Wednesday 17 January 2018

Grab a Forkful of scrumptious cakes made with perfect veggies

These courgette cakes and beetroot brownies are utterly delicious...

Courgette cake. Photo: Mark Duggan.
Courgette cake. Photo: Mark Duggan.
Beetroot brownies. Photo: Mark Duggan.

Aoife McElwain and Mark Duggan

Vegetables in cake? You must be having a laugh!

We are laughing, but only because courgette cake and beetroot brownies are utterly delicious. You'll have to try them for yourself to get in on the giggle.

Courgette Cake

This indulgently sugary cake is a sweet way to make use of your courgettes.


350g of self-raising flour

350g of caster sugar

1 tablespoon of cinnamon

1 handful of whole walnuts

175ml sunflower oil

3 eggs

2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

2 medium courgettes

For the icing

180g cream cheese

4 heaped tablespoons of icing sugar

1 lemon

Handful of finely-chopped walnuts

Courgette cake. Photo: Mark Duggan.


1. Heat the oven to 180c/160c fan/Gas Mark 4. Line a 24cm cake tin with greaseproof paper.

2. Sieve the self-raising flour into a large mixing bowl. Add the sugar, cinnamon and whole walnuts and mix lightly.

3. Measure the sunflower oil into a measuring jug. Break the eggs into the oil and mix with a fork until well-combined, before mixing in the vanilla extract.

4. Finely grate the courgettes into a colander. Use your hands to squeeze the liquid from the courgettes before adding to the oil, egg and vanilla mixture. This is an important step as you'll be left with a soggy cake if you don't get rid of that excess liquid. Yuck.

5. Pour the oil, egg, vanilla and courgette mixture into the flour and sugar mixture. Combine really well until you have a lovely thick batter.

6. Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin and bake for 40-50 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn out on to a wire rack and leave to cool.

7. Make your icing by combining the cream cheese and icing sugar. When the cake has completely cooled, spread all over your cake. Finish with a sprinkling of lemon zest and finely-chopped walnuts.


Beetroot Brownies


3 raw beetroots

100g unsalted butter

100g plain chocolate

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

250 light muscovado sugar

3 eggs

100g plain flour

50g cocoa powder

50g ground almonds

Handful of roughly-chopped hazelnuts

Icing sugar


Beetroot brownies. Photo: Mark Duggan.

1. Chop the beets into quarters and place in a saucepan. Cover with water and bring to the boil, simmering for 25 minutes until tender. Discard the cooking water.

2. Place the tender beets into your food processor. Break the chocolate into chunks and chop the butter into cubes. Add to the food processor - the heat from the beetroots will melt the chocolate and butter while you whizz the lot into a smooth paste.

3. Sieve the flour into a large mixing bowl. Mix in the cocoa, ground almonds and chopped hazelnuts.

4. Place the vanilla extract, muscovado sugar and eggs into a second large mixing bowl. Use an electric whisk to beat until lovely and frothy.

5. Add the beetroot and chocolate mix into the sugar and butter mixture. Stir lightly until well-combined.

6. Combine the beetroot mixture to the flour, mixing lightly until well-combined.

7. Pour the batter into a 20cm x 30cm baking dish lined with parchment paper. Cook for 25 minutes at 180c/160c/Gas Mark 4 until risen and cooked through.

8. Allow to cool completely before cutting into squares. Serve with a dusting of icing sugar.

Beetroot is our 
middle name at forkful - we love their earthy versatility. You'll be surprised how much you adore these beet brownies.

Irish Independent

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