Sunday, 30 October 2011

A Weird and Wonderful Vegetable Cake for Halloween.

Happy Halloween weekend. I thought Halloween would be a good time to discuss vegetable cakes with you, after several promises to. They are kind of weird you see, people do give you some funny sideways looks when you mention that the cake you just presented them with is made with butternut squash.

But weird is often accompanied by wonderful and vegetable cakes have far more than their fair share of that. Firstly the vegetable, whatever it is, takes on the job of butter, providing moistness, volume and stability, which means you can leave the chubby stuff out altogether...helloooo smug. Plus slimline cake surely means more icing is justified, yeah?

Secondly, the use of vegetables seems to mean that the cake actually gets moister over time rather than drier. I don't know what that means to the whole 'cakes get dry, biscuits get soft' definition but I don't care when it means I can make a cake on a Friday for a party on a Monday.

And finally, just when you thought your smugness levels had peaked, vegetables bring lots and lots of lovely vitamins and fibre to your cake party and you can even say 'one of me 5 a day', as you tuck in ...YESSS. Never has the addition of cake to your life been more imperative. So go and make one and eat with a ghoulish/vampirey/witchey smile. With Love and Cake.

Chocolate Mummy Cake

A few notes:
  • You could decorate any cake and filling mummy style, plain sponge, carrot, coffee....whatevs.
  • If you don't like marzipan, which I know is quite a common disorder, I'm sure you could get a similar effect with Royal icing. You could even brush it with some strong tea to distress it a bit.
Makes an 18cm cake
You will need

2 18cm loose bottomed cake tins, well greased

For the cake
3 eggs
180g soft brown sugar
300g courgette, peeled and finely grated
120g plain flour
60g cocoa
100g ground almonds
2 tsp baking powder

For the filling
40g butter at room temp
90g icing sugar 
1 tsp boiling water
1-2 tbsp apricot jam

For the decoration
1-2 tbsp apricot jam
1ish packet of marzipan

  • First let's bake the cake. Preheat the oven to 180°c.
  • Whisk together the eggs and sugar for 2 minutes until pale and increased in volume.
  • Beat in the grated courgette followed by the flour, cocoa, almonds and baking powder until well combined.
  • Divide the mixture between the 2 cake tins and bake for around 25 minutes, until risen and firm.
  • Leave the cakes to cool in the tins for 5 or 10 minutes then remove from the tin to cool completely.
  • Meanwhile make the buttercream for the filling by beating the butter until light and fluffy looking.
  • Beat in the icing sugar tablespoons at a time until you have a lovely smooth paste, then finally beat in the boiling water.
  • Spread the buttercream on top of one of the cake layers followed by the jam and finally top with the other cake, placed upside down so the top of the cake is nice and flat.
  • Now for the Halloweenification. Heat the jam in a saucepan or in a microwave until nice and melted and brush a thin layer over the top and sides of the cake.
  • Dust a clean surface with icing sugar and roll out the marzipan to about the thickness of a 10 pence piece.
  • Cut into long strips and wrap around the cake to mummify. 
  • Use buttons for eyes but try not to get them stuck in your teeth.

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