Sunday, 8 June 2014

Courgette and sultana cupcakes

I love carrot cake but, other than my never to be repeated attempt at brussel sprout cake (attempt at your peril – you have been warned!), I haven’t dabbled with other vegetables in cakes.  This courgette cake appeared in the Sainsbury’s magazine as a sandwich cake, but I instantly thought of it in terms of cupcakes as I had a very limited window for baking this weekend and knew that cupcakes would cool much faster than a larger cake.

Whereas a carrot cake tends to be spiced with cinnamon, this cake uses vanilla.  Vanilla remains my absolute favourite ingredient in baking so I added some to the frosting too.  It is one of the great joys of baking to open a bottle of vanilla extract and inhale…my name is the Caked Crusader and I am a vanillaholic.

As with carrot cake, the sponge was incredibly light and moist.  It was unusual to bite into a cake and see flecks of green but this was easy to overcome given the deliciousness of the cupcakes (plus, most people would probably just think it was lime zest).  The frosting was particularly popular – much creamier than a buttercream – and felt light and whippy in your mouth; more ice cream than buttercream.  It was very difficult to stop at one cake!

Mr CC really took against the concept of courgette cakes – every time I mentioned I was making this recipe he would produce a repulsed shudder of Oscar worthy proportions.  I asked him why and his objection was that courgette, unlike carrot, was a wetter vegetable and he hated the thought of vegetable juice in a cake.  I’m sure you can predict how the story ends....guess who really liked them?


For the cupcake sponge:
125g unsalted butter, at room temperature
125g golden caster sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
125g self raising flour
60g courgette, coarsely grated – this is about half a medium courgette
60g sultanas
20g walnuts, roughly chopped

For the frosting:
50g unsalted butter, at room temperature
125g icing sugar
125g mascarpone
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

NB: if you double all these quantities you can make a 20cm round sandwich cake instead – make sure you increase the baking time to about 30 minutes.


Preheat the oven to 180°C/ fan oven 160°C/ 350°F/ Gas mark 4.

Line a cupcake pan with 12 paper cases.

Start by making the sponge: beat the butter until pale and whippy.

Beat in the sugar and beat until it looks fluffy – don’t skimp on this stage; the mix should look almost like whipped cream.

Beat in the eggs and vanilla, adding some of the flour if it looks like it might curdle.

Stir in the flour.

Fold in the courgette, sultanas and walnuts.

Spoon the mixture into the paper cases.

Bake for approximately 15-18 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cakes comes out clean.

As soon as you can safely handle them, remove the cupcakes from the cupcake pan – the metal of the tray will retain heat and continue to cook them – get them out the tin and let cool on a wire rack. NB.  Don’t worry as they cool, particularly if you store them overnight, the case will come away from the sponge.  Often it can be a sign that the cake is overcooked, but it isn’t always – these are incredibly moist cakes and will peel away from the paper.

Now make the frosting: beat the butter until it is pale and whippy looking.

Add the icing sugar and beat until you have a smooth mix.

Beat in the mascarpone and vanilla.

Spoon in generous dollops on top of each cupcake – this is not a topping for fancy piping!

The cakes will keep for a couple of days but must be refrigerated because of the mascarpone in the frosting.

Bask in the glory of the wonderful thing you have created.



Izzy said...

These look delicious! I have tried courgette cake before and it is so nice and most. My gran made a sprout cake once and apparently it was horrible!

Soo said...

Brings back yummy memories. Zucchini (as we would have called it) cake (and loaves and muffins) featured every year when my parent's garden produced a ridiculous amount of the stuff. I can take it or leave it as a veg - but love it in a baked good!

Gloria Baker said...

I love yours cupcakes and look amazing and delicious!

Librarian Lavender said...

This looks really great! Courgette is such a delicious and versatile vegetable. I'm definitely going to try this recipe!

Baking Addict said...

I've baked with courgettes before and it was tasty so I can just imagine how good these are. Love the frosting too.

Lucy said...

It can be difficult to find good courgette cake recipes and this looks great! Love the look of the creamy mascarpone icing.

Kate Glutenfreealchemist said...

I love courgette cake! I was just checking the courgettes growing in the garden today and thinking..... nearly there....... We always end up with way too many and courgette cake is a great way to use them up. I think I will give sprout cake a miss though.... yuk!

Cakelaw said...

Ha, ha - knew he'd like them. These little cakes look great.

Katie said...

These look delicious, so light and moist. That frosting looks amazing too. Most foods always taste better in cakes (although maybe not sprouts!) :)

Sally Sellwood said...

Fab - Nigella's courgette cake is a good one - it has a sharp lime curd filling. I made a cake with swede in it not long ago. I really liked it but I couldn't persuade the Husband to try it, not for anything :-(. His loss.

Stuart Vettese said...

I like the idea of using the mascarpone in the frosting CC. And I think I would love the courgette - veggies do really well in cakes.

anna @ annamayeveryday said...

I made some courgette cakes last year and they were pretty disappointing but I really want a good recipe because we often have a glut of courgettes - I shall try this one next!

Jo said...

Haha poor Mr CC. It must be fun to watch him eat his own words!

These look lovely, especially the thick dollop of icing. It looks wonderfully thick and creamy. I've never tried courgette in cake although it's on my list of things to try.

Maggie said...

I have yet to try courgette cake, I saw this recipe in the magazine and was very tempted. Great cupcakes.

Choclette said...

Haha, Mr CC confounded!

One mum and her dog said...

I made these tonight, it was a toss up between these and the vinegar cake; these won as it meant the oven didn't need to be on as long in the heat!! I didn't tell anyone about the special ingredient as the children wouldn't have touched them if they'd known. They were delicious even if I say so myself, and that was without the topping as I didn't get chance to make that before most of them had gone!!