The hardest thing about cutting out sugars is that all (or most) fruits are out of the picture.
One of my favourite desserts of all time used to be an all-in-one cake that had it all: a spongey cake, with a tart and spiced fruit (usuallt apple or blueberries), and a buttery crumble topping.
I thought this dessert was fully out of the picture until gnom-gnom.com said that you can achieve a convincing replacement to apple with… bear with me…courgette!
I was skeptical, but also desperate – I mean, if carrot cake and rhubarb crumble are a thing, then what’s the harm in trying courgette in a cake?
If you’re not strict and you do eat fruit (and don’t want to try the courgette), by all means, go for apple. Or blueberries…. But you could just give the courgette thing a chance, even if it’s to prove me wrong.
If your courgette is dark green, feel free to peel it – purely for aesthetic reasons. If a lighter, paler green, leave the courgette unpeeled.
The recipe is broken into 3 distinct sections that come together almost at the end:
- Preparing the “apple”
- Making the batter
- Putting together the crumble
- 20g butter
- 15g Xylitol
- 300g courgette, diced
- 6tsp vinegar
- 2tsp Cinnamon
- Place the chopped courgette in a large pan with a lid. The pan should be large enough to hold the courgette in one layer(ish). Don’t turn the fire on yet!
- Sprinkle the cinnamon and vinegar over the courgette and mix it all to coat well. It feels like a lot of vinegar, but it will make the courgette tart and make it be more apple-like. You can even up the amount of vinegar a bit more and it won’t do any harm.
- Next we’re going to make a kinda quick caramel-ey sauce: melt the butter in a small pot and cook it over gentle heat until it starts to turn golden, around 3min.
- Add the xylitol to the butter and cook until it just dissolves, then pour this caramel over the courgette, stir, and only now turn the heat of the courgettes on
- Cook the vegetable over medium heat with the lid on for 15min or so, stirring occasionally.
- After these 15min the courgette should be softish but keep its shape. Take off the lid, and cook to reduce the juices for another 10min or so
- When the liquid has reduced turn off the heat and let cool slightly with the lid off.
- 100g butter at room temp
- 50g Xylitol
- 3 egg yolks
- 200g coconut cream
- 3 egg whites
- 85g almond flour
- 25g coconut flour
- 2tsp baking powder
- To make the cake batter place the butter in a large bowl with the xylitol, and whisk it until fluffy, around 5min.
- Add in the egg yolks and whisk for another few minutes to incorporate.
- Then add the coconut cream and whisk some more until everything is combined.
- In a small bowl, combine the almond flour, coconut flour and baking powder, and use a fork to mix them well.
- Incorporate the flour mix into the batter, and stir using a spatula so it’s all a homogenous batter.
- In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites into soft peaks. This will help bring lift to the cake and be spongier.
- Carefully incorporate the beaten whites to the rest of the batter making sure no white streaks remain. Don’t be too savage stirring the whites in so you don’t flatten/liquify the egg whites you’ve just beaten.
Now that the cake batter is done, spoon the slightly cooled “apple” into the batter, and carefully incorporate them with a spoon until all is just mixed.
Line the bottom of a springform pan with parchment paper, and pour the batter into it, whilst you make the crumble.
- 25g butter (cold)
- 50g almond flour
- 2tbsp Xylitol
- Place the three ingredients for the crumble in a bowl.
- Use your hands to rub the flour and xylitol into the butter between your fingers to create the crumbs
- If the butter gets too soft, pop it in the freezer for a few seconds – you’re looking to create a wet sand-like texture.
- Finally sprinkle the crumble directly over the batter in the cake tin.
Place the cake in a hot oven at 180ºC for 50min or so.
Check after 30min or so -the crumble will darken due to the sweetener and fat, and there’s quite a lot of moisture in the cake so it will take a while to bake.
I you feel your cake is getting darker but not setting you might want to place the cake in a lower section of your oven, or you might want to cover it loosely with some parchment paper.
Assess the giggle – you want to make sure the cake is properly set before you take it out of the oven, although it will continue to cook and develop the crumb as it cools.
Eat with yoghurt, vanilla ice cream, or on its own!