Cake

Vegan chocolate cake

vegan chocolate cake

A very honest (and bad) photo!

I hosted my book group this week. We talked about Margaret Atwood’s ‘The Heart Goes Last’ which divided opinion and prompted a good debate. I thought it was rubbish.

I have only recently entered the Book Group World and always imagined it to be just an excuse to drink white wine on a school night. Whilst this may be true of some, ours is more a decaff tea and cake affair. This makes a nice change as most of my other social groups only seem to function when accompanied by copious amounts of alcohol.

One of our members is vegan which set me a welcome challenge to find an edible cake recipe that used neither eggs or dairy. A quick google search bought up thousands of options but I had to search hard to find one that used regular (albeit dairy free) store cupboard ingredients (no agave syrup, medjool dates, coconut butter or flax eggs here please!).

My supplies of vinegar and bicarbonate of soda have dramatically decreased since the children started using them in their ‘Kitchen Science’ experiments. But it’s the same reaction between the vinegar and bicarb that propels plastic rockets and creates mini volcanoes that makes this cake rise in the absence of eggs.

The cake is disappointingly bland until you add the silky, sticky glaze which transforms it into something rather delicious. I would serve it quite happily to non-vegans who I don’t think would complain. It’s not a looker though (as the photo above demonstrates). You could work the presentation if you like with rose petals. Nigella does this in her version.

Vegan Chocolate Cake Recipe

For the cake

  • 180g of plain flour
  • 200g of caster sugar
  • 40g of cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
  • ½ a teaspoon of salt
  • 215ml of warm water or coffee (I used decaff coffee)
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 70ml of vegetable or sunflower oil
  • 1 teaspoon of white or apple cider vinegar

For the glaze

  • 100g of caster sugar
  • 60g of vegan/dairy free margarine
  • 2 tablespoons of soya milk
  • 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 180oC.

Line a 20cm x 20cm (8 x 8 inch) square baking tin with parchment and grease with vegetable oil or vegan margarine.

Into a mixing bowl add the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt and stir with a fork until there are no lumps.

Measure the warm water/coffee, vanilla extract, vegetable oil and vinegar into a jug and pour into the dry ingredients.

Mix the ingredients together with a metal spoon until incorporated.

Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 30 minutes.

Cool on a cooling rack while you make the glaze.

For the glaze, in a small saucepan melt the sugar, margarine, soya milk and cocoa powder and bring to a boil stirring all the time. Simmer for 2 minutes then remove from the heat and stir for an additional 5 minutes until the mixture is cooled and thickened. Stir in the vanilla extract.

Pour the glaze onto cake and put in the fridge to set.

vegan chocolate cake 1

Unglazed

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Nigella’s dairy free olive oil chocolate cake

oliveoilchocoatecake

These are the things I haven’t given up for Lent.

Cake, coffee and a good book.

How can I not be happy with those marvellous things still in my life?

For me Nigella is the queen of cakes – even better than Mary or Delia – and this dairy free chocolate one is delicious and very simple to make.

There are a few members of my family who don’t eat dairy so this is a useful recipe to have in my ever expanding collection of chocolate cakes (this is the fifth one on this blog and that doesn’t even include chocolate brownies, muffins and fondants!).

oliveoilchocoatecake1

Nigella’s dairy free olive oil chocolate cake

Makes a big cake which cuts into 12 large slices

  • 150ml of regular olive oil, plus a little to grease the tin
  • 50g of cocoa powder
  • 125ml of boiling water
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • 125g of plain flour (or, if you want a gluten free cake, use 150g of ground almonds instead, although this will result in a heavier cake best served warm with cream)
  • ½ teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
  • A pinch of salt
  • 200g of caster sugar
  • 3 large eggs

Preheat the oven to 170°C.

Line a 23cm diametre spring form tin with baking parchment and grease lightly with olive oil.

Sift the cocoa powder into a small bowl or jug and stir in the boiling water until well combined and without lumps. Add the vanilla extract and leave to cool a little.

In another bowl, measure out the flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt and stir to combine.

In a large bowl add the eggs, olive oil and sugar and whisk with an electric hand whisk on a high speed for about 3 minutes until light and fluffy. Nigella uses a free standing mixer with a paddle attachment but I don’t have one of these.

