When we returned from Greece there was a vibrant yellow striped courgette waiting to be plucked from our patio veggie tub that was crying out for a higher purpose.
So of course my first thought was cake. I love how grated courgette brings a moistness to a sponge, and its yellow colour led my mind to the stalwart lemon drizzle.
In a bid to be a little inventive I experimented by making a thyme flavoured sugar in my Vitamix. This basically consisted of blitzing a teaspoon of thyme leaves with granulated sugar. The blender is that powerful that it turned into pale green powdered sugar with a lovely herby aroma.
The result was a super soft sponge, with delicate thyme flavours finishing with a zesty lemon ker-pow. It tasted great washed down with a glass of prosecco at the latest Northfields Cook Book Club shindig, but would work equally well with an afternoon brew. Scroll down for the recipe.
It’s all in the name of having lots of cake-filled fun to raise vital funds to support vulnerable young people in the UK. The Children’s Society provides a lifeline to many young people who experience neglect.
Morna (pictured) of the recently opened Clocktower Cafe in Hanwell, generously opened her doors for us and was the perfect hostess. Lighting candles, giving us cake stands for our baked goods and putting on a delectable spread of sharing plates and wine. If you’re local you really need to go and have a coffee there – it’s stunning.
There were plenty of new faces for our cake themed evening, and many brought cakes along for everyone to try and a recipe to share with the group.
So alongside my drizzle cake, there was a delicate almond and raspberry sponge ring, a Drømmekage (Coconut Dream Cake) which I couldn’t stop eating, the most divinely addictive sticky ginger cake, incredible chocolate brownies, a classic victoria sponge, a sticky lemon cake, and even scones and jam. It really was a cake feast.
After scoffing we sat down to share recipes and baking tips and we even did a cake quiz.
Thanks to the group for being so enthusiastic, to Lucy at Vanilla Frost for helping me organise the event and of course to Morna of the Clocktower Cafe for being such a brilliant host and for supporting our fundraiser – we made a cake-tastic £110 for the charity.
And finally if you’re over-run with courgettes, here’s the recipe for my experimental bake:
Courgette, thyme and lemon drizzle cake
Makes 10-12 slices
Prep time: 15 mins
Cooking time: 45 mins
For the cake
150g caster sugar
1 tsp thyme leaves
125ml vegetable oil
200g plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
2 lemons, zested
For the drizzle
5 tbsp granulated sugar
the juice of the 2 zested lemons (above)
1 tsp thyme leaves
1. Heat the oven to 170C/150C fan/gas 3. Grease and line a loaf tin.
2. Grate the courgette and put in a large mixing bowl.
3. Pop the sugar and thyme leaves into a blender and blitz to combine add to the courgette along with the egg and oil and mix until well combined.
4. Sift the flour, salt, bicarb and baking powder into the bowl of courgette mixture, add the lemon zest and then mix. Pour the batter into the tin.
5. Bake for 45 minutes or until a skewer poked into the centre comes out clean. Allow to cool for 10 minutes.
6. For the drizzle: meanwhile pour the sugar and lemon juice into a small pan and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved and you can’t hear any gravelly bits in the bottom of the pan. Pour through a sieve into a jug to get rid of any bits. Stir through the thyme leaves.
7. Take the loaf cake out of the tin and place on a cooking rack which is sat on a board. Poke holes all over the surface of the sponge with a skewer and then spoon the lemon and thyme syrup over the top, making sure it glugs into the little holes to thoroughly saturate the cake.
8. Leave to cool completely and then carefully transfer to a plate and serve in slices with a pot of greek yoghurt or creme fraiche to dollop on the side.
I am entering this recipe into the Four Seasons Food Sliding Into Autumn challenge… hosted this month by the award-winning Anneli over on Delicieux. I met Anneli at the Brilliance in Blogging Awards this year and what a thoroughly lovely lady she is – so go check out her blog if you have a minute – links below…