This Cake: Zucchini & Pistachio

Oh my God, this cake.
This cake is so good.
You have been warned.

This recipe is a UK recipe, so I converted the measurements to US.

I notice a lot of UK recipes use golden caster sugar. What is that?

"Golden caster sugar is a fine granulated sugar that is made from unrefined sugar cane or beets. It is popular in the UK for its color, which is a pale golden brown, and it has a slightly buttery flavor".
It is recommended for shortbread and butter cookies.

I decided to stick to the recipe, since the author, British cookbook author Diana Henry said "it was the most delicious cake ever".
So, I ordered a bag of Billington's Golden Caster Sugar from amazon. A bit pricey to buy, but free shipping! ;)

I know you are going to ask me what to substitute for the caster sugar.......I went online, and couldn't find any really good answer.
Read here.

Most websites recommend using superfine sugar (Dominos makes it). Don't be tempted to use light brown sugar, because there is molasses in it, and it is not the same thing.
Suggestions from you UK bakers are always welcome.

I also thought the recipe might be a misprint, since I have never seen a zucchini cake without buttermilk, oil, or butter.
Hmmmm. I emailed Diana Henry, but she didn't answer, so I took a chance and made the recipe as printed.

This cake is now my new favorite cake for summer. It was moist, fragrant from the ground nuts, and just all around fabulous.

I used 1 huge, big fat zucchini (because how much is a 10 1/2 oz. zucchini? I don't have a kitchen scale......I know, get one!).

It's funny how the English language is not the U.S. English language.......
courgette = zucchini (I thought that was Francaise!); bicarbonate of soda = baking soda; icing sugar = confectioner's sugar; blah blah. It's fun to decipher the words.

We loved this cake, and so did everyone who was lucky enough to try a slice.

Don't worry, I will make another one tomorrow!

Diana Henry's Courgette & Pistachio Cake w/ Lemon Icing: (adapted from Saga Magazine)

100g (3¾oz) pistachios (I used 1/2 cup pistachios)
300g (10½oz) courgettes (I used 1 huge zucchini)
3 medium eggs
200g (7oz) golden caster sugar (I used 1/2 cup Billington's golden caster sugar)
225g (8oz) plain white flour (1 cup flour)
finely grated zest of 2 lemons (I used zest of 1 large lemon)
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)

To decorate

3/4 cup of confectioners sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice
roughly chopped pistachios

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Put the half cup of pistachios into a coffee grinder and blitz them to a powder. If you don’t have a coffee grinder, you can use a food processor; it just won’t grind them as finely.

Trim the zucchini ends and grate them finely into a large bowl.

Beat the eggs and sugar in and fold in the grated zucchini, ground pistachios, flour, lemon zest, baking powder and baking soda. Combine everything, be careful not to over-mix.

Put into a 20cm (8in) cake tin (I used an 8" springform pan) that you’ve buttered and lined with parchment paper. Bake for 45-50 minutes. The cake is cooked when a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.

Leave to cool in the pan for 10 minutes then turn the cake out onto a wire rack, carefully peel off the paper and turn the cake the right side up. Leave to cool completely.

To make the icing, simply mix the confectioners sugar with the lemon juice until it’s smooth. Put the icing mixture in the fridge for a short while to let it firm up, before spreading it over the cake with a small palette knife.

Leave to set a little, then sprinkle with the chopped pistachios on top.

You will not believe how moist this cake is....just from the zucchini and ground nuts.

Fabulous cake. Gone in 1 day. :)


Anonymous said…

This cake looks heavenly... perfect for summer!!

thanks again!!

Bebe said…
Oh, yum! What a luscious-looking, -sounding cake!

Do get yourself a scale.

I love my ancient Braun. Now a “vintage scale" - and its design story is quite interesting. (I believe mine cost under $15 in the ‘80s). Measures in both ounces/pounds and kilograms. And takes up almost no space. Perfect.

Must find some of that sugar and try your cake.

Bebe said…
Reading around I have found a number of posters saying Turbinado sugar, ground to superfine in a blender, is the closest substitute for golden caster sugar (caster sugar is just Brit superfine granulated sugar).

Unlike brown sugar, Turbinado contains no molasses.

What do you think, Stacey?
Stacey Snacks said…
I say yes. I am going to try it.
I use turbinado on top of cakes, I will grind it......because the bag of golden caster only will make 2 cakes (very small bag of sugar)......and I am not spending another $16 on sugar!

Thank you!
Melbourne Girl said…
Stacey, I've never heard of golden caster sugar either (in Aust) but we have what we refer to as "raw sugar" which is a pale golden colour. Not sure if it's available in the US, but I did notice when I was there they had "coffee" sugar in some places we visited. Maybe that's similar. Or try using half brown/half white and see how that goes

Bebe said…
Melbourne Girl, from my reading yesterday, it would seem that your raw sugar is the closest in taste to the golden caster. Caster sugar may be more fine.

I have been wondering about the need for superfine sugar in a cake of this type. - Regular granulated sugar texture - not coarse - should work in this cake as well as superfine. The only real difference would be that a measure of superfine weighs more than the same measure of granulated.

I just noticed that this cake has no shortening of any kind.
Carolyn said…
I wouldnt have tried this since it just doesn't seem like it would work without oil, butter etc! You are more adventuresome! I will definitely make it!!! (Although it will be hard to not throw some oil in there!)
Anonymous said…
Please don't use granulated sugar in cakes, caster sugar gives a much better texture. Turbinado Sugar is almost the equivalent of our Demerara Sugar here in the UK - almost the same - it doesn't have the rounded richness of Demerara. Keep springing for the Golden Caster Sugar even if it's a little expensive, and invest in a set of scales - you won't regret it.

Incidentally, a Victoria Sponge made with Golden Caster Sugar is just the best.

Stacey Snacks said…
Thank u Lesley,
I will heed your good advice!.
Bebe said…
At the risk of becoming tiresome, I looked at that recipe again and figured out the need for the caster (superfine) sugar: No liquid, no shortening. Nothing but the three eggs to dissolve the sugar.

Superfine is used in angelfood cake for the same reason. Dissolves more quickly than regular granulated sugar.