Monday, March 20

{ an intriguingly boozy bake . cucumber & lime gin fizz cake }

When we decided on the theme of Intriguing Ingredients for our latest Clandestine Cake Club event, I'll admit that my selection process was based on choosing the most obscure thing I could find.  In the world of cake making there are some strange and wonderful ingredients that have found their way into cake recipes;  Lemon Drizzle Cakes have been made with mashed potato, Chocolate Cakes have been made with avocado, cauliflowermayonnaise, and even tomato soup, which also lends itself well to a spiced cake, reminiscent of carrot cake.  There is a fascinating article on theKitchn, The Enduring Allure of Tomato Soup, should you be curious as to the origins of this most obscure cake ingredient.

Even though all these choices were fairly intriguing, they didn't feel quite obscure enough.  For a while the Chocolate Cauliflower Cake was a strong contender, but it was whilst browsing through all the other baking delights on Veggie Desserts that I came across her recipe for Lemon and Cucumber Cake with Gin Icing.  Kate's cake was the prettiest pale green hue, three layers of lemon loveliness, and oh, yes, it was baked with cucumber.  On the one hand I can relate to how well the ingredients compliment one another, the botanical flavours of the gin marrying well with the lemon and the cucumber.  But still, this was a cake baked with cucumber.  I'll be honest and admit that I was sure with this cake I'd probably win the prize for most intriguing ingredient.  I wasn't convinced however, that I'd win the prize for most enjoyable cake of the evening.

I made a couple of small changes to Kate's original recipe.  I worried about the cucumber being too wet, so I grated mine and squeezed a little of the excess water out before pureeing.  And whilst Kate uses just lemon juice in hers, I wanted to make a lime curd to sandwich in between the layers, so I used a combination of lemon and lime in the cake, and just lime in that lovely gin frosting.  Apart from that, complete credit for this recipe sits firmly with Veggie Desserts.

Lime curd is available to buy, but I made my own using this recipe from Waitrose, though I used four limes and two lemons to give it more of a lime bias.

Cake // Frosting // Curd // Repeat

doesn't this make you forget this cake contains cucumber?


So I know that you're all dying to know.  What did it taste like?

Well, it was greeted with a polite but hesitant response, and an, ok, lets start with this one, get it out the way, and then we can enjoy the nice cakes! Slices were cut, and shared around.  The cake was such a pretty colour, mine a little more mottled than Kate's, the cucumber not pureed quite as much.  It smelt lovely, fresh citrus and juniper, and yes, undeniably, it smelt of cucumber.  We tasted with a little trepidation, me more so than others, and then with a little surprise we all found that we actually quite liked it.  No, make that more than quite liked it, even my little sister, who has never eaten cucumber in her entire life.

{ recipe credit // Veggie Desserts }

This is possibly the messiest cut slice in the whole of baking blogging world, but it was the only slice left at the end of cake club.  I think only once before have I come away with so little cake.  Seconds were enjoyed by some on the night, and slices were taken away to be enjoyed the next day.

It truly is a lovely cake.  It is light, and refreshing, the cucumber doesn't overwhelm the other flavours, but neither do they mask it to the extent that you question why it's there.  This cake would be perfect on a Summer's day, alongside a jug of Pimm's or a ( large ) G&T, and despite my scepticism, and my choosing it on the basis of it being the most obscure thing I could find, I will definitely be making it again.

By good luck, this cake also fits perfectly into Bumpkin Betty's baking club theme for March.  After welcoming her gorgeous daughter Evie on the 27th February, it was only fitting that the theme for March be Boozy Bakes.  So with a good measure of gin in the frosting on this cake, I think it fits the brief somewhat.  If you would like to join up then pop over to the Baking Club's Facebook page.

{ have a happy day }

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