Add the cocoa mixture and mix briefly on a low speed until just incorporated.

Then add the flour and mix on low again until just combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake for 40-45 minutes until the cake is just set. Mine was perfect after 40.

Let the cake cool in the tin on a wire rack for 10 minutes and then turn out and leave to cool. Or, eat warm with cream or ice cream.

This cake keeps well but if my family is anything to go by it won’t last more than a day or so.

Chocolate Guinness fondants with cheesecake ice cream

chocolateguinnesscakes

The above photo does not do this pudding justice. I was a bit tipsy by the time I served/photographed it (as one often is after two previous courses and two bottles of wine!).

On the subject of food photography, I really enjoyed reading this article by the brilliant Ruby Tandoh about sharing pictures of food online. In it she argues that food that looks amazing doesn’t always taste so.

I particularly loved this paragraph and I will bear it in mind every time I beat myself up about my poor photographs for this blog. Whilst my photos maybe a bit crap they are at least honest and the food has tasted good (otherwise I would not offer you the recipe).

If you want to post your meal online, post away. Upload a picture of that sausage and mash. Don’t worry that the light is dim, that the gravy sloshes in a swampy pool across your plate. Sharing is a generous act, but perfectionism smothers that goodness. Upload the unfiltered, ugly pictures of your failed birthday cake, or your fish and chips in grease-soaked paper. Or, if you want to fuss over the exact positioning of four blueberries on top of a smoothie bowl for an hour before you tuck in, do that – but don’t forget to enjoy your food.


Getting back to the point, it was my 10th wedding anniversary on Friday and to celebrate I wanted to cook a special meal inspired by the food served at our wedding.

Our ‘big day’ was not at all fancy and our budget cake was a Chocolate Guinness one kindly made by my sister.

weddingcakes

I wanted to remember this in my anniversary menu but I don’t believe in serving cake as a dessert (unless it’s hot with custard). So I had the idea of making hot chocolate fondants flavoured with Guinness instead. And then to mirror the cream cheese icing on the cake serving the fondants with a cheesecake ice cream.

It worked really nicely so here are the recipes.

Chocolate Guinness fondants

Serves 4

  • 100g of good quality (70% cocoa) dark chocolate
  • 75g of butter
  • 2 eggs and 2 egg yolks
  • 50g of muscavado sugar
  • 50g of plain flour
  • 100ml of Guinness

Butter four ramekins with butter and place in the freezer to chill.

Set your oven to 170oC.

Melt the butter and chocolate in a pan over a low heat or in the microwave. Allow the mixture to cool a little and then stir in the two egg yolks.

In another bowl, beat together the two whole eggs, sugar and Guinness until light and foamy.

Fold in the chocolate mixture and the flour with a metal spoon until well incorporated.

Spoon the mixture into the chilled ramekins and bake for 9 minutes, or until the surface is set but there is a slight wobble in the middle.

Turn out onto plates and eat immediately with cheesecake ice cream (see recipe below).

NOTE: You can make these up in advance and keep covered in the fridge until you want to bake them. This is good if you’re making them for a dinner party. They also taste fine baked and then reheated in the microwave the next day.

Nigella Lawson’s cheesecake ice cream

  • 175ml full fat milk
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 125g Philadelphia (or other full fat cream cheese)
  • ½ a teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 350ml of double cream

In a bowl beat together the sugar, Philadelphia, vanilla and egg.

Heat the milk in a saucepan until hot and then pour this over the cream cheese mixture.

Then pour the whole lot back into the saucepan and place over a medium heat until the mixture thickens, whisking all the time. Try not to let the mixture boil or it will curdle.

Once the consistency of smooth custard, remove from the heat and whisk periodically until cooled to room temperature. Then place in the fridge to get really cold.

Finally add the double cream (lightly whipped) and lemon juice and pour into an ice cream maker. Churn until thick then put in the freezer to finish hardening.


