I’ve always got to add something sweet to the mix, so that I have something available if I have guests or fancy something to go with my mid-morning coffee, which I affectionately refer to as elevenses. It is the easiest cake you’ll ever make, as the courgette melts into the batter, making it lovely and moist. It will keep for a couple of days and freezes well. I especially love this cake as it doesn’t require any accoutrements: no need for cream, icing or butter; it tastes delicious all on its own! I like to slice half the cake, as the remainder will be eaten within the week. Wrap the individual slices in parchment and freeze them, ready to pop in the toaster whenever you’re in the mood for something sweet.
Prep time 5 minutes
Cooking time 50 minutes
200g soft brown sugar
125ml sunflower oil
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
350g courgettes, unpeeled
grated zest 1 orange (optional)
300g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
a pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 160°C if you have a fan-assisted oven, 180°C otherwise, or gas 4. Grease and line a 1kg loaf tin with baking parchment.
Grate the courgette and squeeze out as much liquid as you can, so the cake isn’t too soggy. In a mixing bowl, beat together the sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla until light in colour and a bit fluffy. Then stir in the grated courgette and orange zest. Fold the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt into the wet mixture.
Pour mixture into the loaf tin. Bake for 50 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the middle of the cake. Remove from the oven and allow to cool a little, then turn out. Store covered in the fridge (remember there are no preservatives!) for up to 5 days.
Extracted from Artful Eating: The Psychology of Lasting Weight Loss by Karina Melvin (Black & White Publishing, approx €17). Photography by Sean Cahill.