Zucchini, Walnut And Cinnamon Layer Cake

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.

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7 Responses to Zucchini, Walnut And Cinnamon Layer Cake

  1. Angela says:

    I love how you have iced the top…looks very professional with the centred swirl, and really labels it “this is certainly no ordinary cake”. Well done.
    I also can’t wait to make the Chai cupcakes. So pleased Levi pulled my name out of the hat.
    Thanks Nat, and also thanks Levi.

    • natalie says:

      I took the swirled icing right from the cookbook. They ice the sides of the cake first and then the top. Then using a palette knife, run lines up the sides of the cake. Then use the palette knife to draw swirls on top that meet in the centre. Pretty simple but effective. Nat x

  2. Sharolyn says:

    Looking forward to finding an excuse to try this one!

  3. Cake looks just lovely. I think zucchini would work well- esp with walnuts and cinnamon.

  4. Rachel Hockey says:

    Thanks for the recipe, Nat. Adelaide and I made this on Sunday as zucchini and summer squash are quite plentiful here this time of year. I made one small round cake and a dozen cupcakes and it is all quite delicious.

  5. Leone says:

    This cake is delicious! my husband says it’s reminds him of American spice cake. You wouldn’t know it contained grated courgettes! I made the caramel to put on top of the walnuts to decorate the top, this really gives it the wow factor! Be careful when making the caramel, I’ve had disasters before as it can easily turn back to hard sugar! then I read somewhere not to sir it at all and it was a success. Use a heavy based pan or non stick. My family and I are eating it today ( Mothers Day)….. Hey! aren’t they supposed to be making me a cake! Looking forward to the new Hummingbird cake book! will be visiting one of their London shops soon!

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