Is there a better way to spend a dull, grey, windy summers day than curled up with a book, a blanket, a cup of tea and a slice of sweet, spicy, sticky cake/bread? I’m not sure there is. Unless you substitute the book for a good film.
This spiced courgette bread is the perfect accompaniment to the above scenario.
Following the success of this courgette cake, I knew that I wanted to bake more with it, and when I saw this recipe (albeit with wheat flour) I knew I had to make it. Not just because of the courgette, but also because it features cardamom, cinnamon, ground cloves and nutmeg. All my happy dance spices together in one place. Major happy dance.
The nuts provide great crunch against the softness of the sponge, although I can’t decide whether they look like brains or fangs or demon bunny teeth . . . ? Just ignore what they look like. By the time the top has been slathered in butter, you can’t see them anyway.
The butter is optional, but it does make a difference. I have a penchant for the French stuff with salt crystals in, so a thin layer of that spread across the top is just amazing. The slight saltiness contrasts brilliantly with the sweetness and spices.
Speaking of sweetness – the recipe called for 225g of sugar. As you will be aware my sweetener of choice is coconut sugar. I try to avoid sugar cane / sugar beet sugar where possible. But . . . 225g is almost half a bag of coconut sugar and at nearly £6 per 500g bag, that works out at roughly £3 of sugar in one cake! Which makes even me balk. So I used half coconut sugar and half soft light brown sugar to make it more economical and not deplete my precious coconut sugar too much. As coconut sugar isn’t overly sweet I think the addition of the brown sugar helps to enhance the spices, and also provides a greater contrast to the salty butter!
I will warn you now that the batter is really runny and I was a little concerned about how it was going to bake. But I shouldn’t have worried. It worked perfectly. 4 slices in one sitting perfectly. Need I say more?
Spiced Courgette Bread
- 150g gluten-free plain flour, your choice
- 3/4 tsp baking soda
- pinch baking powder
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground cardamom (the seeds from 6 pods)
- 1/4 whole nutmeg, freshly grated
- large pinch of salt
- 2 eggs
- 112g soft light brown sugar
- 113g coconut sugar (or more soft light brown sugar)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil, plus a little extra for greasing
- zest of a lime
- 200g courgette, grated
- 50g pecan halves, roughly chopped
- Pre-heat the oven to 180 Celsius / 160 fan / 350 Fahrenheit. Lightly grease a 900g loaf tin and line with non-stick baking paper.
- In a medium bowl mix together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices and salt. Set aside.
- Place the eggs and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment, beat on a medium speed until double in volume and it turns pale.
- Add the vanilla, oil and lime zest and beat until combined.
- With the mixer running on a low speed gradually add the spiced flour mix.
- Turn off the mixer and add the courgette and pecans. Using a spatula, mix to incorporate, making sure to go down to the bottom of the bowl in case any mixture has been missed.
- Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 45 minutes – 1 hour, until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
- When baked, place the tin on a wire rack to cool for 30 minutes then carefully remove the bread from the tin and leave to cool completely.
- Store in an air-tight container in a cool place, away from direct sunlight.
© The Pink Rose Baker 2015
Adapted from a recipe for Courgette Bread with Spiced Butter, featured in the July edition of Waitrose Kitchen magazine.