Courgette & Chocolate Chip Loaf Cake

The school holidays started this week. I've been working hard lately to meet many of my work deadlines early, so that I can spend time with the kids without being linked to my emails 24/7. We're eager to start spending our days on the beach and in the parks, but the weather has other ideas at the moment. It's grey and wet, but it won't last forever. We just need to put these stay-at-home-days to good use.

Days like these cry out for cake, so I baked this Courgette & Chocolate Chip Loaf Cake. We've lots of courgette in our fridge drawer from the allotment so this recipe was a good way to use some of them up.

It's a simple cake and one that I'm happy to give the kids for their morning snack with a glass of milk. The recipe is adapted from a Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall loaf cake that contains squash and raisins - the latter being something 50% of my household firmly can't abide. Plain chocolate chips are my go-to substitute in such recipes.

Courgette & Chocolate Chip Loaf Cake

Makes 12 generous slices

A little butter or sunflower oil, for greasing
200g light muscovado sugar
200g courgette grated on the coarse side of a box grater
Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
100g plain chocolate chips
100g ground almonds
200g self-raising flour
A pinch of fine sea salt
1 tsp of ground cinnamon
A generous grating of nutmeg

Preheat the oven to 170C. Lightly grease a loaf tin, about 20 x 10 cm, and line with baking paper.

Using an electric whisk, beat the sugar and egg yolks together for 2 - 3 minutes until it is pale and creamy. Lightly stir in the grated courgette, lemon zest and juice, chocolate chips and ground almonds. Sift the flour, salt and spices together over the mixture and then fold then in, using a large metal spoon.

In a large, clean bowl, beat the egg whites until they hold soft peaks. Stir a heaped tablespoon of the egg white into the cake mixture to loosen it a little, then fold in the rest as lightly as you can.

Tip the mixture into the prepared loaf tin and gently level the surface. Bake for 45 minutes - 1 hour, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before slicing.