Here’s a random photo of some baguettes I made this week. Aren’t they beautiful?

beautiful-baguettes

Not beautiful but very happy – Ben and I on our wedding day 10 years ago.

ben-and-zoes-wedding-029

Rich chocolate cake

cake

About two years ago my husband made his very first cake. It was this ‘rich chocolate cake’ and it got such a great reception that he hasn’t bothered to try any others since. Whenever he makes a cake (which is not often) it is always this one. It blew Nigella’s Chocolate Guinness cake completely out of the water and my children now hail it as the ‘best cake in the world ever’. This is slightly annoying (since I bake lots of different cakes, all the time) but I have to admit that it is very delicious (hence the reason for this post) and I’m not usually a fan of chocolate cake.

This recipe doesn’t contain flour, so providing you use gluten free chocolate you can make it for your gluten free/coeliac friends. And if you don’t like almonds (like me) don’t worry – the rich chocolate completely disguises any almond flavour.

It’s not the easiest cake to make as there are quite a few processes involved (note how many times I use the words ‘carefully’ and ‘gently’ below). However, if (like my husband) you only bake cakes two or three times a year, you might as well go to a bit of effort.

It’s also not a showstopper lookswise. Don’t bake this if you want to make a grand cake entrance and wow your friends. It does however have a depth and richness on tasting that will quietly impress – rather like my husband really!

Rich Chocolate Cake – from the amazing Peyton and Byrne book – ‘British Baking’*

*I saw this in a charity shop recently and couldn’t believe that anyone would give such a brilliant book away.

  • 160g of good quality dark chocolate broken into small pieces
  • 160g of cold butter, cut into small cubes (about 1cm squared)
  • A pinch of sea salt (not necessary if you use salted butter)
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 120g of caster sugar
  • 160g of ground almonds

Set your oven to 180oC.

Butter and line a 23 cm diameter cake tin with baking parchment.

NOTE: I recently used a 20 cm square cake tin instead. This produced a slightly thicker cake which I liked much better. It needed 5 minutes longer in the oven however (30 minutes total). ZS 25/09/16

Put the chocolate (and salt if using) in a bowl and melt over a pan of barely simmering water. Turn off the heat but keep the bowl over the pan and tip in the cubes of butter. Let the mixture sit until the butter starts to melt, then give it a quick stir and leave it for another few minutes.

Meanwhile, in another scrupulously clean bowl, whisk the egg whites to soft peaks with a whisk. Then add the caster sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. An electric whisk makes this much easier.

Stir the chocolate mixture until all the butter has melted and whisk in the egg yolks, one at a time. Then fold in the egg white mixture as carefully and gently as you can.

Now lightly fold in the ground almonds being careful not to knock the air out of the mixture. It will have the texture of shaving foam at this point.

Pour into the tin and level off carefully with the back of a spoon or a palette knife. It will not spread and rise very much so it is worthwhile taking your time to do this carefully.

Bake for 25 minutes.

Cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out and serving.

This is best eaten as fresh as possible and is amazing served slightly warm with a small scoop of mascarpone. If you can’t eat it on the day then cut the cake into slices and blast in the microwave for a few seconds before serving.

Desks 2 - edited

Afternoon coffee (mid-century style) in the Marvellous Furniture shop

Marble cake

marble cake 1

This is a really good cake to have in your baking repertoire – it looks impressive but is straight forward to make and doesn’t need icing. It’s a winner in our family (probably because it involves chocolate) and the kid’s love to help make it.

The recipe was printed in a free pull out section of the Daily Mail (this is not a paper that I’m a fan of but my father-in-law gave it to me…honest). It comes from Paul Hollywood’s ‘How to Bake’.

I for one am looking forward to the new series of ‘The Great British Bake Off’ now that the World Cup has ended and there is literally nothing worth watching on TV.

Marble cake

Serves 8 – 12

  • 200g butter, softened
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of good quality vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 250g plain flour
  • 3 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 3 tablespoons of full fat milk (although I used semi-skimmed because we don’t buy full fat and it was just fine)
  • 2 teaspoons cocoa powder

Heat the oven to 180oC fan and line a 1kg loaf tin with baking parchment.

In a large bowl beat the butter, 180g of the sugar and the vanilla extract until light and fluffy (I use an electric hand whisk).

Beat in the eggs one at a time then sift the flour and baking powder into the bowl and gently fold in with 2 tablespoons of the milk.

Spoon two thirds of the mix into the prepared tin.

Sift the cocoa powder into the remaining mixture, add the remaining 20g of sugar and 1 tablespoon of milk and fold until well incorporated.

