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Tuesday 3 September 2013

Baking for Beginners: Courgette Loaf

Gentle reader, take my hand. You've accepted a lot of weird flavour combinations, I know. Bacon biscuits. Chilli chocolate. Salted caramel. You've looked at them, aghast, wondering what kind of maniac came up with them, before cautiously trying them and realising they're delicious.

I know I'm just a food blogger, standing in front of her audience, asking them to trust her - but honestly, this courgette loaf is delicious. It's sweet and gently spiced, more a cake than a bread, and excellent with a cup of tea. If you grow your own vegetables and are drowning in a sea of courgettes, then this is a wonderful way to use them up.

Courgette loaf
You will need:
  • 200g courgettes (about 3 small or 2 medium courgettes)
  • 150ml vegetable oil
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 350g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
Make it!
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Grease a loaf tin with oil.
  2. Peel and grate the courgettes, then squeeze as much moisture out of them as you can. Leave them draining in a sieve over the sink while you crack on.
  3. Whisk together the vegetable oil and sugar until light in colour - 5 minutes in an electric mixer should do it. Gradually whisk in the eggs and vanilla extract.
  4. Sift the flour and spices into a large bowl, then make a well in the middle and tip in the wet ingredients. Stir well to mix them thoroughly - it will be quite a stiff mixture so you'll need to be vigorous.
  5. Fold in the courgettes, which should loosen the mixture up. Tip it into your loaf tin and bake for around an hour (it may take longer). It's done when a skewer inserted comes out clean.
  6. Leave it in the tin for 10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.
This cake tastes even better after a day or two, but if you can't resist them have a warm slice with some butter. It's great on its own but you could add a lemon and sugar glaze for a sharper, sweeter taste - also a good way to rescue it if you've overcooked it and it's a little dry.

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