I rather like this time of year. Rowan and heather glow upon golden hills, the bracken begins to turn and every breath of wind rocks and lifts the willow herb, which flies about in clouds. The mornings are crisp, but the days are warm and the sky is always varied and amazing. Formerly for me, the turn into September always had something of dread about it: that gloomy sensation of summer ending, the new term beginning, courses to prepare, students to greet, and the sinking feeling of never having made quite enough of one’s precious research time. But now September just means a continuation of the work I dearly love – and definitely more knitting! I really enjoy perusing the Autumn catalogues, musing on garment shapes and colour palettes, turning my wardrobe around, planning some wearable essentials, and being gripped with the familiar seasonal desire to Just Knit All The Things. This is absolutely fine by me: a few non-knitting weeks seems to have solved my thumb / tendon issue, and I am back happily working away on a new design! So I’ve spent this past weekend busily knitting while Tom has been preoccupied with two things: perfecting a recipe for a cake that makes great use of our current glut of courgettes (zucchini) and photographing the night sky (which seems particularly bright and lovely at the moment). He has combined these two activities into a recipe which, having gained the enthusiastic approval of our neighbours, he now can share with you. I too have eaten quite a bit of this cake over the past few weeks, and love it – I think the courgettes add a pleasant moistness rather than a particularly vegetable-y flavour, and you can’t argue with the combination of lemon, nuts and poppy seeds. One of our neighbours has a decided aversion to courgettes, but she also declared it delicious – so I’d even recommend this recipe to those for whom the idea of squash in a cake arouses deep suspicion.

The star trail photo was taken from the top of our garden last night.

cake1


Carbeth star trail cake

Ingredients:
(makes cake 22cm square)
Cake
85g / 3oz whole roasted shelled pistachios
60g / 2oz whole blanched almonds
200g / 7oz caster sugar
30g / 1oz poppy seeds
160g / 5 1/2oz butter (softened)
225g / 8oz plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
3 medium eggs
115g / 4oz 120bio-live greek style yoghurt
2 lemons
120g / 4 1/4oz courgettes (aka zuchini. We have used several different varieties, all of which have given good results)

Topping
140g / 5oz icing sugar
1 lemon
2 tablespoons lemon curd
20g / 3/4oz whole roasted shelled pistachios

cake4 copy

Method:
1)Lightly grease a 22x22cm square cake tin, then line with baking parchment.
2)Pre-heat the oven to 180C/160C fan.
3)Put the pistachios, almonds and caster sugar in a food processor and whizz for 30-40 seconds, until the nuts are finely ground.
4)Zest and juice two lemons.
5)Coarsely grate the courgettes.
6)Empty the nuts and sugar into a large mixing bowl and add the poppy seeds, soft butter, flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, eggs, yoghurt and the zest and juice from the two lemons. Mix with an electric beater until smooth.
7)Stir in the courgette and mix gently by hand. Spoon into the prepared tin and bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes. The cake is ready when the top is golden and well-risen. A skewer inserted into the centre of the cake should come out clean.
8)Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, before transferring to a cooling rack. Leave to cool completely.
9)Coarsely chop the remaining pistachios.
10) Sieve the icing sugar into a small bowl then add the juice from the remaining lemon. Keep mixing until you have a smooth and runny consistency.
11)Drizzle or pipe the icing over the cake in trails, followed by the lemon curd. Finally sprinkle the chopped nuts over the icing and curd.
12)Leave for at least 15 minutes to set, cut into squares and enjoy!

cake3 copy

star trail1 copy

50 thoughts on “Carbeth star trail cake

  1. I have finally got round to making this almost a year after seeing and copying out Tom’s recipe. Courgette AND poppy seeds from our Pudding Mill allotment on the Olympic Park. Unfortunately I won’t get to taste the pair I’ve made as they’re going off to the WI cake stall at Victoria Park’s Great Day Out.

    I know you’ll both ‘get’ the pleasure I’ve got from creating a trail from here to there.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My husband said: “A cake with COURGETTES in it? Well, make it if you really MUST” but then ate lots of it with pleasure :) thank you for the great recipe!

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  3. Giving your cake a whirl today! Noticed I was short pistachios and almonds, so I’ve had to aspire to simply capture the essence of your cake rather than make it exactly; added some toasted sesame seeds to bolster the weight of the nut/seed content. I hope it turns out, and I wish I was able to make it exactly! I’ve done everything else to the letter, barring the lemon curd, which we don’t seem to have around here. Thanks for the inspiration and recipe!

