Cucumbers. Such a refreshing and summery vegetable. My mum used to grow great big ones as long as my arm in the garden when I was little so we had an endless supply of pickled gherkins and cucumber sandwiches. I still absolutely love a cucumber sandwich – a little mayo, some salt and American mustard – ideally on toasted bread. Controversial, I know.
I wanted to make something refreshing with this light veggie, so I thought I’d come up with a recipe to pair it with lemon and elderflower – like a summery cold drink in cake form. This is a lemon sponge with a refreshing hint of cucumber. Don’t fear the added vegetable!
I didn’t get myself organised enough this year to make my own batch of elderflower cordial, but I was very lucky to be given a bottle from a friend. You can buy it in the shops, or during elderflower season here is a lovely recipe from Muddling Along Mummy
- 200g cucumber (about half a cucumber)
- Zest and juice of half a lemon
- 115g (1/2 cup) butter, softened
- 150g (3/4) granulated sugar
- 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 eggs
- 150g (1⅛ cups) self raising flour
- 75g (1/3 cup) butter, softened
- 150g (1⅛ cups) powdered icing sugar
- 1 tablespoon elderflower cordial (or lemon juice if elderflower isn't available)
- Preheat the oven to 170C/325F. Lightly grease 2 x 7in sandwich tins or a 9inch round cake tin.
- Leave the skin on the cucumber and de-seed it by cutting it in half lengthways and scraping the seeds out with a teaspoon. Cut into chunks and puree until smooth. Stir in the lemon juice.
- Cream the butter, lemon zest, sugar and vanilla together for a few minutes until light and fluffy.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, beating each one in well.
- Stir in ⅓ of the flour, then add ⅓ of the cucumber and continue until it is all combined.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 35 minutes. Allow to cool slightly in the tin and turn out on a wire rack to cool completely before icing.
- Beat the butter, icing sugar and cordial together until smooth and fluffy. Keep in the fridge until ready to ice the cake.