What Am I Doing Wrong?

It’s funny how things so easy for some are so tricky for others.  I thought I had conquered my potato cake issues (thanks to Her Spudness) but I fear that my last successful attempt was but a fluke.

I made some courgette, mint and feta potato cakes yesterday.  Not to blow my own foghorn, but they tasted very lovely indeed.  The problem was their consistency – they were melting gooey balls of super soft mashed potatoes.  Which, in truth, doesn’t sound too bad.  But I was looking for a nice solid potato cake consistency.

Here’s what I did to make these melting cakes:

I mixed 2 coarsely grated medium-sized courgettes (which I had given a squeeze to get rid of excess water) into mashed potatoes made up of four medium sized potatoes.  The potatoes are from Home Organics and they’re lovely.  To this mix, I crumbled in about 50g of feta cheese, then added a handful of chopped mint and one chopped red chilli.  Finally, I mixed in a tablespoon of flour.

I shaped the potato mixture into little cake patties, then heated some oil on my pan.  I fried each side for about ten minutes on a medium to low heat.

As I said, they tasted great but they were super soft.  It was a triumph that I managed to get a photo of them before they dissolved.

So was it the moisture from the courgettes?  Was it the feta cheese?  Did I use the wrong potatoes?  Or was it me?  Oh gawd, IS IT ME???

Any tips/condolences would be hugely appreciated and gratefully received.

Categories: Baking


  1. How did you cook the potatoes for the mash? If you boiled them they will have taken on extra water. A trick that people use when making gnocchi would be equally applicable here: bake the potatoes in the oven and when cooked scrape out the flesh for mashing. Also, since courgettes are so watery you might be better off salting them after grating and then leaving in a colander for an hour before squeezing to remove as much moisture as you can.

    • I’ve had problems with this, too. Were they mashed potatoes with cream and butter or mashed potatoes with only potatoes? Sounds like there was just too much moisture. Next time I’d try using very floury potatoes and make sure all the veg additions are well-drained/squeezed. A bit more flour would help, too, as would an egg and the above hint to bake the potatoes is a great idea.

      • I put a little bit of butter in the potatoes – couldn’t resist! I’m with you on the baked potato idea, definitely trying that next time!

    • I was going to say the same as Stef, when I make gnocchi I actually cook the potatoes in the microwave, it really helps dry them out. The recipe sounds lovely though, I like the combo of mint, courgette and feta, I made a salad with those ingredients recently, really yummy.

    • Hey Stef – I love the idea of baking the potatoes first. Top tip! And yeah, I think the courgettes did me in too :( Still, tasted lovely!

  2. If you want a dryer spud, try Kerr Pinks or Roosters, Maris Pipers are a decent all rounder and make reasonable mash, but I find they have a little waxiness to them so maybe stick to the floury Kerr Pinks. Avoid New Potatoes, Charlotte potatoes, anything waxy will give you a wetter gluey mash.

  3. Hey – try removing the seed from the courgette. Slice them in half down along the middle then just scoop out the seeds with a small spoon.

    • Hey Slum – I definitely think the courgettes had something to do with the moisture all right. Good tip about the seeds. I’d say doing that you’d still end up with a lovely courgette-strong potato cake. Yum!

  4. Mmmm sounds nice, but I totally feel your pain on potato cakes. My granny makes the best, but I never seem to get the right ‘dryness’ of hers despite watching all the time. You’re probably going for a different species of potato cake but what about more flour and a thinner cake? I put grated courgette into scones and doesn’t seem to interfere with the result.

    • I love the sound of your courgette scones, Sarah! I might try a version this week using day-old mash, see how much of a difference it makes. I also might have a go at making my own courgette scones – yummy!

  5. You need to mix in some flour to these potato cakes to make a dry consistency and then shape on floured board…………This will do the trick…….I just add enough so that they shape easy and brush with butter once in pan to give a rich golden colour …..good luck they sound delitious