This delicate green cucumber cake tastes like a lemon sponge with a subtle, refreshing flavour from the cucumber. It’s a summery cake and I’ve topped it with a gin icing. The gin gives light botanical flavours to the sweet icing to compliment the lemon and cucumber in the cake.
My, how time flies. My blog has now turned three. A mere toddler, but at the same time all grown up. It can walk and it can talk, though it has many miles yet to run.
Happy birthday to my little space on the internet. You are more than my shadow, more than my heart, you are me.
Three years ago I was crushed by redundancy, like an anvil dropped on a cartoon me. But inspired by vegetables, I sat down at the computer and started a blog. My hobby for creating desserts with vegetables was suddenly thrust out into the big wide (virtual) world. I had no plans for it, I just needed something to do. A project, a distraction.
Three years later and this is my job. I’ve had the opportunity to develop recipes for some fantastic brands and to try some amazing products. I’ve had a weekend in Paris, trips around the UK and I’m blogging at a festival in a few months. I’ve made new friends and bonded with souls that I’ve never met. This new community picked me up and dusted me off, and they don’t even know it.
A huge highlight has been writing a monthly national magazine column about reducing food waste. I’ve been writing it for nearly a year now and I love opening my copy every month and seeing my work in print.
Those years ago, when I curled up and felt worthless, redundant and lost, I stared at the fork in the road, turned instead and went to the kitchen for a wooden spoon. With kids at my feet I baked, blogged and poured my heart onto my keyboard time and again.
And then people started to read it. Honestly, that astounded me.
They baked my desserts, emailed me their results, asked me questions. Suddenly I wasn’t alone, blogging merrily. You are all here with me. It’s a party. Bring gin.
I forget about you all most days. I write and blog and forget that you’re all there. But then you write to me, comment, like and share. You bake my kale cake and do crazy things with cauliflower. The legendary Nigella has even mentioned me. It all really does mean so much to me.
So thank you. Thank you for listening, reading, baking and commenting. Thanks for coming back to my site and making it possible for me to still do this. You’re making me misty. Ahem. It’s just a little something in my eye. *sniffle*.
Now, let’s get drunk on a salad cake, shall we? Let’s top it with gin and dance.
Cucumber works fantastically well in cake. I should know, I’ve tried soooo many vegetable cakes for this blog! Cucumber lends a cool and refreshing subtle flavour to the lemony sponge in this cake. You can just about taste it, but if you weren’t looking for a cucumber flavour, you probably couldn’t quite place it. It’s overpowered by the lemon, but it’s there in the background.Cucumber makes it delicately green and beautifully moist.
Gin icing is a dream. Choose your favourite gin to get all of those lovely botanical flavours shining through the sweet icing. Strictly for grown ups, it works very well with the cucumber cake.
- 200g cucumber (about half a cucumber)
- Zest and juice of half a lemon
- 150g (2/3 cup) butter, softened
- 150g (3/4) granulated sugar
- 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 eggs
- 200g (1 ¾ cups) plain (all purpose) flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 75g (1/3 cup) butter, softened
- 200g (1 ½ cups) powdered icing sugar
- 1 tablespoon gin (or substitute lemon juice)
- Preheat the oven to 170C/325F. Lightly grease 2 x 7in cake tins, 3 x 6in tins, or one 9 inch round cake tin.
- Wash and 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.
- Add the baking powder to the flour and mix. Into the wet ingredients, stir in ⅓ of the flour mixture, then gently mix in ⅓ of the cucumber and continue until it is all combined.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean (it will take less time for the three small tins and slightly longer for the larger 9in tin). Allow to cool for five minutes in the tin and turn out on a wire rack to cool completely before icing.
- Beat the butter, icing sugar and gin together until smooth and fluffy. Keep in the fridge until ready to ice the cake. (To frost all the way around the cake, double the amount).