Last Sunday I needed a pudding for our lunch and thought about baking something from the Cake chapter of How To Be A Domestic Goddess. My favourite bake so far from that chapter has been the Boston Cream Pie but my eye has also been on the Courgette Cake in the same chapter. The picture of it in the book looked so pretty with the pastel green pistachios sprinkled on top and a pale green layer of lime curd gently seeping out of the middle of the cake. I definitely wanted to give it a try but I knew my family would not be keen on anything with courgettes in it. They hate them with a passion. If I use any courgettes in my cooking they usually get fished out and put on the side of the plate. I hoped, though that in a cake they wouldn’t notice them mixed in with other ingredients. After all they troughed down the Honey and Courgette Loaf baked from The Great British Bake Off Everyday cookbook when I baked it last summer!
Nigella mentions in her recipe introduction that the recipe was actually given to her by Flora Woods who worked in Harrod’s Waterstones when How To Eat was published. She also mentions that “if courgette cake sounds dodgy to you, think about carrot cake for a moment, this is just an adaptation of that (though if you feel it’s safer, don’t tell people it’s made out of courgettes until after they’ve eaten it)!” I reckoned that would work with my family if they were well disguised!
So, last Sunday afternoon in between ironing and cleaning I attempted to wow my family with the pretty cake. Read on to see how I got on with baking it:
Nigella mentions that you can add raisins to the mixture if you want. I didn’t have any, only mixed fruit so I left them out of the cake.
The two cakes were baked in greased and lined 8″ diameter sandwich tins at 180oC for roughly half an hour. This wasn;t a problem and they didn’t look too bad when they came out of the oven. I had my cooled lemon curd ready which wasn’t what I wanted to put in the cake at all after my disastrous attempt at making it earlier!
I’d read somewhere that using low fat cream cheese is a no-no for making frosting with. It just doesn’t work properly but sadly I hadn’t got any full fat cheese so I had to use the low fat stuff. As I mixed up the icing it just wouldn’t thicken and I became so frustrated. The icing was sloppy, gloopy and ran all down the sides of the cake instead of being spread all over the top of it. I was really disappointed in it.
To finish, I grated plain chocolate on top of the cake as I knew my children don’t like pistachios. In the end I think the grated chocolate was the best part of the cake for them!
I brought the cake out at pudding time and my son said “What the hell is that?” I said it was a cake, which it was! When I cut into it, he said “Ugh, it’s got bogies in it!” Both my son and daughter refused to try some and said they would go without. My husband thought it was bits of lime zest in the cake and didn’t think it was courgette in it until after when he said he couldn’t taste any lime! He didn’t like it and neither did I. The lemon curd was very sweet and cloying and I ended up eating two mouthfuls of my cake. I was very disappointed in it.
Sadly the rest of the cake did not get eaten as none of us liked it in the end. In hindsight I should have chosen another cake from the chapter, there was also a heavenly sounding Butterscotch Cake which I should have gone for instead. Oh well, you live and learn!
Love Sam xx