I've been experimenting a lot lately with recipes for sugar-free cakes and other snacks to offer to my children after school or as pudding. Five-year-old R is really affected by sugar - especially if he has something sweet as a snack in the middle of the day. It doesn't seem to be as bad if he has it as part of a meal - something to do with his blood sugar is my guess. It's taken me years to make the link but it explains a lot. Sometimes sugar is unavoidable - for example at birthday parties - but at home I have an element of control in what I offer, if not what he actually eats. So in the hope of avoiding more bad behaviour we're increasingly eating sugar-free bakes these days.
This recipe for courgette and lemon cake is naturally sweetened, with bananas and honey, and is free from refined sugar. Both of the children loved this cake - although I must admit to being amazed that neither of them was upset that it contained "green bits".
2 ripe bananas
3 large eggs
5 tbsp honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
75g butter, softened
375g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
50g ground almonds
2 medium courgettes, grated
zest of 1-2 lemons
Pre-heat the oven to 200°C. Grease and base line a square 20cm cake tin.
Mash the bananas in a large bowl. Beat in the eggs, honey and vanilla. Add the butter and continue to beat until well mixed.
Sift in the flour and baking powder and fold into the mixture. Fold in the ground almonds.
Squeeze any excess water out of the grated courgette and mix in with the lemon zest.
Pour into the prepared cake tin and bake for 30 minutes until firm to the touch and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Leave in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool.
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