Spoon the chocolaty mixture into the tin then run a fork through both mixes, swirling the two together to make a marbled effect.

Bake in the oven for 45-70 minutes – testing with a skewer after 45 minutes to see whether it is done (it’s done if the skewer comes out clean). Paul leaves his for 55 – 70 minutes but mine was done after 50 minutes.

Remove the cake from the tin and leave to cool on a wire rack.

You can dust the top with icing sugar if you want it to look pretty.

NOTE: I would advise making this cake when you know it will be eaten up quickly (if you’re having people to stay for the weekend for example). The use of butter and no icing means that it doesn’t keep that well and dries out within a couple of days. If you do have some left however, then you can refresh by zapping each slice in the microwave for a bit (10-20 seconds should do it).

Half term treat – Mary Berry’s honeycomb crunchies

honeycomb crunchies
I don’t often cook the recipes featured on the front page of the BBC website, but as a huge fan of Crunchie chocolate bars I just had to give this one a go.

I’ve always wanted to try making honeycomb and it’s actually quite straightforward with Mary’s recipe (the only tricky bit is getting the molten sugar off the saucepan afterwards).

These chocolaty bites are absolutely delicious. They are crunchy and chewy at the same time and the sugar content is so off the scale that my children went mad for them. My daughter Elizabeth ate three pieces in one day, but then again so did I.

Mary Berry’s honeycomb crunchies

For the honeycomb

  • 1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 2 tablespoons golden syrup
  • flavourless oil (such as vegetable oil), for greasing

To assemble

  • 250g of dark or milk chocolate (I used half dark and half milk)
  • 100g butter, cut into 1cm cubes
  • 2 tablespoons golden syrup
  • 150g digestive biscuits

Start by making the honeycomb. Measure out one teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda and set aside, then lightly grease a flat baking tray.

Put the sugar and golden syrup into a saucepan and set it on a very low heat for 10 minutes until all the sugar has melted. Stir occasionally with a wooden spoon. When the sugar is completely melted, turn up the heat to medium. Once the mixture has started to boil leave to bubble without stirring until it turns golden-brown (this only takes a couple of minutes).

Turn off the heat, add the bicarbonate of soda and quickly whisk for a couple of seconds. The mixture will froth up massively so make sure you use a saucepan with plenty of room. Quickly pour it into the middle of the oiled baking tray and don’t spread it out or touch it or the tray. Leave for about 30 minutes to cool and harden. You can hurry things along by putting it into the fridge after about 15 minutes.

Line a square 20.5cm/8in tin with baking paper.

Break up the chocolate into small pieces and put in a heatproof bowl. Melt gently over a pan of simmering water, then add the butter and golden syrup. Stir until the butter has melted and the mixture is smooth. Set aside.

Use your hands or a knife to break up the biscuits and honeycomb into chunks the size of your thumbnail (Mary uses a rolling pin to do this but I found that this just smashed them into tiny crumbs). Put them into a mixing bowl and pour over the melted chocolate mixture. Stir until all the chunks are coated and pour the whole lot into the prepared tin. Spread it right into the corners.

Cover with cling film and chill in the fridge for 2 hours before cutting into squares with a sharp knife. Mary cuts hers into 16 but you can make them as big or little as you like.

Eat straight from the fridge. Mary says they keep for a couple of days but if yours last that long then you’ve got more willpower than I.

NOTE: These are fun to make with kids, but although they will love watching the bit where the honeycomb froths up keep them at a distance as the mixture is scalding hot.

The best chocolate cake ever courtesy of the Domestic Goddess

chocolate guinness cake 2
I’ve had more requests for this Chocolate Guinness Cake recipe than any other by a long shot. It’s legendary in our family and is quite simply the best chocolate cake ever. People never believe me when I tell them that it’s super easy to make but it’s true. There’s hardly any mixing involved and limited measuring as you use a whole pat of butter, a whole carton of sour cream etc. Just make sure you buy a good quality spring form cake tin – my original cheapo Tesco one was leaky and it was heart breaking when the runny mixture ended up on the bottom of the oven.

