You could also call this a Secret Ingredient Cake because no one would guess what is hidden inside.
I got the idea for this recipe because of a wonderful chocolate zucchini squash cake recipe my friend Catherine gave me a few years ago. It was a chocolate amazement that I have written about both here and in my food column, and this cake has probably formed a fan club all its own. I make it every year because it is so delicious. I was thinking about that cake when I had a very large accumulation of yellow summer squash last week and thought I might just substitute. But the squash were so beautifully yellow, the idea of lemon popped into my head and started festering, and when that happens I seldom retreat.
Lemon or chocolate, of course!
While I might not be a big dessert eater, if I have something sweet it will probably involve either lemon or chocolate. I picture myself with a chocolate zucchini cake in one hand and a lemon summer squash cake in the other. That is a balanced dessert diet.
A little less sugar, less saturated fat as well, but lots of flavor
I started with a basic cake I often use with fruit and I thought it might make a good foundation for the squash. I’ve cut the sugar in the recipe from 1 ½ cups to just one, so this cake is not overly sweet; for me, it’s just right, but if you have a sweet tooth, feel free to increase a little. While this is not a health food by any means, I did want to cut back on the saturated animal fat, so I used a vegan butter here. Instead of sour cream, my favorite thick and creamy non-fat plain Greek yoghurt served as the stand-in with just the right little tang.
Any lovely lemon-colored squash
I used crookneck squash here, but you can use any yellow summer squash you like. You could even use zucchini I guess, but it would have green specks in it! But don’t worry, yellow or green, you won’t even know there is squash in this cake!
I slightly overbeat it this time, so I got a few holes, but I didn’t mind at all because it tasted so good! This is why I recommend combining the squash in at the end by hand. The cake has a moist, dense texture, and keeps well. Although, when I made it last week, the next morning I noticed that overnight it shrunk by about half! Mysterious.
Now, all those cherry tomatoes…
Lemony Summer Squash Cake
- 2 heaping cups grated yellow summer squash
- 2 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1/4 tsp. baking soda
- ½ tsp. salt
- Zest of two large lemons
- 1 stick dairy-free or dairy butter
- 1 cup sugar, scant
- 3 large organic eggs
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- ½ tsp. lemon extract
- ½ cup plain non-fat Greek yoghurt
- 1 cup confectioners sugar
- 1 1/2 to 2 tbsp. lemon juice
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease and flour a Bundt pan.
Grate the summer squash and set aside.
Combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and zest in a bowl and mix up thoroughly.
In the bowl of a standing mixer, or using a hand mixer, beat the butter with the sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, then add the lemon juice and extract.
On lowest speed, add half the flour mixture just, followed by the yoghurt, and then the rest of the flour. Add the squash by hand and mix only until combined. The batter will be very dense.
Spoon the batter evenly in the prepared pan. Run your spatula through the batter to remove any large pockets of air, and level off the top, then tap it to remove any remaining pockets.
Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until the top is browned and a toothpick inserted into the thickest part comes out clean.
Let cool five minutes, then invert on a rack to completely cool.
Put on a cake plate and glaze with a cup of 10X confectioners sugar whisked well with an overflowed tablespoon of lemon juice, a little more if need be. Drizzle over the top of the cake, and sprinkle with more lemon zest. For a little extra zing, substitute limoncello for the lemon juice.
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