Many people will know what a fan I am of vegetables in cakes. This recipe is nothing to do with the recent resurgence of the courgette as a superfood. It’s more about what makes them so wonderfully tasteless: all that moisture. Yes, a courgette is almost all water. That’s why if you give it anything more than a flash of heat in a hot pan, it turns to an odd shrivelled mush. Peel it, though, and then grate it. This new ingredient will turn any dry recipe into a soft sponge that never cloys.
Chocolate and courgette is the classic combo when it comes to muffins, but courgettes are so tasteless that you can pretty much use whatever you like with them. I like lemons, because they’re subtle, floral and they make these muffins seem better for you than they are. That is, not very good for you. Who cares. Life exists so you can enjoy baked goods. I’d even think about drenching these in icing or sugar syrup for that extra insult to the imaginary diet.
First, preheat your oven to 190C/170C fan/Gas 5. Line a large muffin with cases or grease it with plenty of butter or oil.
First, do your prep. Finely grate the zest of both your lemons and set this aside. Then, peel your courgette and coarsely grate it. Place this in a clean towel and pat or squeeze to get rid of some of the excess moisture.
In a large bowl, weigh out your sugar, egg, oil, milk, salt and lemon zest. Whisk these together until roughly combined – no need to make anything light and fluffy.
Add your flour and baking powder. Using a large metal or wooden spoon, gently mix everything together until lumpy. Once most of the big lumps are gone, add your courgette and very gently finish mixing everything together. It should be a lumpy mix, but evenly so.
Divide your mixture between your cases or tins and place in the oven. You want to bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the muffins are golden brown and springy when pressed. Don’t bother leaving them to cool – scoff them as quick as you can.
For a drizzle that will make these muffins even softer for several days or more, mix 100g caster sugar with the juice of two lemons in a saucepan over a low heat until the sugar is dissolved. Drizzle this over your muffins as they’re cooling.