Courgette, lime and pistachio cake

Vegetables are so versatile! Courgettes (zucchini) with their high water content are a great addition to a cake because they keep it really moist. There are some tips though, so that your cake remains moist but is NOT soggy! This recipe combines three winning flavours and textures - courgettes, lime and pistachio. I've used Xylitol instead of sugar in the cake, to improve the nutritional value, but sometimes cake just isn't cake if it's not made to be just a little sweet and indulgent - so the topping is a rich and sweet cream cheese zesty extravagance.

This recipe makes two 8" cakes and sufficient icing for the middle and top.


WHAT YOU NEED:

Cake

250g Xylitol (plant-based sugar substitute) or 200g caster sugar

200g sunflower oil

4 large free range eggs

200g grated courgettes (as much skin as you can)

50g crushed pistachios

zest of 2 limes

225g self-raising flour

1.5 tsp bicarbonate of soda


Icing and filling

175 mascarpone cheese

300g icing sugar

juice of 1.5 limes

zest of one lime (to decorate)

30g crushed pistachios (to decorate)


WHAT YOU DO:

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 180degrees

  2. Grease and line the base of two 8" sandwich tins

  3. Grate your courgettes and squeeze well through a colander into a bowl. Leave to drain as much as possible.

  4. In a mixer or with a rotary whisk, beat the eggs one at a time with the oil and Xylitol or sugar adding one dessert spoon of flour with each egg.

  5. Fold in the courgettes, flour, bicarb', and lime zest. (The mixture will be quite runny!)

  6. Pour evenly into the two sandwich tins and bake in the centre of the over for approximately 40 mins (check after 30 if you have a fan oven), until browned and the centre is cooked - skewer test should come out perfectly clean.

  7. Leave to cool thoroughly. If necessary slice off any dome from the cakes, to give a flatter top and bottom.

  8. Mix all the icing ingredients together and sandwich and top the cake. The consistency should be spreadable but not runny (or it will just fall off the top!). If necessary, add some more icing sugar to stiffen it up.

  9. Finally, add the lime zest and crushed pistachios to decorate. Keep in a cool room or refrigerate until just needed (to keep the cheese from running away...)

Perfect - enjoy with a nice cup of tea and a good natter with a friend! For more tasty treats try my black bean brownies.