When I saw this recipe, I had to make it. My curiosity was running wild - courgettes? Olive oil? Mixed spice? Really?
At least it had ganache on top. I get ganache. It makes sense.
One of the ways the copious amounts of baked goods I create get eaten here at home is my mum's pupils. Who wouldn't want a slice of chocolate cake in a break from a maths lesson?
This cake caused a few stirs. Mum didn't tell them what was in it. Little Isabella was asked to guess the ingredients in the cake as part of her science lesson and was absolutely horrified to find out that she had really enjoyed eating a cake made with not just courgettes (bleugh) but olive oil! Her mind was reeling with what her senses had told her and her hatred of courgettes. I felt pretty awful at this point - I hadn't meant to feed anyone something they hated - though she enjoyed it... All very confusing.
You really can't taste any of these slightly odd ingredients in the cake (even when you know they're there!) It's just moist, tasty and not too rich. I nearly took the hazelnuts out - they looked a bit random - but instead trusted the recipe and was very glad I didn't.
The wet ingredients (and not-wet-yet sugar) looked quite pretty all layered up... until you mixed them. This isn't a looker of a cake mix, trust me. Isabella suggested that this next photo would put everyone off eating it or making it and my blog in general (please don't run away!). It rises a fair amount in the oven - more than I imagined it would.
As another one of mum's pupils commented - surely this counts as one of your five-a-day?
Well, maybe not. But it's pretty good anyway.
Courgette Chocolate Cake(from Good Food magazine, July 2010)
For the cake:
170g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
30g cocoa powder
1/2 tsp mixed spice
90ml extra virgin olive oil
190g light brown sugar
1 1/2 eggs*
1 tsp vanilla extract
250ml courgettes, finely grated
70g whole hazelnuts (skin on is fine)
Preheat the oven to 160C (fan)/180C. Toast the hazelnuts lightly in the oven and then roughly chop them. Finely grate the courgettes (I needed two small ones) into the measuring jug. In another bowl combine the flour, cocoa, mixed spice and a pinch of salt. Add the olive oil, eggs, vanilla and sugar into the jug and mix well. Add to the bowl and mix to combine with the dry ingredients. Fold in the hazelnuts and then pour into a prepared tin - I used a 6", but you could easily use another tin. Bake for about 40-50 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for ten minutes before turning out.
For the icing:
100g dark chocolate
50ml double cream
Break the chocolate up into small pieces and put it in a small bowl. Heat the cream until nearly boiling and then pour over the chocolate. Leave for a few minutes then stir until thick and glossy. Leave to cool slightly before pouring over the cake.
(Serves about 10)
(* As I halved the recipe, I just added one egg then beat another and pour half into the mixture. My dogs love eggs so I gave them the rest. Otherwise you can just double the recipe.)