When my oldest friend got married a couple of years back, she picked out a lemon and courgette cake for the day’s official baked centrepiece. This was the first I’d heard of replacing butter with vegetables in cakes, and I thought she was cracked.
Obviously I was completely wrong, and it was amazing (and a beautiful day). So these cupcakes are my first shot at vegetable cake. My boyfriend’s mum bought me the most beautiful book of them for Christmas – Harry Eastwood’s Red Velvet Chocolate Heartache.
Ok I told a little fib. I actually tried a different recipe of Harry’s last year, but it was before my beloved stand mixer was an option, and I didn’t have an electric mixer either. A lot of the recipes need some seriously voluminous eggs, and I didn’t have the biceps for achieving that manually, so I quickly jumped ship.
But, mixer at the ready, these sweet little cupcakes were a breeze.
The courgette gives them a lovely moist texture, and their fresh floral flavour is something a little different, in the best way. They taste deliciously girly. And they’re wheat-free, if that tickles your fancy.
I popped meringue frosting on top of the cakes, which was another first for me. I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, so I found this to be a bit too much sweetness. If I made them again, I’d probably use slightly less rosewater in the icing.
That said, my trusty tasters had no complaints. With spring creeping in and some sunshine tentatively following it, these little beauties are the perfect afternoon tea treat.
For the cakes:
- 2 medium eggs
- 160g caster sugar
- 250g of peeled and finely grated courgette
- zest of a lemon
- 1 tbsp rose water
- 100g white rice flour
- 100g ground almonds
- 2tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
For the icing:
- 170g caster sugar
- whites of 3 large eggs
- 1 tbsp rose water
- 1 tbsp cold water
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- Pre-heat oven to gas mark 4/180c, and line a muffin tin with 12 cases
- Whisk together the eggs and sugar for about 5 mins, they should go pale and fluffy
- Keep whisking, but add the grated courgette and lemon zest and rose water
- Whisk in the rice flour, ground almonds, baking powder and salt
- Spread the mixture evenly across the 12 cases and bake for 30 mins
- Leave to cool until. Well. Until they’re cool. Meringue icing is best used straight after it’s been made, so wait until your cakes are ready for decorating before you make it
- Place all the ingredients in a bowl and mix to combine. Meanwhile, heat a saucepan with some water in it
- Place the bowl over the simmering water and whisk the ingredients until the sugar has dissolved. Don’t let the mixture boil, though, and mind it doesn’t get too hot. My first attempt started cooking the egg…!
- Whisk for about 10 minutes, or quite possibly longer. When the mixture starts forming peaks that stand on their own, it’s ready to go
- Transfer into a piping bag with your nozzle of choice, and you’re away. Again, get it on quickly, and store the cakes in the fridge to keep the icing cool if they’re not for immediate consumption
- Serve and enjoy