I find baking the most enjoyable, relaxing and calming activity. Its like my therapy, I can loose myself for hours in the kitchen. I get in the baking zone and forget everything else. This week has been one of those weeks, it has been pretty rubbish for several reasons (I shan’t bore you with the gory details) so I was just itching to get baking. I also really enjoy running and working out (Sadly, no matter how hard I wish, cake is never going to be calorie free) which I also find is good for the soul but nothing beats some bonding time with the Kitchenaid with Radio 2 in the back ground. The whole process of sitting down with a pile of books trying to find or create the perfect recipe, then measuring, making and baking. It requires all your concentration for those couple of hours and then, at the end you have created something lush that you can share with someone who deserves it (or, if it has been one of those weeks, just grab a fork and scoff it on your own. Note: Several runs needed after this). So next time you are feeling down or just need a little pick me up, don’t reach for the vodka, pick up your apron and get baking!
This is a perfect, seasonal cake for using courgettes. They are super cheap at the shops right now or if you are lucky enough to be able to grow your own, they should be in abundance. This cake will freeze well (without the icing) too so you can make now in bulk if you have many to use up. Slice and freeze on the day you make it and keep in the freezer up to three months. The poppy seeds give a lovely crunchy texture and it is super moist with the lemon syrup. Both the lemons and courgettes taste so fresh,it is an ultimate Spring bake!
Courgette, lemon and poppy seed cake
- 2 large eggs
- 125ml vegetable oil
- 100g soft brown sugar
- 350g courgettes, coarsely grated
- 300g plain flour
- Zest of 3 unwaxed lemons
- 50g poppy seeds
- ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
- ½ tsp baking powder
Lemon sugar syrup
- Juice 2 lemons
- 50g caster sugar
Lemon mascarpone icing
- 200g mascarpone cheese
- 100g unsalted butter, room temprature
- Zest of 3 unwaxed lemons plus juice of one
- 150g icing sugar
- 20g poppy seeds for decoration (optional)
- Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Butter and line a 2lb loaf tin or an 8 inch round cake tin with baking parchment.
- Put your grated courgettes in an old but clean tea towel, hold over the sink and wring tight until you have wrung out most of the water
- In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, oil and sugar, then add the courgettes, lemon zest and juice.
- Sift in the flour, baking powder and bicarb. Fold in until just combined.
- Pour mixture into your tin and pop in the oven for 25-30 minutes until golden brown and a skewer comes out clean
- Leave to cool for 5 minutes then with a knife prick deep holes all over the cake. Mix the lemon juice with the sugar to create a sugar syrup and pour this over the cake.Leave to cool completely.
- To make your icing, beat the mascarpone with the butter, add the zest and icing sugar and beat until combined.
- Remove the cooled cake from the tin, slather in your icing and scatter with poppy seeds.