Cheesy Zucchini Loaf Cake (a recipe)

So my colleagues decided to start a competition in line with the BBC hit series Great British Bake Off. I was about to get excited at the thought of having free baked goodies at work every week until I realised I was in on it, too. My nerves went bonkers as the last time I attempted to bake anything (brownies) they ended up getting as hard as hockey pucks (you could’ve thrown them on the wall and they would’ve held).
I chickened out on the first week and decided to judge. These were my favourite cookies.

Week 2 was all about loaf cakes and I thought I’d face my baking fears and join in on the fun. Most people were going for a sweet cake so I opted for a savoury cake using zucchini (courgettes to most of you, but it will always be zucchini to me). I found an easy enough recipe here but I decided to tweak it a little bit and added some bacon/lardons. Because BACON. Come on. 
I had to do a test run as well. Because I didn’t want to come up with a brick cake. Again.

So for ingredients:

– 325 grams zucchini, grated
– 1 teaspoon salt
– 1 1/2 cups flour – all-purpose
– 1 tablespoon sugar – granulated
– 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
– 1 teaspoon paprika
– 3 large eggs
– 1/3 cup olive oil
– 2 tablespoons water
– 1 sprigs rosemary – fresh stems removed and leaves minced
– 80 grams Comté cheese, diced (changed this to cheddar cheese in the end for a saltier flavour!)
– 250 grams smoked bacon lardons, chopped roughly
– 1 teaspoon wholegrain mustard

1) Preheat the oven to 175C.

2) Fry your lardons. Once done, dry it up in some paper towels to drain excess oil and let it cool for a bit.

3) Grate your zucchini into a colander. Add the salt and toss to distribute evenly (this actually drains up the zucchini so it doesn’t end up being all too wet). Leave the colander over a bowl and let the excess water to drain. Give this process about 15 minutes or so.

4-5) You need two mixing bowls: one for the ‘dry ingredients’ (flour, sugar, baking powder and paprika) and another for the ‘wet ingredients’ (eggs, water, oil, mustard). Whisk through both bowls thoroughly.

6) When your wet ingredients have emulsified and have started to become light and frothy, add the grated (and hopefully drained) zucchini and rosemary into the mixture and stir.

7) Drop the wet mix into your dry ingredients. At this point you can add the lardons, making sure they’re not piping hot anymore so as to not cook the egg. For the final recipe, I ended up putting the lardons in later.

8) Fold evenly but don’t beat up the mixture. Handle with care.

9) Pour half the mix into a 9″ x 5″ loaf tin lined with parchment paper (or dusted in flour). Then drop half of your cheese, too. Remember on step 7 when I said I put the lardons later on the final recipe? This was it, kids. Pour the rest of the mix then top it up with the rest of your cheese.

10) Put your tin in the oven and patiently wait for 45 minutes. Once this is done, stick a toothpick (or chopstick!) to check that it’s all cooked through. If nothing sticks to your stick (har har) then you’re all good! Keep it in the tin for about 10 minutes then let it cool completely on a wire rack.

This was such an easy recipe to follow and it was quite quick to make. I like that it’s very flexible for tweaking and that you can pretty much get creative with it.

My colleagues liked it enough, I think – it was the first to go! Woohoo! We didn’t win first place (this SuperDad made the most amazing lemon cake ever. One bite and I knew we were creamed!) but we did win joint second. Hurrah for savoury cakes!

Next week’s theme is all about the Quiches and Tarts. I don’t like egg at all so I might give this one a pass. But who knows? Baking was quite a relaxing exercise. Maybe I’d surprise people and myself again, non? Watch this space.

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4 Comments

    • 30th August 2015 / 11:57 am

      Thanks Suze – roquefort cheese sounds yum in a bread loaf!

  1. 29th August 2015 / 3:04 pm

    Woohoo Honey yours looks and sounds amazing!! One of my favourite pastas involves zucchini and lardons (plus a ton of creme fraiche) so I just know this would be swoonworthy in loaf form. Your colleagues are lucky to have been able to have a bite of this! Can't wait to see what else you come up with for the competitions 🙂 xx

    Tamsin / A Certain Adventure

    • 30th August 2015 / 11:56 am

      You're too sweet, Tamsin! And thanks for the pasta recommendation, I might recreate that soon! x