My Small Boy, who is ten years old and increasingly wise to my wily ways with vegetables, adores this cake. The courgettes are smuggled in, disappearing in their blandness, to lend a moist, almost fudgy texture. It is, incidentally, vegan as well, the marmalade replacing eggs in some miraculous twist of science. I’d go as far as to suggest that a cake made entirely of plants is practically a salad, if you need any further convincing; it’s what I tell myself when my child has seconds, anyway.
Dice your courgettes and pop them into your blender, along with the oil and the marmalade. Zest the lemon or lime into the mix, and then halve it and juice it rigorously, until it has nothing left to give. If you don’t have a lemon squeezer, you can work it out with a fork and some elbow grease, or by digging your (clean) thumbs in and shoving them around a bit. When the citrus is a husk of its former self, discard it and blend the wet ingredients to a smooth liquid. Set to one side, you’ll need these in a moment.
Weigh the flour, sugar and cocoa powder into a large mixing bowl, and stir well to combine evenly. Pour the wet ingredients into the centre, scraping out the blender jug or cup thoroughly to get as much of it as possible. Mix well to form a smooth batter – there may be a moment where you think it’s too dry, but persevere and it will work out in the end.
Spoon the batter into the prepared loaf tin and place on the centre shelf of the oven.
When cooked, remove from the oven and cool in the tin for 30 minutes, before turning out and slicing. For best results, allow it to cool for a further 30 minutes on a wire rack, but I know that freshly baked cake is irresistible, so if you don’t mind the risk of a slight crumbly edge, dig in.
It will keep for 3 days, well wrapped in an airtight container, or 3 months in the freezer.
© Jack Monroe, 2020