Frosted courgette & lemon cake

Frosted courgette & lemon cake

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(70 ratings)

Prep: 20 mins Cook: 25 mins Plus cooling


Cuts into 12 slices
This luscious cake is lemony and light, with an extra citrus kick from the lemon syrup drizzle

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freeze drizzled bases only

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal375
  • fat23g
  • saturates14g
  • carbs38g
  • sugars26g
  • fibre1g
  • protein7g
  • salt0.68g
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  • 250g pack unsalted butter, very soft, plus extra for the tin
  • 3 unwaxed lemons



    Oval in shape, with a pronouced bulge on one end, lemons are one of the most versatile fruits…

  • 200g golden caster sugar
  • 3 eggs



    The ultimate convenience food, eggs are powerhouses of nutrition, packed with protein and a…

  • 2 medium courgettes, coarsely grated (you'll need 300g/10oz flesh)



    The courgette is a variety of cucurtbit, which means it's from the same family as cucumber,…

  • 1 tsp poppy seed, plus extra to decorate
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 100g self-raising flour
  • 100g plain wholemeal flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
    Baking powder

    Baking powder

    bay-king pow-dah

    Baking powder is a raising agent that is commonly used in cake-making. It is made from an alkali…

  • 85g icing sugar
  • 200g pack full-fat soft cheese
  • 4 tbsp lemon curd (optional)


  1. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Butter 2 x 20cm sandwich tins and line the bases with baking parchment. Zest 2 lemons, then squeeze their juice into a separate bowl. Put 200g butter, the caster sugar, eggs, courgettes, poppy seeds, vanilla and lemon zest into a mixing bowl. Beat to a creamy batter. Stir in 1 tbsp lemon juice, the flours, baking powder and ¼ tsp salt. Spoon the mix into the tins, then bake for 25 mins or until risen, golden and springy in the middle.

  2. Make a drizzle by mixing another tbsp lemon juice with 25g icing sugar. Put the remaining icing sugar and butter into a bowl, add the soft cheese, remaining lemon juice (about 2 tbsp) and grate in the final lemon’s zest. Beat to make a creamy, smooth frosting.

  3. When the cakes are ready, cool for 15 mins in their tins, then turn onto a cooling rack. Prick several times with a cocktail stick, spoon over the drizzle and cool completely. Can be frozen at this stage for up to 1 month. Put one cake onto a serving plate and spread with just under half the frosting. Spread over the lemon curd, if using. Top with the second cake, spread the remaining frosting over the top and sprinkle with poppy seeds.

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Comments (102)

ginsterb's picture

Tried this last year and about to make it again as it was gorgeous, however, per some of the other posts, my first attempt absolutely failed. I think it is absolutely essential to cream the butter and sugar first (and I remember thinking at the time, why was this cake different) as otherwise it completely curdled and my first one never recovered.
My 2nd attempt however was absolutely delicious, went down a storm at work (with the usual surprise that how could it possibly have courgette in).
The icing was so good I've used versions of it ever since on other cakes as the very naughty cream cheese just adds something and I think makes it slightly less sickly than just butter icing.

debbiespratt's picture

I made this as a gluten free cake using Dove's Gluten Free SR flour and also added a few spoons of ground almonds. I did cream the butter and sugar first (essential with gluten free cakes) and it came out wonderfully. I didn't use the cream cheese, but normal butter icing and added the lemon to it. Took some to work and everyone loved it. I did use the lemon curd but found this made it very slippery and the top keep sliding off, but apart from that great way to use up allotment surplus courgettes.

d41d0y's picture

Delicious. Very zingy. Easy.

noirundblanc's picture

Cake turned out really well as I took the advice of removing as much of the moisture as possible. Personally i didn't really like the taste of the cake but the rest of my family did, especially my mumm who i saw devouring yet another slice every moment she got. Needless to say, the cake didn't last longer than 2 days...

roseew's picture

'Made this last week, and used oil.... not a good idea!!! 'Made it again today with butter. Grated the courgette onto a teatowel and blotted most of the juices out. 'Made it as a cake rather than a two tier. Used an extra 100gm of flour and omitted the lemon juice. Made up a 'drizzle' - sugar and lemon juice - skewered the cake and poured it over when cool. Beautiful!! Very light. Wonderful flavour!!

TIP: buy huge courgettes/lemons, spices etc., from an Indian grocers, they are much cheaper too!!

annawalton's picture

This is really scrummy. Squeezing the courgettes really works and also do not use too large lemons as it makes the icing a bit sloppy, made it for work and everyone was surprised it had courgettes in.

terri_ann87's picture

This is a fantastic cake - but the butter and sugar need to be creamed together first in order to stop the mixture from curdling. I absolutely love this cake!

abismummy's picture

I made this at the weekend, and it turned out beautifully, its delicious and nobody guessed there was courgettes in it! Did have the same problem as a few others, in that the cheese frosting would not thicken up and was more like a sauce. I did use lower fat soft cheese so wonder if that was why? Had to buy some more (full fat) Philadelphia to mix with the 'sauce' and it came out lovely.

eehambling's picture

i didn't add all the lemon and less cream cheese still seemed to soft a bit messy to eat

eehambling's picture

made courgette and lemon cake went down very well but couldn't get topping to set i added more iceing sugar but it still didn't set .

karenjohnson23's picture

didn't sqeeze moisture from courgettes and rose perfectly and was ready bang on time. as only had rock hard (salted) butter, i softened it in microwave first and left out salt from recipe. texture was light and moist.

greenfieldkelly's picture

I cooked this cake for a summer birthday cake for my sister, much to my parents worry. But one taste and they were hooked, delicious will be making it again and may try the muffin idea!

faypeacock's picture

This is a lovely cake - the recipe worked perfectly. I didn't have to give it any longer in the oven but maybe that's because I squeezed the moisture out of my courgettes first. I didn't use any lemon curd because I didn't have any but I wont use it when I make this again as it was perfect without.

nessjjackson's picture

Delicious! Absolutely loved it! I will definitely make again.

petitfiloux's picture

Oh my - totally amazing! Didn't have a glut of courgettes to use up, went to get some specially at the supermarket to try this out and it was amazing!! Made sure i squeezed out all the water out of the grated courgettes as suggested by others, and I thought i turned out brilliantly! Not quite as risen as the one in the photo, but sure tasted lush!
Blogged about it here

windylindy123's picture

Best. Cake. Ever. (But make sure to squeeze the courgettes)

carolinegraceb's picture

I made this cake for a charity fundraising tea break in the school where I work. It went down a treat, really popular, I printed the recipe and put it on the noticeboard.

Foodmonster2's picture

I made it again, this time using 2 tins and beating the butter and sugar first before adding the rest of the ingredients. I also squeezed the juice out of courgettes as much as possible. Made no difference - still like 2 pancakes! I have run out of patience to try this one again... Still, it was received well by others.

hoefkens's picture

As Nichola said on 28th August, it was like two pancakes, albeit tasty pancakes. We have been eating it warmed in the microwave with lemon curd spread on it. I will make it again and squeeze the courgettes much harder. I didn't have any brown flour so only used white; also my eggs may have been too large. Will definitely do it again, because the photo of your cake looks so enticing.

ritazz's picture

I tried it 3 days ago. Every one loves it. I did wring out the water as suggested and the cake turned out very good.


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