This recipe comes from our friend Arna, she is a chef, but this is a family recipe. In her family it was known as walnut cake and it wasn’t until Arna was fifteen and busted her mum grating zucchini that she discovered the secret ingredient. So please if a little deception helps your cause, call it walnut cake.
Sarah and I have had requests for recipes using zucchinis from friends who have an absolute glut of backyard produce. Zucchinis have this mischievous ability to hide under leaves and turn so very quickly into marrows. This cake is made from a giant marrow that was allowed to grow unchecked on our friend’s roof garden. It was half a foot long and as round as a melon. Somewhat overwhelming, and I’m sure not as sweet as it would have been if picked as a finger long baby zucchini. This is the perfect way to use a marrow. The zucchini gives the cake such a beautiful moist crumb, somewhat in the way of a carrot cake, but the zucchini itself almost disappears. It’s almost chirstmassy in its spice, and play around with amounts if you want it a little subtler. And my favourite bit, the icing and it’s crazy accoutrements. Pepitas, currants, nuts! I love how wild it looks, and gosh, it is yum. Make it now with the very last of the zucchini crop.
¾ cup plain flour
¾ cup wholemeal flour
1 ¼ cup Castor sugar
1 tspn baking powder
1 ½ tspn cinnamon
2 tspn mixed spice
2 cups zucchini, grated
½ cup walnuts, chopped
3 free-range eggs
1 cup fruity olive oil (or sunflower)
Grease a 20cm ring tin and pre-heat oven at 180C. Place all ingredients in a bowl, and mix together. Place mix in tin. Bake for approximately 65 minutes, or until a skewer inserted, comes out clean. Cool on rack.
Cream Cheese Icing
250g cream cheese
1 cup icing sugar
1 tspn vanilla essence or the seeds scraped from a vanilla bean
1 lemon, juice and zest
Mix all ingredients until smooth (we used a food processor). Spread onto the cooled cake. Garnish with dried fruit, seeds and nuts.
2 tbsp currants
2 tbsp pepitas, toasted and cooled
2 tbsp walnuts, toasted, cooled, chopped