Apple and courgette cake with five spices

Healthy apple and courgette cake recipe, with Chinese five spices if you like… !

Healthy cakes and snacks

Are you one of those people who like to experiment with flavours or do you like your food ‘classic’?  Well you can always choose when you make cakes, and the Chinese five spices can go in or you might just stick to cinammon, the old favourite.  So are you game for this easy healthy apple and courgette cake?  It’s sugar-free, made with spelt flour, honey, olive oil and greek yoghurt.  It’s moist with juicy caramelised apples on top and little apple and crunchy walnut pieces lurking inside sponge that’s so soft it’s almost pudding-like!  With a rounded spicy yet slightly citric flavour.  In a way this cake is a response to the reader who said cooking involves more layers of flavour than baking.  That’s almost a dare really.  Like how many flavours could I pack into this cake?  Chinese five spices with extra cinammon, then lemon juice and vanilla.  Yes, that’s all I’m afraid. but there are definite layers for your taste buds and an almost savoury feel to the experience.  Try making it and see!   Oh, and it’s delicious!

Healthy apple and courgette cake

Healthy apple and courgette cake

And just in case you were wondering, there are no drawings, stories, strange songs, videos or jokes.  Sorry about that but there’s no time really… I’m actually out for a long weekend climbing and typing this right now from the little internet room provided by our very cute climbing hut here in Siurana.  After a delicious paella…

And this is the apple and courgette cake that helped us climb – so light, so healthy 🙂

IMG_20150312_171425All the wackiness will be back another day – not to worry.  And here (drum roll – ta ra da dum da da dum da da dum) is the recipe:



Pre-heat the oven to 180°C (static, non-convection oven) or 160°C (fan-assisted oven)

Butter and flour your cake tin  (20cm tin with removable bottom) – with greaseproof paper on the bottom


Preparing bits and pieces (like the apple layer)

  • 100g courgettes use a grater or food processor:
    courgettes in processor

    Throw pieces of partially peeled courgettes into the food processor to chop roughly.

    courgettes in colander

    Put the chopped or grated courgettes into a colander (on a deep plate) and sprinkled salt over them. Now wait 1 or 2 hours for the water to come out!

  • 30g roughly chopped walnuts
  • 500g or more apples (nice ones, like russetts) – peel, core then chop 80g of the apples into little cubes to put inside the cake.  Peel, core then slice 420g or more of the apples remaining (slicing each one into 8 or 10 parts) – you want enough to cover the bottom of your cake tin and this depends on the size of your apples and how thick you cut them so you should adapt the quantity accordingly.

Caramelise the apple slices in a frying pan:

  • melt 20g butter first then add 1 and a half to 2 tablespoons of honey or maple syrup (depending on how sweet you want it)
  • let the mixture foam into a kind of caramel (it’s not a ‘real’ one so don’t worry about temperature etc.) then add
  • 1/4 teaspoon Chinese five spices powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinammon powder
  • half a tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Now add the apple slices and turn them in the caramel till coated.  Cook on low to medium heat for 10 minutes until the slices have softened a little but not too much.DSCF6708
  • Place the slices ‘artistically’ on the bottom of your prepared cake tin.  Try not to scrape the flour off the sides of the tin but it’s not the end of the world if a bit comes off – speaking from experience! 🙂 WP_20150306_15_49_51_SmartShoot[1]

Now for the cake batter!

Dry stuff (sieve flour into a big bowl then whisk in the other dry ingredients to combine)

  • 120g spelt flour (plain if you prefer)
  • 20g ground almonds (or flour if you don’t have any)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/4 tsp cinammon powder
  • a quarter tsp fine sea salt

Wet stuff – separate your eggs then whisk the egg yolk with the other wet ingredients in a medium bowl, except the olive oil.  Add the olive oil right at the end and stir in gently.

  • 1 egg yolk (20g)
  • 110g runny honey
  • 30g natural greek yoghurt
  • half teaspoon pure vanilla essence
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 50g cold-pressed olive oil, with no strong flavour
  • 2 egg whites (75g)



  1. Weigh and prepare all the ingredients in bowls as described above.
  2. Whisk the egg whites till firm with a hand whisk or other kind of whisk.  S0401387S0411389
  3. Do the upside down bowl test – it’s ready when it doesn’t fall out!!!
  4. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients then fold together till not quite combined (the less time you do this the better)
  5. Fold in the bits and pieces (grated courgette, chopped apples and walnuts) until just combined.  Don’t overmix.
  6. Fold in the stiff egg whites, gently until just combined.  Again, don’t overmix.
  7. Immediately pour the batter gently over the apples at the bottom of the cake tin.
  8. Bake in the oven for around 40 to 55 minutes.  The cake is ready when the sponge springs back slightly when pressed lightly with a finger, and an inserted skewer comes out clean.
  9. Serve warm or cold.  Keeps a few days at room temperature in an airtight container.

Hurray!  A lovely spicy moist apple cake … and healthy!  Don’t forget healthy! 🙂

Healthy apple and courgette cake

Healthy apple and courgette cake

Please do help yourself to a slice sweet-savoury reader!  And till we meet again, wishing you happy spicy moments eating and baking! 🙂

P.S.  Come and have some of this cake and other goodies at the Fiesta Friday party! 🙂



Posted by

Baking on Sundays with my French mum was a lovely part of my childhood. Later I experimented with baking books or internet recipes and did the pâtisserie course at Le Cordon Bleu Paris. Still trying out new recipes and inventing cakes with influences from all around the world, including some healthier ones. Yes, love cakes!!! Hope you'll love them too and have fun baking. :)

15 thoughts on “Healthy apple and courgette cake recipe, with Chinese five spices if you like… !”

  1. Looks beautiful 🙂 I love experimenting with savoury tastes in sweet recipes. Also I really can’t say no to any apple dessert (or any dessert for that matter) – excited to give this a whirl.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Christina! Happy to hear you like the cake and will give it a try! 🙂 I must check out your blog and your savoury/sweet recipes too. Also cannot say no to desserts! 🙂


  2. Looks delectable, Lili! I never would have thought to use the 5-spice blend on the apples…I imagine the flavors are wonderful. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Nancy! Yes, after some experimenting finally got a really nice rounded flavour…needed the extra little bit of cinammon to balance it. Worth it all in the end! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This is just my type of cake, healthy, sugar-free,bursting with flavor and it looks so moist….. but first to get the conversions going…. I too love the addition of the 5-spice powder, I’ll bet it made for a good, unusual taste with all the other flavors going on.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s great that you like this kind of cake Loretta, and yes it sounds like you’d enjoy the flavours! Thank you! 🙂


  4. Pingback: Fiesta Friday #59 | The Novice Gardener

    • Thank you Jhuls! So pleased you like the post and cake! Have a lovely FF and weekend too and many thanks for hosting the party! 🙂


    • Thank you MIchelle! That’s great and I look forward to seeing your chinese 5 spice recipes! 🙂


  5. Pingback: Healthy apple and courgette cake recipe, with Chinese five spices if you like… ! | homethoughtsfromabroad626

  6. Pingback: Week 35 of cakes, some apple recipes and ‘wild’ boars in the mountains! | lili's cakes

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