Frosted courgette & lemon cake

Frosted courgette & lemon cake

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(76 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, questions and tips

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2nd Mar, 2018
Hands down the worst cake I've ever made. For this to work you MUST cream the butter and sugar first, otherwise you end up with a total mess of ingredients with butter dripping through the baking tins. BBC Good Food CHANGE THE METHOD! Wouldn't let me give 0 stars or I would.
5th Nov, 2017
What a disappointment, wish I had read reviews before making, the recipe instructions font work for this cake, you end up with a very lumpy runny mess that does cook very well. Made a second batch where I creamed all dry ingredients first then added the courgette and lemon which seemed to work better, frosted icing the butter wouldn't mix in no matter how much you whipped it and was quite runny. Costly cake to make that isn't that great
20th Jul, 2017
This just didn't work for me. Cake was flat, soggy and very greasy, Disappointed. Frosting was tasty but quite runny.
18th Jul, 2017
Hands down the worst recipe that I have followed on here. I am not sure, especially now that I have been reading everyone else's comments, why the recipe is still on the site! I bake a lot and should have trusted my instincts rather than ending up with a greasy mess that only ended up in the bin!
Lullaby Melodia
8th Jul, 2017
This cake was delicious! I didn't have any wholemeal flour so just used extra white instead, otherwise I followed the recipe exactly. I have noticed other people complaining about the technique used to make this cake I did not have any problems, this cake is made in a similar way to muffins and you don't cream the butter and sugar for those... The only negative comment I would make is that the cream cheese icing was too runny with the lemon juice added. Next time I make it I will omit the juice and use zest instead. I will definitely be making this again.
7th May, 2017
Had to comment as think this recipe needs to come down from the good food website. I'm fairly experienced with baking so should have known better, method is wrong for both cake and icing. Glad I didn't need the cake for a particular occasion, was just trying recipes. Waste of time and ingredients.
2nd Apr, 2017
Didn't work. Awful recipe. Just made a big greasy mess. Icing was all wrong as well...
7th Mar, 2017
Totally agree with other people. A curdle mess. Made it twice, but didnt seem right. People who found this cake a success, changed the recipe and method! They missing the point here - instructions are wrong, should cream butter and sugar first! Bad recipe Good Food I'm afraid.
13th Feb, 2017
Waste of ingredients! I also didn't notice the tip and the comments, because the rating was so good. Mine curdled and never cooked and was very very oily so it went in the bin
15th Jan, 2017
I gave this a go and had disappointing results. The mixture was lumpy with hard bits of butter (not sure it's a good idea to have unsoftened butter in the mix) and then the cream cheese frosting had the same issue - lumps of butter in it still, despite lots of mixing with an electric whisk. Normally cream lemon-flavoured cheese frosting only needs cream cheese, lemon and icing sugar so I wouldn't add butter, it's really not necessary. My cake didn't rise properly, possibly due to its high courgette content. The ingredients for this one are particularly expensive, so I was a bit annoyed at having spent so much money, time and effort on a bit of a dud. It tasted slightly better the next morning after a night in the fridge,but still, no light sponge, just congealed courgette and flour.


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29th Aug, 2015
Curdled appearance resulting in a greasy flat cake - horrible - what a waste of ingredients. Spotted the 'Tip' afterwards which points out - 'cream butter & sugar first, using flour as stabaliser' - don't do it all in one as suggested in recipe.
mrscbishopwilton's picture
29th Aug, 2013
I have courgette phobic teenagers who tucked into this heartily and who remain in the dark as to its ingredients! Definitely read the previous tips and hints. Courgettes MUST be squeezed of their every last drop of water - I lined a tea towel with kitchen roll and then rolled it up as tight as possible and sat it under some heavy recipe books whilst I got on with other ingredients. Cream butter and sugar first. When adding eggs, do it cautiously and simply stabilise with tablespoonfuls of the flour if necessary. Baked beautifully, very moist and very tasty.