Sunday, 8 April 2018

Spiced Snozzcumber Cake (gluten free and lacto/dairy free - or not!)

A seriously delicious and moist cake that no-one will guess the secret ingredient to!

OK, don't worry, you don't have to get hold of 'snozzcumbers' to make this - large courgettes or marrow will do the job! Why 'Snozzcumber Cake'? Well, it was World Book Day and I went to work dressed as the BFG (complete with big ears, cape, dream blower, a bottle of Frobscottle, and of course some 'snozzcumbers' - which were extremely large courgettes) and decided to make a cake from said snozzcumbers to take into work for the rest of the staff to enjoy.

If you like carrot cake, I think you'll love this, as I use similar spicing to that I use in my carrot cakes, but use pecan nuts instead of walnuts, and a maple flavoured cream cheese frosting to complement the flavours. As my daughter has to have a gluten free diet, it is gluten free - but you'd never know as it is so delicious and moist! If you're not on a gluten free diet, feel free to use normal plain flour instead. Either way it will be seriously delicious!

Makes a 9 inch square cake (so up to 16 portions depending on how you want to cut it!). 

  • 310g coarsely grated 'Snozzcumber' (a rather large courgette/zuchini, or part of a marrow!)
  • 300g plain flour (gluten free or normal - I recommend Juvela GF white flour mix for this cake if you have it, or Dove's Farm is also good)
  • 4 level tsp baking powder (check gluten free if cooking GF)
  • 2 rounded tsp ground cinammon
  • 1 rounded tsp ground ginger 
  • 1 tsp ground mixed spice
  • Pinch of salt
  • 225g soft light brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs (preferably organic)
  • Zest and juice of one orange
  • 225g neutral tasting oil, plus a little for greasing (e.g. groundnut, sunflower or vegetable)
  • 225g pecan nuts, roughly chopped - you can pulse in a food processor if preferred (reserve 75g for topping)

For the topping
  • 275g cream cheese, brought up to room temperature (preferably full fat, of course - use lacto/dairy free alternative if preferred)
  • 55g butter, softened (or lacto/dairy free alternative)
  • 75g maple syrup (or you could use honey)
  • 1 tsp ground cinammon
  • Grating of nutmeg
  • (Reserved chopped pecan nuts from above)

  • 22-23cm / 9 inch square silicone or metal cake tin, deep (I use silicone)

1. Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 4 and lightly grease the cake tin and line with greaseproof baking paper. Grate the courgette/marrow coarsely, and give a few good squeezes to squeeze out as much excess moisture as possible (discard juice).

2. Mix together the flour, baking powder, ground spices, salt and sugar in a large bowl, making sure there are no lumps of sugar.

3. Beat the eggs together, and then beat in the zest and juice of the orange, and oil, then mix in 150g of the roughly chopped pecans and the grated courgette/marrow.

4. Add the egg/oil/courgette mixture to the flour mixture and combine thoroughly, then pour the mixture into the lined cake tin. (If using a silicone tin, place on a baking tray first). It's quite a wet batter.

5. Place into the middle of the oven and cook for approximately 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until cooked through - where a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out hot and clean. Remove from the oven, and allow to cool for about 40 - 45 minutes in the tin, then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.

6. To make the frosting, ensure the cream cheese has come to room temperature, and mix with the softened butter, maple syrup and spices (if the cream cheese is chilled, the butter will not mix with it properly, and be lumpy - if this happens, just set aside until the mixture has come up to room temperature, and mix again until smooth).

7. When the cake is completely cool, spread with the topping and sprinkle with the reserved chopped pecans. Enjoy with a nice cuppa tea or coffee!

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