAKE
- 1 1/4 lbs green or yellow zucchini (3-4 medium), weighed before grating
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 ½ cups self-rising cake flour
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 2 8×2-inch cake pans, greased and lined with parchment or wax paper
FOR THE FILLING
- Use this recipe for Seriously Lemony Lemon Curd or use a good jarred one.
FOR THE ICING
- 7 ounces cream cheese
- ½ cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice (depending on taste and how runny you like it)
- 2 – 3 tablespoons chopped pistachio nuts
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Grate zucchini (don’t peel them) using a food processor fitted with the grating blade or the coarse side of a box grater. Don’t go too fine or they can turn into a wet mush. When you’ve grated them, put them in a sieve over the sink to drain. If they seem very wet, you can squeeze the liquid out with a tea towel.
Put the eggs, oil, vanilla, and sugar in a bowl and beat them until creamy. Sift in the flour, baking soda, and baking powder and continue to beat until well combined. Now stir in the grated zucchini. Pour the mixture into the pans, and bake for 30 minutes until slightly browned and firm to the touch. Leave in their pans on a rack for 5 – 10 minutes, then turn out and let cool on the rack until your filling and icing are ready.
If you don’t want to make the lemon curd, then just buy a good jarred one. You’ll need about 1½ cups, depending on how thick you want the filling to be.
To make the cream-cheese icing for the top, beat the cream cheese in a bowl until smooth, add the confectioners’ sugar, beating well to combine, and then stir in the lemon juice to taste. Now get your cakes ready for assembling. Put one cake on the plate and spread with completely cooled lemon curd. Put on the top cake and smear it thickly with the cream-cheese icing. The icing will firm up if it’s chilled. Scatter chopped pistachios over the top of the zucchini cake just before serving to keep them crunchy.