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  4. I just made this cake and it is amazing! Subtly sweet and moist. I didn’t have lemon curd so just drizzled the lemon icing over the top. This is definitely a keeper. I have extra courgette so I just might make another one to take to coworkers next week. Thanks for this great recipe Tom!

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  5. Made the cake last night, not least because the photos with this post are so beautiful. We’ve just got back from our allotment, yes courgettes in the basket, and we’ve had our first greedy slice of cake with our tea. Gorgeous. Great texture and flavour, thanks both for sharing it with us x x

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  6. Thank you Tom and Kate for sharing this lovely recipe and photos. My 8 year old grandson helped me make the Carbeth star trail cake yesterday. We had so much fun preparing and measuring the ingredients and we were rewarded with a lovely and delicious cake. ( I finally found a vegetable that he likes!)

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  7. This was so delicious–even without the icing and other toppings! I made this yesterday but only had one lemon (and no lemon curd). The recipe resembled a lemon poppy seed muffin with zucchini, and the resulting texture was more muffin like (as opposed to zucchini bread, which tends to be more wet and dense). So yummy, everyone loved it!

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  8. Made Tom’s brilliant cake this morning and it was delicious – there go our waistlines! Many thanks Tom. ps I used our home-grown yellow courgettes and made some lemon curd this morning especially.

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  9. This cake is currently baking in my oven. I have never licked a cake bowl so greedily, and my kitchen has never smelt so good. Thanks a million for the recipe.

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  10. Hello,
    I just made the Carbeth star trail cake today, here in Colorful Colorado, USA. I don’t like zucchini breads that much either. I used my fresh ground pastry wheat berries instead of white flour and doubled the batch to bring to several occasions this week. The main one being today where I will serve it to my two elderly friends whom I knit with every Tuesday. Thank you folks for this marvelous recipe as I did taste the batter (lots of it) and found it to be very very good. :)

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  11. Love that the world seems to have righted itself for you Kate! I love fall and have always embraced its arrival. Even here in Alaska it has been slow and was +70ºF last night. This morning is a clear sky the first in weeks, dark finally and I could see lightly northern lights dancing away . . . true fall bliss!

    For all the gluten free folks out there . . . I might try this recipe with just almond flour and will let you know how it turns out!

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  12. This looks like the nicest courgette cake recipe I’ve seen in a while, and I love the topping- I do love a cake made with vegetables or fruit (I’m on a vegan seed and banana bread trip at the moment, beloved of Glittrgirl), so it’s good to have another one to try- and my ‘shared’ veg garden is pushing out courgettes at a pace at the moment.

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  13. We aren’t a cake eating household. I do make a sort of cheesy-cornbread with a grated courgette and a grated carrot and sometimes a few chopped shallots/spring onions in the mix. But, this recipe sounds interesting.

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  14. Star trails look very interesting. BUT that cake is a GO TO!! I do not care for Courgette breads/cake usually but this one is a keeper. Thank you so much and glad your hand/thumb is Better. Of course we are awaiting your next project!!

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  15. A lovely poetical beginning, Kate.
    Such a wonderful star trail photo. The cake looks delicious.
    I’m happy to hear you can knit again. I had a long bout of tendentious, so I’m delighted to be able to click the sticks again, too.

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  16. Thanks for this outstanding recipe…I am so glad to read your hand is better…and perhaps most of all I am glad to read your September feelings of fear and despair are gone. I know those feelings well, I can’t shake them entirely ‘tho I have no reason for them any longer, well, except snow, tee hee. So to know you’ve resolved such feelings is truly grand.

    Like

  17. Beautiful stars! Delicious-looking cake! And thank you for “translating” the recipe for American cooks! I, too, appreciate this turn of the season more than I used to, and am looking forward to autumn.

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  18. I’m wondering how much of a clue “Carbeth” is to your plot in Scotland? Looks like you get great star views from there!

    The cake looks scrumptious, and while I’m NOT a zucchini fan, looks like I might have to give this a try.

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  19. I’m always happy for more zucchini recipes, as sometimes the old standbys get dull by the end of summer when we’re still swimming in them. My favorites are replacing lasagna noodles like someone above mentioned, or breaded and fried zucchini (I actually do this in the oven, but it’s a really great side dish, or even as a main dish if you’re looking for a meat free entree).

