The beauty of this loaf is in its simplicity. It couldn’t be easier to make, but the flavours are slightly sweet, gently spiced, and familiar too. It’s very similar in texture and flavour to a banana bread or carrot cake. You can of course add in some chopped nuts, walnuts are particularly good, or sultanas/chopped dates, for an extra pop of sweetness, but I love to keep it plain. The flecks of green in the cake are very pretty.
Chia seeds are able to absorb a lot of water, and I use them here to help absorb the excess moisture from the grated courgette, yielding a moist and springy loaf, rather than a wet and dense one. The recipe will work without them, but the result will be a little different. I’ve used coconut palm sugar here in place of brown sugar, but both will, of course, work.
Spelt flour is such a pleasure to bake with; it has a much more interesting flavor than modern wheat flour, and it far better for us, offering more nutrients, fiber, and a lower GI. I use Sharpham Park spelt flour which is organic. It's quality is unrivaled; read about it here.
300g spelt flour – white, wholegrain, or a combination
350g grated courgette – approximately 3 small courgettes
90g of coconut palm sugar or soft brown sugar
2 tablespoons of chia seeds
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon bicarbonate soda
a generous pinch of cinnamon
a generous pinch of ginger
some freshly grated nutmeg
a pinch of salt
125ml vegetable oil – a mild rapeseed oil is best
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees, on the fan setting, and make sure the oven rack is in the middle. Line a loaf tin with baking paper; I use a loaf tin that’s 10 inches by 4.5 and it’s perfect.
Start by top and tailing the courgettes, and coarsely grating; leave these to one side.
Next sieve the flour, bicarbonate soda and baking powder into a large mixing bowl, and combine with all the other dry ingredients, with the exception of the grated courgette.
Whisk together the eggs, vegetable oil and vanilla extract.
Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, tip the grated courgette into this hollow, and pour on top the whisked eggs and oil, stirring as you do so.
Mix the batter just until all the ingredients are well combined.
Tip this into the lined loaf tin, and bake in the middle of the preheated oven for 50 minutes. It should be golden, well risen, and springy to touch when cooked all the way through. If possible, don’t open the oven during the cooking time or this will collapse the rising loaf.
Allow it to cool for ten minutes in the tin before transferring to a cooling rack. Allow it to cool completely before slicing, and enjoying with a cup of tea. It will last up to 5 days in a sealed container.