Last weekend my daughter brought home several interesting finds from Marylebone Farmer’s Market here in London: marrow. If you’re not familiar with marrow, at first glance, you may think it is a mini-watermelon – at least I did! I’ll be honest, I’d never heard of marrow, other than a bone, but maybe that’s because I’m American; my British husband quickly knew what it was. It’s a vegetable similar to a courgette (a.k.a. zucchini) but with a centre that’s more like butternut squash (with seeds and innards that you scoop out prior to cooking). Turns out it was perfect timing – it’s the first week of Autumn and I’ve had a new autumnal veggie to cook!
I’ve been googling marrow recipes throughout this week. Many of them seem familiar, as they suggest stuffing the marrow, like the stuffed round courgettes that I made over the summer. But, as I never make cakes, I wondered whether marrow could be used in a dessert. And, lo and behold, yes! It can be used in a dessert! I found a wonderful recipe for Marrow & Pecan Cake with Maple Icing on BBC GoodFood, one of my favourite go-to recipe sites.
I followed the cake recipe exactly, but I modified the cream cheese icing to make it dairy-free as my son is visiting. I used Violife’s Just Like Cream Cheese Original in place of whole milk cream cheese. I also found the frosting a little bland, so I added freshly grated nutmeg into the mixture, as well as a little extra maple syrup. As someone who prefers not to make cakes, I can honestly say this cake was a cinch to make – a terrific weekend cake for a beginner.
The dairy-free cream cheese did make the icing come out slightly softer than whole milk cream cheese. That was easily remedied by placing the iced cake into the refrigerator for just a few minutes before serving (not too long or the cake would be cold).
The flavour of this cake is similar to that of carrot cake, perhaps my favourite of all cakes. Like every good cake, it went down easy, and everyone asked for seconds! A must repeat!
All in all, an excellent autumn recipe and terrific addition to our experimental kitchen!