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  20. Thank you for help with the courgette glut! I have made a couple of cakes with them and persuaded folk in the office to take them after I had exhausted the neighbours! They are reminiscent of torpedoes – to say they had bolted would be an understatement. So what’s not to like about another cake recipe? Looks delish, I can’t wait to have a go. Tom’s pictures are beautiful. Dark skies are on our wish list when we move, they are amazing.

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  21. Ah, a courgette glut! Ours has come 3 weeks late this year, but is here nonetheless. This recipe looks to be a real treat and I can’t wait to try it out. Thanks to you, Tom and the neighbours for this!

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  22. My version of Tom’s Courgette cake is baking in the oven right now . A neighbour has been very kind with her surplus allotment veg and I’m going to share the cake with her . The Sky Trails photo is amazing and I agree with the other comments about what a lovely knitted pattern it would make . Keep well ‘tout le monde’ . Best wishes Jan .

    Like

  23. I’m so glad your hand is OK! I was thinking, what will I do if Kate can’t knit??? (you notice, it’s all about ME). Tom’s cake is inspiringly yummy looking.

    Like

  24. Kate, So good to hear that your thumb/tendon
    has eased off . I know how you feel as I have
    osteoarthritis and nothing worse than sore hands.
    Great recipe and will give it a try . Will
    you please tell Tom it was a pleasure to meet him on
    Friday whilst shopping . (Hope he didn’t mind me
    stopping him) and I enjoyed our wee blether.
    Love to both of you x

    Like

  25. Like your neighbor, I dislike zucchini, but I do like zucchini bread. This cake looks delicious and I’m looking forward to giving it a try. Thanks very much for the recipe! (Glad to learn a new word: “courgette” is not used here in the States.)

    Like

  26. Oh wow, that cake looks absolutely amazing! Tom’s welcome to mail some of the extras over to me here in the states! I’ll print the recipe & add to my shopping list while I’m waiting for my shipment to arrive :-)

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Tom, your cake looks wonderful. I will definitely try it. The courgettes are definitely in abundance here too. (My tablet insisted on spelling it Corvettes 3 times). I just slice them up— bunch of the yellow and green ones, a few parsnips, tomatoes, onions and whatever else I can find, cooking it down, to not-quite-mushy— wonderful ratatouille! Also freezes well for great pasta dinners in the winter.
    The picture of the stars is gorgeous!! Do you have a skylight in your home so you can enjoy it longer?
    September should be the beginning of the year, not January!!

    Like

  28. Oohh, star trails. Night photography takes patience, a good tripod and a good low light lens. My favorite sort of pictures to take..I have lots to learn. I finally got a night time glowing tent picture in the snow. The cake looks great, but the star trail picture caught my eye. I need a new warm glove KDD design to take these pictures for winter camping. Star Trail gloves…..

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  29. Hi Kate
    Thanks for the recipe, just off to buy some poopy seeds now… the star trail photo and trees would make a great shawl design too.

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  30. A trick I learned from a friend many years ago when we had so many zucchini (courgettes) growing in our neighborhood that people were sneaking around in the night and depositing bags full of them on neighbors’ doorsteps — slice big ones lengthwise and use in lasagna instead of noodles. Makes a truly delicious veggie lasagna!

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  31. Oh! I was looking at the cake photos, thinking ” lemon, poppyseed, pistachios, of course, what’s not to love”, and then to come upon the glorious star shot – thanks for a beautiful start to my day!

    Like

  32. Okay, now Tom has to come out with his own cookbook, with pictures, of course, by him that will make us want us to eat the pages. The star trails picture would, obviously, be the cover shot. It’s amazing how talented you both are. Next, I expect Bruce will be coming out with his own book of doggie philosophy.

    Liked by 1 person

  33. Courgette. Oh good – another word new to my American ears! Curious to learn it’s
    a “loan word” from the French. Do you see what you’ve started through your blog? You’re
    “knitting” our cultures. And, it’s all so interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Wonderful! The Jerusalem cookbook has a wonderful recipe for Zucchini turkey burgers, my grandkids loved them! Also there are zucchini potato pancakes … And then finally you’ve had enough z. But this cake is a must try, seems far better than carrot cake.

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  35. We have the courgette glut too. Roasted till squishy with garlic and tiny tomatoes and a sprinkling of cumin works well. The cake looks sensational, but the thing I’d love to know how to do is the photo of star trails. Any chance of a wee bit of instruction for that?

    Like

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