Courgettes in cake came into fashion a few years ago, but I only really bothered with them when I had a glut of the green blighters one autumn. Desperate to get rid of them, I made them into wholesome soups, pestos, pasta sauces and smuggled a few into this big chocolate cake. The courgettes are virtually indetectable – a novel way of smuggling vegetables into your children or fussier members of your household – but the moisture gives a pleasurable density and a little heft to an otherwise light snack. Eat your greens, go on!
Serves 6 rather generously at 16p each
2 courgettes, 40p (£1.60/1kg courgettes, Sainsburys Basics)
50g dark chocolate or 25g cocoa powder, 21p (84p/100g, Sainsburys own cocoa powder)
zest and juice of 1 lime or 1 tbsp bottled lime or lemon juice, 4p (60p/250ml, bottled lemon juice, Sainsburys)
250g self-raising flour, 9p (55p/1.5kg SRF, Sainsburys Basics)
75g sugar, 6p (80p/1kg white sugar, Sainsburys)
a pinch of salt, <1p (45p/750g, Sainsburys Basics table salt) 75ml oil, sunflower or vegetable plus extra for greasing, 8p (£3/3l, Sainsburys) 3 tbsp marmalade or applesauce (or lime marmalade, if you're my Nan), 5p (40p/454g, Sainsburys Basics marmalade) Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4. Wash the courgettes and grate them into the centre of a clean tea-towel. Wring out as much moisture as you can over the sink – they hold a lot and you don’t want to end up with mush instead of cake. Grease a loaf tin. Grate the chocolate, if using. Grate the zest from the lime. Put the flour, cocoa powder or grated chocolate, lime zest, sugar and a pinch of salt into a large mixing bowl. Mix thoroughly. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in the oil. Add the courgettes and the applesauce or marmalade. Stir well to combine, then pour the mixture into the loaf tin. Bake for 40 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. TIP: If you fancy a variation, try adding some chopped nuts, or dust with icing sugar and grated lime zest. ‘Cooking On A Bootstrap’ is available here.
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