After a lavish Christmas break, stuffing myself full of my mum’s homemade goodies instead of mine, I am back on the baking bandwagon. This cake is pretty healthy as far as cakes go and therefore I feel no guilt in promoting it to those on a new years diet, if you eat a sizeable chunk you will get at least one of your 5 a day. It is also part-made using wholemeal flour which gives it a nuttier texture, as well as being good for your digestion. The flavours for this cake were taken from my favourite Belvoir cordial (minus the corguette), which is perfect for this wintry weather.
200g unsalted butter
150g golden caster sugar
1 and a 1/2 tablespoon of poppy seeds
zest of 2 lemons, juice of 1 lemon
knob of ginger root
125g self-raising flour
100g wholemeal flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
juice of 1 lemon
sprinkle of icing sugar.
200g FULL-FAT soft cheese
60g icing sugar
zest of 1 lemon
juice of 1/2 lemon
generous helping of icing sugar
1. Grease two round sandwich tins well with first a layer of butter than flour. This is a stage to be really careful with as I found to my own peril on first attempt as this moist veggie cake can be a little tricky to get out. I would recommend lining the base of the tins with a circle of baking parchment if you have some- this makes the cake much easier to pop out. Preheat the oven to 180•C.
2. Soften the butter (I give mine a quick 15 sec blast in the microwave), before adding the golden caster sugar and creaming the two together until a light even colour. Next add the zest of 2 lemons and a tablespoon and a half of poppy seeds. No need to be fussy with the poppy seeds, I normally just add as many as I like until the mixture looks attractive.
3. Measure out the flours and baking powder and stir to combine. Alternate adding an egg, followed by a little bit of flour until all of these ingredients have been added to the cake mix. Add the juice of 1 lemon. At this point you should have a silky smooth batter.
4. Peel a sizeable portion of ginger root and finely grate into the mixture. Again, it is up to you how much ginger you add depending on how much you like the flavour. Finally grate 2 medium sized courgettes (no need to peel) into the mixture and stir thoroughly to make sure all the ingredients are evenly distributed. The mixture may look very green but a lot of the colour fades in the oven sadly.
5. Divide between the two tins, then bake for 25 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out roughly clean. If you have to place the cakes on separate shelves remember to switch them over half way through so they bake evenly.
6. Whilst the cakes are in the oven make the syrup. This is really easy, just squeeze the juice of one lemon then add some icing sugar until its an off-white runny texture. Once the cakes are out the oven leave them to cool slightly before attempting to remove them from their tin. This is quite a fragile, moist cake so be gentle. Once they are out of their tins, prick the tops with a fork and drizzle the syrup over them. This makes them ultra-lemony which I like.
7. Leave the cakes to cool completely. During this time make the frosting. Spoon out a carton of cream cheese into a mixing bowl and lightly mix until it looses its shape. Sieve the icing sugar into the bowl then stir into the cream cheese, before adding the juice of 1/2 lemon, the zest of 1 lemon and a sprinkling of poppy seeds. If you are baking in a warm kitchen you might need to refridgerate the frosting before spreading it over the cakes.
8. Place one cake on a plate then spread a thin layer of frosting over the top. You should probably choose the flattest edge to do this to, as this makes sandwiching easier. Place the second cake on top, then cover the whole thing with the frosting. Bon Appétit.