Saturday, August 24, 2013

Chocolate Cucumber Cake

In today's exciting episode of "Argh! Not MORE Cucumbers!" we resort to baking them into cakes.

Courgette / zucchini cakes are widely-known-to-exist, and there are a few Cucumber cake recipes out there to be found. The similarity of ingredient proportions suggests that you can directly substitute cucumber for courgette / zucchini in a recipe and it should work.

Time to find a suitable recipe to try.

 I have a copy of Red Velvet & Chocolate Heartache by Harry Eastwood that was given to me by my sisters for Xmas. Whilst I find the style and descriptions in the book to be a bit too twee-girly-flowers-on-cupcakes for my taste, the recipes themselves are interesting - they almost all contain grated vegetables of one kind or another, and use things like rice flour and ground nuts instead of wheat flour.

(Just don't fall for the "These cakes contain vegetables therefore they must be healthy to eat every day!!1!" line that blithely ignores the large quantities of sugar they still contain.)

Naturally then, the book contains several recipes for cakes using courgettes / zucchini. I decided to adapt the Chocolate Pistachio Cake, and rapidly decided to also substitute almonds for the pistachios as there were only a handful of pistachios left in the bag in the cupboard!
  • 300g Cucumber.
  • 100g raw unskinned Almonds.
  • 180g Brown Sugar.
  • 3 medium Eggs.
  • 120g Brown Rice Flour.
  • 60g Cocoa Powder.
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt.
Preheat the over to 180C, and grease and line a pair of 18cm cake tins.
Grate the cucumbers finely.
Grind the almonds finely in a food processor.
Whisk the eggs and brown sugar together for a couple of minutes until pale coffee-coloured.
Fold the grated cucumbers (and their juice) and the ground almonds into the egg mixture.
Now fold in the remaining dry ingredients until thoroughly combined.
Divide the mixture between the tins and even out the tops.
Bake for 30 mins.
Turn out onto a wire rack, peel off the lining paper and let cool.
 Sandwich together with Chocolate Cream Cheese Filling.

Chocolate Cream Cheese Filling:
  • 1/2 a tub of Cream Cheese
  • Cocoa Powder
  • Icing Sugar
  • A little vanilla essence.
Beat cream cheese to soften, and then beat in vanilla, 1 tbsp of cocoa powder and 1 tbsp of icing sugar until smoothly combined.
Continue beating the mixture, adding more cocoa powder and/or icing sugar, until it is thick and sweet enough to your taste.

The cake turned out moist and cakey and not too sweet. There is maybe a slight hint of bitterness under the chocolate flavour, and the occasional slightly chewy fleck in the texture of the sponge. A sweet filling goes with it without causing the complete sugar overload of your average chocolate cake.

As can be seen in the picture, I left the cream cheese filling a little too soft - I ran out of icing sugar!

Update: After sitting in the fridge overnight, the filling thickened up to just the right consistency.