You can’t really taste the Guinness (it just adds a malty stickiness) so don’t be put off making it if you’re not a fan. I’m never sure whether the addition of Guinness means that you ought not to give it to children. Surely the alcohol burns off in the oven?! Call me a bad mother but I DO let my children have a slice and they don’t seem to be any more vibrant than usual after a sugary chocolaty fix.

The ingredients are pretty expensive (around £6) but you do end up with a large cake which can be cut into at least 12 large slices.

I usually end up tinkering with even the best recipe but the only change I’ve made to this one is to leave the double cream out of the icing. It means one less ingredient to buy and I think it tastes fresher with just cream cheese and icing sugar (if you want to keep to the original then you add 125ml double cream after mixing together the cream cheese and icing sugar). The main cake is exactly as Nigella makes it.

Nigella’s Chocolate Guinness Cake (from ‘Feast’)

Makes 12 large slices

For the cake

  • 250ml Guinness
  • 250g butter
  • 75g cocoa
  • 400g caster sugar
  • 1 x 142ml pot sour cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon real vanilla extract
  • 275g plain flour
  • 2½ teaspoons bicarbonate of soda

For the icing

  • 300g Philadelphia cream cheese
  • 150g icing sugar

Preheat the oven to 180oC fan and butter and line a 23cm spring form cake tin.

Pour the Guinness into a large wide saucepan, add the butter and heat until the butter has melted. Then whisk in the cocoa and sugar.

In a separate bowl beat the sour cream with the eggs and vanilla, then pour into the saucepan with the butter, cocoa and sugar.

Finally, whisk in the flour and bicarbonate of soda.

Pour the cake mixture into the tin and bake for 45 to 1 hour (for me this timing is frustratingly vague – from experience I usually opt for nearer to 45 minutes as it’s better for this cake to be slightly too moist than overdone. I just do the usual skewer test after 45 minutes and if it comes out clean then I take it out then). Leave to cool completely in the tin on a cooling rack.

When the cake is cold sit it on a flat plate ready for icing.

For the icing, lightly whip the cream cheese until smooth and then add the icing and beat again until incorporated.

Put the icing on top of the cake, and distribute roughly so that it looks like the frothy top of a pint of Guinness.

NOTE: Don’t be tempted to use half fat cream cheese for the icing – the lower fat content makes it too runny. I also find that it pays to use branded Philadelphia even though it’s more than double the price.

How to make a man happy – Eve’s pudding

Eve's pudding with apples

As much as I love both my father and my husband their characters are poles apart. My dad is very practical and likes home improvements, electrical gadgets and precise detail. He reads the latest thrillers by Dan Brown and John Grisham and enjoys mowing the lawn and visiting the tip. My husband, on the other hand, loves factual history books, literature, antiques and art pottery. He detests modern technology and DIY makes him very, very cross.

There is however one thing that they have in common and that’s their love of Eve’s pudding. Both would name it as their favourite dessert and it’s a sure fire way to make them both very, very happy. There’s really not much to love about this traditional English pudding. Delicious, slightly tart apples with a lovely gooey sponge topping. Apparently the name refers to Eve in the bible and the apples are those from the tree of knowledge.

I’ve tried making this with other stewed fruit at the bottom such as rhubarb and gooseberry but it just isn’t the same.

Eve’s pudding

Serves 4-6

For the stewed apple bottom

  • 2 large cooking apples, I use Bramleys, about 500g in total
  • A good knob of butter
  • 2 tablespoons of caster sugar (although amount of sugar will depend on the tartness of your apples/how sweet you like your puddings)

For the topping

  • 75g butter
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 100g self-raising flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon of warm water

Preheat the oven to 160oC fan.

Peel, core and chop the apples into chunks about half an inch square.

Add the apples to a saucepan along with the butter and sugar and cook on a medium heat with a lid on until the apples are soft. I like there to be a mixture of mush and apples still intact. Test the mixture for sweetness and add more sugar if necessary remembering that the topping is very sweet and this will counter balance some of the tartness in the apples.

Transfer to a lightly buttered ceramic baking dish (about 1 1/2 pints). You can also divide the mixture up into ramekins for individual portions (this recipe makes 6).

For the topping, put the butter, self-raising flour, sugar and eggs into a large mixing bowl and mix with an electric hand whisk until incorporated, be careful not to over mix. Add a spoonful of warm water to the mix and give it another quick whisk.

