Happy birthday to my wonderful boyfriend this week! Of course, I had to make him something, but when you’re dealing with someone who doesn’t actually like cake, life becomes infinitely more difficult.
I know right? How can someone not like cake!!! Im converting him slowly. I suppose I could have made cupcakes or brownies (he likes both) however the challenge was too tempting. So I took out a couple of my favourite books, jumped on the internet and asked him for some flavour ideas. Chocolate, caramel and strawberry were mentioned. I decided not to combine all three, and chose to pursue chocolate and strawberry.
Now, please don’t run away when I divulge this recipe. This is by far one of the best cakes I’ve made in a while. To say it was a hit is an understatement. Really, really good.
So take a deep breath. No running remember?
The controversial ingredient is….. Courgette.
Marrow, zucchini, whatever you want to call it. I am simply in love with Harry Eastwood’s Red Velvet and Chocolate Heartache, which relies on vegetables in all her cakes. I find them spongey, light and moist (in fact its very difficult to overcook them). I decided to adapt her Pistachio chocolate cake recipe and make a strawberry buttercream from my own archives. I love contrasting colours and I was set on the cake being a surprise in some way so i decided to cover it in a dark chocolate ganache so the pink buttercream would revealed when it was cut. Success!!! Despite making 3 batches of ganache…. The first one seized. The next one melted my buttercream because I used it as pouring ganache. I did the same thing with the next batch. I had a lovely melty pinky brown cake 😦 So after watching a couple of ganache videos on youtube, I made my last batch and left it overnight so it was a paste. More of a success, however not as smooth as I would have liked.
- 100g hazelnut meal
- 3 eggs
- 180g brown sugar
- 300g peeled and grated courgette
- 120g flour
- 60g cocoa powder
- 2tsp baking powder
Preheat oven to 180˚C, line and grease 2 18cm tins.
Whisk eggs and sugar until pale and fluffy.
Add courgette and hazelnut meal, then the flour, cocoa and baking powder. Beat until incorporated
Pour evenly into the tins and bake for 20-30 mins
(I doubled the recipe and made a 3 layer cake and froze the last layer)
1 1/2 c sugar
1/2 c water
2 egg whites
1 punnet of hulled and halved strawberries
1 tbsp sugar
1/4 c water
simmer 1/2c of water and 1 1/2c sugar in a saucepan until 240˚C. Whisk egg whites until stiff, gradually add the sugar syrup. Continue to whisk until the bowl is cool. Boil the remaining water, sugar and strawberries to make a fruit puree. Add the butter to the meringue gradually, then the strawberry puree.
- 220g (a slab) dark chocolate (I like 70% cocoa) broken into small pieces
- 110ml cream
Heat the cream in a saucepan until almost boiling. Pour over chocolate, leave for a few minutes and then stir until all the chocolate is melted and combined. Leave covered overnight. I use this youtube video so i recommend it.
To assemble the cake, place one layer of cake on a board/plate. Top with buttercream. Place the next layer on and top that with buttercream. Top with the third layer. You can then do a crumb coating of buttercream or leave it without. Ganache the cake according to the youtube video. I then topped mine with malteser’s.
This cake is awesome.