I’m so sorry for the bad lighting in some of my photos so far. It’s been pouring down in Scotland (and the UK!) for the past few weeks – you know, the type of weather where you have to keep the lights on even in so called daylight hours. Not that we have much daylight right now as it’s dark by half past three.
I’m also very new at photography. I got my camera just a couple of weeks before I started this blog and it’s my first DSLR camera. I have absolutely no idea about the functions or workings of DSLR cameras. The minute I got it I briefly checked how to turn it on, what buttons to press to take a pic and how to charge the battery. Then it was a matter of turning it on to auto-focus and snapping away. I love my camera and do want to learn more about it, so I’m going to take a module at the Open University in May on how to become more knowledgeable about one. Can’t wait.
Now this cake was made because after owning The Humming Bird Bakery: Cake Days for over a year, I hadn’t used it all that much. The only recipe I think I made of theirs were the Earl Grey Cupcakes which turned out very nice indeed. But I hadn’t made anything after that and thought it was about time.
This caught my eye naturally because of the cinnamon and also because I had lots of courgettes that needed using up. I also love oil based cakes. I think oil gives the cake a lot more bounce, softness and a much tighter crumb. I feel that oil- based cakes cut better without crumbling all over the place and make the cake lighter somehow too. I know butter will always win out on taste, but where the cake is heavily flavoured (like here with cinnamon) then it doesn’t become that important.
This is the type of recipe I love because it is so easy to make. It’s one of those ‘mix wet ingredients into dry ingredients’ method and the main ingredient quantities are all in ‘3s’ (3 eggs, 300ml oil, 300g sugar etc) so very easy to remember.
I replaced the butter and yoghurt icing that the recipe specified, for a Swiss Meringue Buttercream icing instead. The cake really impressed everyone; it was lovely and soft with a warm cinnamon flavour and contrastingly nice crunch from the walnut bits. I made this again (after numerous requests from my sister-in-law) but with almonds instead of walnuts and no icing and it was just as good for a teatime treat. I honestly think this cake is wonderful on its own sans any kind of icing but I will include the one given in the recipe if you would like to try.
Cinnamon, Walnut and Courgette Cake (from The Humming Bird Bakery: Cake Days)
· 3 large eggs
· 300ml sunflower oil
· 300g soft light brown sugar
· ½ tsp vanilla essence
· 300g plain flour
· 1 tsp baking powder
· 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
· 2 tsp cinnamon
· ½ tsp ground ginger
· ½ tsp nutmeg
· 300g courgettes, peeled and grated
· 100g walnuts, chopped roughly
Preheat oven to 180C and prepare two 8” round cake tins.
Combine the wet ingredients together; eggs, sunflower oil and sugar, in large bowl.
Sift together the dry ingredients; flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. Add the dry ingredients to the wet in two batches, mixing well after each batch.
Add the grated courgettes and chopped walnuts into the batter making sure you fold them in thoroughly.
Bake for about 40-45 minutes (although check after about 30 minutes to see if they are done). Allow the cakes to cool for about 5 minutes in the tin before turning them out onto a wire rack to cool.
Frosting (from The Humming Bird Bakery: Cake Days)
· 240g unsalted butter, softened
· 1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
· 750g icing sugar
· 75g Greek yoghurt
Whisk together the butter, cinnamon and icing sugar until the mixture is sandy in consistency with all the butter fully mixed.
Whisk in the yoghurt on a low speed until it is combined, then turn the speed to high and whisk the icing until light and fluffy.
Once the cakes have cooled, slice each in half to make four layers.
Stack these on top of each other with frosting between each layer, using a little between each layer and leaving a larger amount to frost the top and outside of the cake.
Dust the top with a little cinnamon – I used a craft stencil and dusted the cinnamon through that, giving a pretty effect.