You’ve caught me in a green phase, and in this case involving the rather disparate pairing of courgettes and Kaffir lime leaf. Last week it was of course the polenta with a kind of two-way broccoli and the rather lovely English blue cheese, and today it is cake. A cake I’ve made rather often in one form or another for my nutrition groups and gets encouraging mmms’s whilst being eaten. I’ve had oh, maybe two small slices in total. Remedied that today. For slice read slab, These two rather green recipes don’t tell the whole story though. Pretty much most days I am out in our little patch of green, cutting off the tops of the kale, chard, and even still the purple sprouting broccoli, to stick in something breakfasty or lunchy. I will share my favourites here soon, but if you follow me on Instagram you will have already seen a few easy things that get me buzzing with energy and satiety. I love my greens.
And courgettes, although not one of the superstar green things we can be eating, are very useful in so many dishes, both sweet and savoury. And not forgetting the 5:2 diet and paleo phenomenon that is courgetti/zoodles. I am growing courgettes for the first time and, although mildew has attacked one plant in places, the yellow ones are going like gangbusters. I think soon I will be going through a yellow phase! If you are already going through your own yellow phase, you could do worse than check out this soup, one of my top ones on Pinterest. You can make it with green courgettes but you will miss out on the alluring saffron-yellow colour.
Back to the cake though, the courgettes and oats really keep this cake deliciously soft, with just enough sweetness in it to let you know it is a cake. A cake that because of the nature of its ingredients and lower-sugar, could double as breakfast in some homes. The coffee cake aspect comes from the optional last-minute step of dribbling over a little melted butter and sprinkling the browned top with a little brown sugar and more coconut. A bit on the decadent side for food to glow, but just cut into 12 slices to assuage any guilt or sooth any angst (I don’t bother with those feelings anymore, but that’s taken awhile to achieve). At food to glow we don’t believe in diet food but we do believe in portion control. Only as a theory at the moment.
Courgette, Coconut and Lime Leaf Cake
Use a bundt or loaf tin for this super-moist cake with delightful flecks of jade green and a subtle waft of exotic Kaffir lime leaf. No lime leaf? Use the zest of one whole lime. Not sure where to get lime leaf: I get mine cheap from the Thai supermarket and keep them whole in the freezer, blitzing in my spice grinder as needed (or whole in curries and rice).
300g (10.6 oz) courgettes/zucchini, grated and squeezed well in a tea towel
175g (6 oz; 1 2/5 cup) spelt flour or unbleached plain flour
50g (1.5 oz; ½ cup) oats
1½ tsp baking powder
60g (1.6 oz; heaped ¼ cup) toasted coconut flakes (desiccated)
¼ tsp fine salt
1 tsp finely ground lime leaf (I use about 3 leaves in a spice grinder) or zest of 1 lime
75g (2.7 oz; loose 1/2 cup) dark brown sugar or coconut palm sugar (I haven’t tried this with any liquids like maple syrup)
100ml (1/2 cup) organic rapeseed/canola oil or coconut oil (I use UK-grown rapeseed)
Extra for optional topping: 1 1/2 tbsp brown sugar, 1 tbsp melted butter; 1 ½ tbsp shredded coconut (toasted or not – it will be in the oven for only ten minutes)
1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C (fan)/350F. Oil a bundt or loaf tin. Set aside.
2. Dry whisk the flour, oats, baking powder, coconut, lime leaf/zest together in a medium bowl.
3. In a larger bowl use electric beaters or strong arms and a balloon whisk to whisk the eggs and sugar until very light and fluffy – about three minutes. Gradually incorporate the oil and whisk a further two minutes.
4. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet and just mix until the wet disappears. Fold in the grated courgette. Pour the batter into the prepared tin and gently level.
5. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 40 minutes. Take the cake out of the oven and pour over the melted butter, sprinkle on the extra sugar and coconut and return to the oven for a further 10 minutes. Test for doneness with a metal skewer. If any batter clings to the skewer return the cake until it comes out clean when re-tested.
6. Allow the cake to completely cool in the tin before releasing/inverting carefully. This cake stores in a cake tin for a few days, and freezes well as slices. Enjoy with a cup of green tea or iced tea. I don’t like cake with frosting as a rule but this might be nice with a whipped coconut cream confection – if you eschew the already pretty daring for me coffee cake-type topping suggested above.