Courgette, Lemon & Elderflower Drizzle Cake really is a delicious treat. The combination of courgette, lemon and elderflower in a cake is one that I hope will appeal to gardeners! I grew up on an organic farm and the realities of seasonal foods were an everyday normality for me. More than that, the relationship between the soil and the land around me with the food I ate was a natural and obvious connection. I believe that my interest in cooking stemmed at least in part from a desire to find ways to use up a glut of that eggs or make something of the crab apples growing in the hedgerows.
More and more people seem to be seeking out a way to connect their kitchen table with their garden, whether it is by growing some herbs, keeping some chickens or moving towards self sufficiency with an allotment. For me there is also something about the visual qualities of nature that connect the fork with the soil. I learnt to cook from Maura Laverty’s ‘Full and Plenty’ (1960) . All these years later I still recall a passage in one of her chapter introductions that described chopped parsley in mashed potatoes as echoing tips of grass poking through a January falling of snow. Poetic and delicious.
This recipe is my way of bringing the produce of the garden; that glut of courgettes that many gardeners lament and making into an absolute treat. Combined with the hedgerow delight of elderflower cordial and the beauty of a crystallised rose, I think that it achieves that balance of the look and taste of nature. If you would like to decorate the cake with crystallised flowers as I have, please check out my guide here
This cake is really moist and delicious.For some people the idea of courgette in cake might seem unusual, but it really just adds the same kind of moisture to cake as carrot does. The cake is also adaptable. You could leave out the drizzle and the frosting or just use one of them. If you leave out the frosting this cake is also lactose free. Honestly though, the drizzle and frosting are so quick and easy that they are worth the extra little effort. As you can see in the pictures, the courgette makes the cake rather green but other varieties of courgette such as yellow ones could add an additional ray of sunshine. I made this cake gluten free for a celebration in a theatre local to me, the Moat Club, and it went down very well. You can, of course, use wheat flour to make it, but gluten free flour has a great lightness that adds to the texture.
I hope you’ll give this recipe a go and let me know what you think!
Courgette, Lemon & Elderflower Drizzle Cake
Cake batter Ingredients
200 grams of grated courgette
225 grams of flour (I used Dove’s farm Gluten Free white flour)
½ teaspoon of salt
½ teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda (Check it is gluten free is you wish)
¼ teaspoon of baking powder (Check it is gluten free is you wish)
Grated zest of two lemons (Keep back one teaspoon if you want to frost the cake)
125 ml of vegetable oil or any flavourless oil
124 grams of caster sugar
40 ml of elderflower cordial
Preheat your oven to 170 degrees celcius and line a pound tin with greaseproof paper
Mix together the courgette, egg, sugar, lemon zest and elderflower cordial. Grating the courgette is the hardest part of this recipe.
Sieve or whisk together the flour, salt, bicarbonate of soda and baking powder in a separate bowl.
Add the flour mix to the courgette mix. Mix until it is all combined but don’t mix it any more than it needs. Just enough get rid of all the streaks of flour.
Pour the batter into the lined tin and bake for about 45 minutes. You can test it with a knife or skewer by sticking in into the centre of the cake. . The cake is very moist so just check to make sure there is no uncooked batter sticking to the knife of skewer.
Juice of two lemons (Use the ones you zested for the cake batter)
3 tablespoons of sugar
25 ml of elderflower cordial
Mix the 3 ingredients in a saucepan and heat gently until the sugar dissolves, stirring occasionally.
Once the cake is baked and cooled for ten minutes, spoon the warm syrup over the surface of the cake, letting each spoonful soak in before you add the next.
200 grams of cream cheese or mascarpone (depending on how indulgent you are feeling!)
1 tablespoon of elderflower cordial
2 tablespoons of caster sugar
1 teaspoon of grated lemon zest
Mix together all the ingredients until smooth
Slather all over the top of the cooled caked
Decorate with the crystallised flowers
Slice, eat and enjoy!