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The title for this Gluten Free Courgette and Beetroot Chocolate Cake is a bit of a mouthful, but oh, What a mouthful! I already have a recipe for beetroot here on Glutarama in the form of my Beetroot Brownie Cake; gluten free, dairy free, egg free and there’s also this recipe for Vegan Beetroot American Pancakes. So I had the beetroot harvest covered.
What I hadn’t appreciated was that I’d never typed up and shared any of my courgette recipes. It’s funny how your brain tricks you into thinking everyone knows the same as you, obviously you don’t know what’s going on in my head (probably a good job) so I’m trying to get better at sharing recipes I’ve always made.
It’s also a great way for getting them out of my head or off old scraps of paper .
Skip to the good bit
Why add courgette to a cake?
Why add courgette to a cake – is what my kids tend to say or think with their faces screwed up as if they’re sucking a lemon. Well dear child of mine, adding fruit or veg to any bake has three main benefits.
- it makes the bake more moist than normal, adding a soft fruit or vegetable means adding more liquid that’s contained within said fruit or veg. This liquid is released during the baking period.
- you’re adding more nutrients, simply by adding fruit and veg to your bakes you are increasing the vitamin and mineral levels. So this ‘hidden vegetable’ method is great for children too.
- it’s a fantastic way to use up a glut of fruit and vegetables, especially if you grow your own or someone gifts you some of their prized homegrown produce.
How do you prepare courgette for baking in a cake?
So I have just mentioned that the benefit to adding courgette to cakes is the fact it makes the bake moist. However, there’s moist and there’s soggy bottoms! No one wants a soggy cake that’s raw in the middle.
For this reason I recommend reducing the amount of liquid in the courgette. The best way to do this is to follow the next few steps.
Step One: cut the courgette in half and de-seed. You need to scrape out all the fluffy centre of the courgette. I do this using a dessert spoon or teaspoon depending on the size. If you’ve got homegrown courgettes it’s likely you’ll have a fair bit of fluffy insides as lets face it, we all leave them to grown that little bit too long as if we’re going to enter them into a village fete vegetable competition – am I right?
Step Two: grate finely .
Step Three: tip the grated courgette into a large sieve over the kitchen sink and using the heel of your hand press down to squash out any excess moisture. Don’t worry, the courgette will still retain plenty of moisture for the purpose of baking.
Can I freeze unused courgette?
Yes you can freeze unused courgette but there’s a price to pay. As with many watery fruit and vegetables, the produce can be damaged by the freezing process. Therefore I would never recommend freezing strawberries or raspberries for example if you plan to use them to decorate a cake as they will never defrost looking the same.
However, if you plan to use said fruit or veg in a bake or casserole or pie, then what they look like once defrosted is not an issue.
As courgette tend to always be used as an ingredient and not as a decoration, you can freeze it but on defrosting it will have lost its shape and have a soggy texture instead so no good for frying in butter or coating in gluten free breadcrumbs or tempura batter.
Why add beetroot to a cake?
As with the paragraph before explaining the benefits of adding fruit and vegetables to baking, beetroot ticks all those boxes.
In addition to the courgettes benefits, adding beetroot has two additional benefits.
- adding beetroot to a cake adds a delicious earthy sweet taste, leaving you the option to add less sugar.
- the intense colour of beetroot can also act as a natural food colouring. In my Beetroot Brownie it gives the bake a red velvet look. In this particular Courgette and Beetroot Chocolate Cake it’s the only form of colouring I’ve used to make the buttercream frosting.
Other vegetable inspired gluten free cake recipes
If you think you’ll love this courgette and beetroot chocolate cake as much as we do then I’ll m[out money on you enjoying this bakes too
Gluten Free Courgette and Beetroot Chocolate Cake Recipe
If you make it and like the recipe I would be eternally grateful if you popped back and commented leaving a star rating as this will tell search engines that this recipe is worth checking out and others will get to find it in searches.
Gluten Free Courgette and Beetroot Chocolate Cake
For the courgette chocolate cake
- 200 g gluten free self raising flour
- 150 g courgette/zucchini(s) finely grated
- 150 g caster sugar
- 150 ml dairy free milk use your normal DF milk or normal milk
- 50 g butter or butter alternative (I use Flora plant butter) I use blocks of plant butter, or use normal butter
- 2 tbso cocoa powder
- 1 tbsp ground flaxseed [see notes for egg version]
- 1 tsp psyllium husk powder (optional) optional but does improve structure
- ½ tbsp apple cider vinegar or lemon juice optional but does improve rise
- 100 g dairy free chocolate chips or normal chocolate chips
For the beetroot frosting
- 40 g cooked beetroot [see notes on how to do this]
- 50 g butter or butter alternative (I use Flora plant butter) or normal butter
- 250 g icing/confectioners sugar confectioners sugar
To make the courgette cake
- Preheat the oven to 200°C | 180°C fan | 400°F | Gas 6 and line a 2lb loaf tin with greaseproof paper or loaf tin liner.
- Prepare and grate your courgette by scrapping out the fluffy seeded centre , no need to peel off the skin.
- Add the grated courgette to a sieve over the kitchen sink and press down with the heel of your hand to squash out any excess liquid. Set aside for now.
- In a large mixing bowl add the caster sugar and butter or butter alternative and beat together until pale.
- Next add the flaxseed, psyllium husk (or egg), cocoa powder and vinegar and mix to combine.
- Now add the dairy free (or normal) milk and flour and mix to combine.
- Finally add the courgette and chocolate drops, give the cake batter a good stir. The courgette will loosen the cake batter to a dropping consistency.
- Pour the batter into the loaf tin and put in the oven for 50 minutes. I check if it's cooked by inserting a wooden skewer. If it comes out clean it's cooked.
- This cake takes a while to cool completely so take this into consideration.
To make the beetroot frosting
- Chop the cooked beetroot into small pieces and ideally, with a hand blender, blend the beetroot into a grainy paste (you won't get a totally smooth paste).
- Tip the beetroot into a large enough bowl and add the 'butter' cut into cubes and the icing sugar and begin to beat together. You will find the frosting takes on a beautiful dusty pink colour with tiny beetroot speckles. Set aside until the cake it completely cooled and you can decorate.
- I use a reusable piping bag with a flower nozzle but feel free to add your own artistic flare to the cake. For the photo I added some of my daughters rose tea, not edible in bud form but pretty to look at!
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