These cupcakes were a bit of a not-so-subtle attempt to get my boyfriend to try courgette, which is normally something that he avoids at all costs.
I have very little tolerance for fussy eaters- especially when the victim in question is as innocent as the humble courgette. They’re essentially just cucumber with slightly less water. Courgettes are certainly not offensive – I can understand the common distaste for mushrooms (the texture) or sprouts (the taste) but with a mild taste and a crunchy texture, I just can’t see what he has against them.
Nothing like cramming a vegetable into a sweetly spiced cake (covered in chocolate) to get a sweet-tooth guy to go against his morals.
Courgette- or Zucchini if you’re across the pond- work just as well in baking as carrots, because they create nice, mellow cakes that aren’t overly rich or sweet, but work splendidly well with spices like cinnamon and nutmeg. Plus they are full of Vitamin C, Potassium, and are a great source of fibre.
Despite being packed full of your essential minerals, the word healthy is a bit of a stretch when it comes to these cakes…they’re not vegan, as they do contain eggs, but apart from that the dairy is minimal, and they also don’t call for any butter or sugar. If you use quinoa flour (as I did) then they pack in some protein and can easily be made gluten free.
The chocolate peanut butter topping was a half-arsed attempt to hide the give-away green of the courgette…needless to say he saw past my sneaky ways, but it was a pretty stellar addition, so I’ve added it to the recipe. Chocolate, nuts and courgette go mysteriously well together, which is bizarre because you’d never find yourself chopping up a courgette on a daily fridge raid and dunking it in nutella….
Or who knows, maybe you would.
For the Cake
- 2 large or 3 small courgettes, spiralized and roughly chopped (or grated)
- 2 Eggs
- 1 Tablespoon Coconut Oil (either soft or melted)
- 3 Tablespoons of Agave Syrup, or honey
- 225 Grams Quinoa, or Wholewheat flour
- 2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
- 2 Teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
- 1 Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
- 1 Tablespoon Cocoa Powder (for an optional chocolatey-ness)
- 100ml soy milk, soy yoghurt or greek yoghurt
- 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Essence
- 50-100 Grams Dark Chocolate Chips
For the Topping
- 100 Grams Palm-Oil Free Peanut Butter (or a different nut butter of your choice)
- 125 Grams Melted Dark Chocolate Chips
- Edible Gold Sprinkles (or other fancy garnish of your choice)
Makes 24 Cupcakes or 2 Round-Tin Cakes
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius or 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and either line a cupcake tin with paper cases, or grease your round cake tins with a little bit of coconut oil.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs, then beat in the syrup and softened coconut oil, until combined.
In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and cocoa (if using) before stirring gently into the egg mixture. Add the yoghurt and vanilla essence, stirring so that all the ingredients are completely combined and have a fairly soft, but not too runny batter-y texture.
Once the courgettes have been grated and/or spiralized and chopped, pat them dry with some kitchen paper so that they don’t add too much water to the mixture. Mix these into the cake mix with the chocolate chips until both the chocolate and the courgette are evenly spread throughout.
Spoon the mixture into the paper cases until they are ¾ full, or divide evenly into the two tins.
Put them in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
Whilst the cakes are in the oven you can get on with making the topping, which is the simple yet heavenly job of melting together the chocolate and peanut butter in a pan, over a low heat and stirring regularly to make sure that it doesn’t burn.
Try not to add the topping until the cakes are completely cool…but if you don’t have the patience to add pretty sparkles want to eat them right away then I wouldn’t blame you!
If you have any more tips on getting fussy eaters to eat their vegetables, I’d love to hear them in the comments!