Don’t be put off by the reference to ‘zucchini’ and ‘cake’ in the one recipe. Think carrot cake. The grated zucchini makes the cake moist but it is the cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg that bring the flavour. The icing has a little Greek yoghurt which makes it a little tangy and cuts through the richness.
Most of the cakes I cook have butter in them but I have ventured out of late and made a couple of oil based cakes and been very surprised by the results. This cake was very straight forward and made three perfect cakes ready to layer.
Next time I will do two larger cakes as opposed to the three as I think it might make slicing easier. Easy enough to layer up and ice and then I put it in the fridge to firm up the icing. It was very easy to slice clean layers when it was straight from the fridge but the cake is best eaten at room temperature. Slicing the cake at room temperature was not so clean but it still tasted yummy.
The recipe is slightly adapted from ‘Cake Days’ from The Hummingbird Bakery. They topped their cake with caramelised walnuts which look so good. I didn’t have any whole walnuts left but will try this next time. In a saucepan stir together 200g caster sugar and 4 tablespoons of water over a medium heat until the sugar has dissolved then boil for about 10 minutes or until golden brown. Place the nuts on a tray lined with baking paper and spoon a small amount of caramel over each nut then leave to set for 10 – 15 minutes. Use the caramelised walnuts to decorate the cake.
zucchini, walnut and cinnamon layer cake
(slightly adapted from The Hummingbird Bakery ‘Cake Days’ book)
3 large eggs
300ml vegetable oil
300g brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
300g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
300g peeled and grated zucchini
100g walnuts, roughly chopped (plus extra for decorating)
yoghurt cinnamon icing
160g unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (plus extra for decorating)
500g icing sugar
50g Greek yoghurt
Preheat oven to 170 degrees C. Grease and line the base of three 20cm round cake tins.
In a mixmaster whisk together the eggs, oil, brown sugar and vanilla essence until all combined.
Sift the flour, baking powder, bicarb and spices together. With mixer on low speed add half the dry ingredients and mix together then add the other half. Add the grated zucchini and chopped walnuts and mix together.
Divide the cake batter up between the three tins and bake for 35 – 40 minutes or until golden on the top and cooked through. Leave them in the tin for a few minutes then tip out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
For the icing place the butter, cinnamon and icing sugar in the mixmaster and whisk is fully incorporated. Add in the yoghurt and mix on low speed until combined and then turn up the speed and continue to whisk until light and fluffy.
To ice the cake, dob a little icing on the cake plate. Centre the first cake on the plate then spoon over a few tablespoons of the icing and smooth it out. Top with the second cake and add another few tablespoons of icing and smooth out. Add the final cake and ice the sides and the top of cake. Dust with a little extra cinnamon and arrange some caramelised walnuts on the top if you like.