Last week, The Boy and I were invited to visit the Domäne Dahlem here in Berlin – a working farm and museum to the south of the city centre. As well as a tour of their relatively new interactive exhibition all about food and its journey from nature to your table, which I will be reviewing for my museum blog, we got to see the week old piglets and take a peek inside their teaching garden – where The Boy was gifted with a freshly picked, rather large courgette!
This has to rank among the most unusual museum souvenirs we have collected on our travels, and ever since then we have been thinking what to make with the courgette. Although he has a perhaps unusual affinity for vegetables for a kid of his age – though preferably uncooked – he was so chuffed with his courgette, I wanted to us to make something that I could be sure of he’d love. And then it hit me – cake! If in doubt, always cake. And courgette pairs beautifully with chocolate. We were on to a winner. So, after Sunday morning swimming and a couple of chores, we took to the kitchen while little brother was having his nap. The result was met with much approval all round – including from little brother, because who doesn’t like to wake up to the scent of freshly baked chocolate cake.
- 2.5 cups grated courgette
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- 3 small eggs
- 350g all purpose gluten free white flour (I usually use Schär or Dove’s Farm)
- 4.5 teaspoons gluten free baking powder
- 2 teaspoons psyllium husks
- 375g caster sugar
- 50g cocoa powder
- 1 sachet vanilla sugar (e.g. Vanillin by Dr Oetker)
- 1 teaspoon mixed spice
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 100g roasted peanuts, roughly chopped*
- icing sugar to serve (optional)
* I could only find salted roasted peanuts, and didn’t want to roast them myself for fear they wouldn’t be cooked through enough as my husband is allergic to raw nuts, so I bought the salted ones, which I knew are safe for him, and washed off the salt.
- Pre-heat your oven to 180 C (or 160 C for a fan oven).
- In one bowl, combine the grated courgette, olive oil and eggs and mix well. If the grated courgette seems very watery, first place it in a clean kitchen towel and squeeze out some of the moisture.
- Sift the flour and baking powder in to another bowl, then add the psyllium husks, sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla, spice and salt. Mix to combine.
- Pour the wet ingredients in to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined, then fold in the chopped peanuts.
- Line a 26cm round spring form cake tin with greaseproof paper and pour in your batter.
- Bake for around 45 – 50 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted in to the middle comes our clean. I always check after 30 minutes, and if I feel it’s starting to go too dark on top I cover it with tin foil to stop the top burning.
- Leave to cool in the tin for 15 minutes, then carefully remove from the tin and leave to cool completely. Sprinkle with some icing sugar before serving.