Friday, August 12, 2011

Calm Down London- Gluten Free Camomile & Courgette Cake

Well, it has been a crazy month but we are now back in London just in time for some riots and looting! No one here can quite believe the anarchy that our beloved city descended into. Not sure what the future holds for the UK at the moment but we definitely know that we are not in safe and comfortable Singapore anymore. I am definitely regretting my occasional rants that Singapore didn't have enough edge to it. Now London has so much edge that people are hurting themselves and others.

With so much stress and angst I thought it might be nice to make Harry Eastwood's Courgette and Camomile cupcakes from her Red Velvet Chocolate Heartache book. What could be more summery and calming than these little lovelies. Unfortunately, as we are staying in temporary accommodation with a lovely but not well equipped kitchen, I have no muffin or cupcake tins. I thought that I would break one of Harry's cardinal sins and make the recipe as a cake instead as I figured that even if the texture wasn't as good as her cupcakes, a half decent cake is better than no cake at all! And the texture was great, well risen and moist but I guess the cupcakes would be even lighter and fluffier. You could do either I guess but the book advises that this recipe makes 12 cupcakes. I have only given weight measurements rather than cups to ensure a good texture as this isn't your normal kind of cake recipe as it has no oil or margarine in it which makes it more important to get measurements right.

I am proud of all the Londoners out there who came together to help clean up the mess left and who are trying to work together help protect their communities. So lets all sit back, make a cup of tea and enjoy these soothing little cakes and for hope for a return to little normality in the world.

Calming Camomile & Courgette Cake or Cupcakes (Makes 12 cupcakes)
Vegetarian, gluten free, dairy free

For the cake:
120g/4 oz  Caster sugar
2 Medium eggs 
Finely grated zest of 1/2 lemon
200g/7oz Courgette peeled (I didn't bother peeling) and finely grated (grate just before use)
4-5 Camomile tea bags
150g/5oz Rice Flour (or I used a gluten free all purpose/plain flour)
50g/2oz Ground almonds
2tsp Gluten free baking powder
1/2 tsp Bicarbonate of soda/ baking soda
1/2tsp Salt

For the Icing:
3tbs Strong Camomile tea
2tbs Lemon juice
160g Icing/confectioners' sugar

  • Preheat the oven to 180degreesC/350F/gas mark 4. Grease and line a 8-9 inch/22cm cake tin or use a 12 hole muffin tray filled with 12 cupcake cases. 
  • In a mixing bowl add the eggs and sugar and whisk for a couple of minutes to get a pale and fluffy consistency (I used a stick blender for this part). 
  • Next add the lemon zest and courgette and whisk until well mixed together. 
  • Next add the camomile by tearing open the teabags and tipping the camomile powder from inside into the cake mixture along with the flour, ground almonds, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix this all together. 
  • Once the mixture is well combined spoon into your cake tin or cupcake cases. Put in the oven and bake for 30 mins for cupcakes and 35mins or until cooked through (a skewer into the centre of the cake should come out clean) for the cake. 
  • Whilst the cakes are baking make the icing by mixing the camomile tea and lemon juice with the icing sugar until you get to a thick paste consistency. 
  • Once cooked allow the cake to cool on a wire rack and once cool to the touch ice with the chamomile icing.


  1. Love the flavors -- too bad chamomile always seems to give me a terrible headache for hours. Perhaps I can subsitute another tea osmanthus :).

  2. Oh dear Xiaolu- how horrible. I think you are right, osmanthus or chrysanthemum would give the same kind of delicate flavor. Will have to try this -thanks for the inspiration.