Spoon the mixture over the apples and cook in the oven.

How long you cook the Eve’s pudding is a matter of taste. If you’re doing it by the book then 30-35 minutes is the suggested time. You then serve with cream or custard.

In our family though, we like the sponge to still be runny in the middle. This also makes a sort of custard/sauce so you don’t need any accompaniment. If you think you would like this (think the deliciousness of uncooked cake mix) then 25 minutes should do it (or 15-20 minutes for ramekins).

Just out of the oven.

Just out of the oven.

Courgettes, courgettes, courgettes

I so look forward to the very first courgettes of the season but then, after a month or so when they just keep coming and coming, I scrabble around desperate for new recipes to try. Here are two of my favourite recipes but please do contact me (details on the ‘about me’ page) if you have any other good ones (aside from the usual ratatouille and stuffed courgettes which get a bit tedious). As much as I absolutely hate waste it’s got to the point now where we can’t even give them away. We are currently decorating our garden with some of the larger ones and in past years they have ended up as door stops and baby playthings.

courgettes edited Eddie with courgette edited 2

Courgette and basil soup

  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 8 medium courgettes roughly chopped into chunks
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • Salt and pepper
  • A good handful of parmesan
  • A good handful of basil leaves (or you can use pesto if the basil has dried up)
  • 1 1/2 pints of chicken or vegetable stock (homemade is best but packet is also fine)

Heat the oil in a large saucepan and add the courgettes and garlic. Turn the heat down low. The key here is to sweat the courgettes down slowly (for at least 30 minutes) without browning. The smell at this point is just wonderful. Then pour in the stock and bring to the boil and simmer for a few minutes. I let the mixture cool now for a bit before whizzing up (because I’m prone to liquidiser accidents) but if you’re in a hurry, and you’re careful it’s not really necessary.

Pour the mixture into a liquidiser and add the basil. Whizz for about 30 seconds or until smooth. The original recipe recommended a coarse texture but I personally prefer a finer one.

I then pour the mixture back into the pan and season well with salt and a little pepper. I don’t add the parmesan until the soup is ready to serve and I stir this in at the end once it’s heated through. I always have it in my head that soup is a little boring (this probably comes from my Dad who has never classed soup as a proper meal) so I like to work the presentation. With this recipe I save a little parmesan to sprinkle over the top and then add a drizzle of good olive oil and a few torn up basil leaves.

Any leftover soup keeps well for a couple of days in the fridge as long as you don’t add the parmesan.

Courgette and hazelnut cake

This recipe was passed to me by a former colleague Glenis. It’s taken from her vast collection of recipes cut out of magazines, I have no idea how old it is or which magazine it came from. I promise that it is much nicer than it sounds. In the past, when I was working, I have taken it into the office and everyone has devoured it (as long as the secret ingredient isn’t disclosed until the end).

This is a large cake that should easily divide into 10-12 large pieces.

  • 100g hazelnuts
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 200ml sunflower oil
  • 25ml walnut oil
  • 225g grated unpeeled courgettes, patted dry with kitchen towel
  • 275g self-raising flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 180oC fan, and prepare a 23cm spring form tin by lightly oiling and lining with greaseproof paper.

Roast the hazelnuts for 5-10 minutes on a tray in the oven. Watch them carefully to make sure that they don’t burn, you want a golden colour. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tray before chopping roughly.

Place the sugar, eggs and two oils in a large mixing bowl and whisk until thick (you can do this by hand but it’s really, really hard work so I always use an electric mix). Add the courgettes to the oily, sugary mixture and stir until combined. Combine the flour, salt and cinnamon in a bowl and then add to the courgette mixture, folding in very gently. Then fold in the roasted hazelnuts, again use a gentle action here so that you don’t overbeat the mixture.

Tip the mixture into the tin and bake for 45 minutes, or until a skewer in the middle of the cake comes out clean.

Leave the cake in the tin to cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack. Then remove the cake from the tin and leave to cool completely before icing.

The original recipe decorates the cake with ripe peaches before serving but I prefer a more gluttonous, carrot cake style cream cheese topping which I make by mixing a small tub of full fat cream cheese (200g) with an equal amount of icing sugar and a few drops of vanilla essence.