Chocolate & courgette cake

Photographer: Emma

I have been at Fisher & Paykel for over 2 years now.  I am one of seven industrial designers here in the studio in Auckland, and one of just two females.  Simone is my female counterpart and the only designer to contribute a recipe to this month’s theme, Office Favourites (the boys were nothing short of vague when I enquired as to the whereabouts of their recipe submissions!).

Simone grew up in Queenstown in the South Island of New Zealand.  She has shared stories with me of her childhood, of her parent’s aspirations to live a self-sustainable lifestyle on 10 acres of land 20 minutes from the heart of Queenstown.  I am in awe of these stories, partly because they are so far from the childhood I experienced being raised in the city, but also because they are so compelling and so beautifully told that I can almost taste the juicy redcurrants and smell the earthy farm air as she paints a picture of her childhood for me.  She has told me of the orchid and the vegetable gardens, the chickens and the geese, the goats, sheep, pigs and cows and of how she too had a part to play come time to slaughter the animals for meat.  What better way to understand the journey an animal takes from the paddock to the table and to learn which fruit and vegetables are best suited to the climate and the seasons.

I could share many more of Simone’s stories but I think I might save them for another post and instead let her introduce her delicious courgette and chocolate cake recipe.

I have a friend who hates courgette, yet she never says no to a piece of this cake.  Do not be nervous about the odd combination, the courgette doesn’t really contribute a vegetable flavour instead it balances the rich chocolate and gives a lightness that a lot of dense chocolate cakes lack. It is important to chop the courgette into pieces rather than grating it. We attempted this once but it just turned the cake into a soggy mess.


60g butter, softened
¼ cup vegetable oil
¾ cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla essence
¼ cup milk
1 tsp cider vinegar
1 cup flour
¼ cup cocoa
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup unpeeled courgettes, finely diced
100g dark chocolate, grated or finely chopped


1. Preheat the oven to 160 C Bake
2. Grease a 20cm round loose bottomed cake tin
3. Cream the butter, oil and sugar until light and fluffy.
4. Add the egg, vanilla, milk and vinegar and beat together to combine.
5. In a large bowl sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon and stir to combine.
6. Add the creamed mixture and courgettes to the flour mixture and mix until just combined.
7. Spoon the mixture into the prepared cake tin and bake for 50 – 60 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
8. Remove the cake from the oven and sprinkle with the chopped/grated chocolate.
9. Return to the oven for a further 2-3 minutes or until the chocolate has melted.