Frosted courgette & lemon cake

Frosted courgette & lemon cake

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(96 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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16th Aug, 2019
This recipe is probably the worst I have ever attempted. I wish I had read the reviews first. It's not a cake at all.... The weirdest texture ever. Please delete this so no one else wastes money in the ingredients.
Gingerbird88's picture
7th Aug, 2019
So disappointed with this recipe. It curdled and at that point I knew it wouldn’t be successful. Method didn’t work out at all. Such a waste of ingredients. Recipe in the bin!
Stacy Hackner's picture
Stacy Hackner
11th Mar, 2019
Well, it tastes fine. After reading other reviews, I decided to just make a normal batter (creaming butter and sugar, then egg and vanilla, then dry ingredients, then squeezed-out courgette), which worked fine. There was hardly enough batter for two tins though, and they came out flat and super moist. As I went to make the frosting, I realised another mistake: the ingredients aren't separated by cake/frosting, so I'd put all the butter and lemon into the cake. It tastes ok though, just verrrrrry wet. An ok cake, but a poorly-written recipe.
12th Oct, 2018
Couldn’t agree more with most of these comments. Just not a good method or recipe. Please don’t waste your ingredients.
Abigail Folmer's picture
Abigail Folmer
4th Sep, 2018
Hello so my friend and i made this for her 21st birthday and it was a rollercoaster. It started off well, we got all of the ingredients in a bowl. Then the problems began. We thought the butter wouldn’t mix as we’d bought the one on offer that was cheap, however, after reading the comments we learned that people all over the British Isles were struggling with this same problem. It wasn’t our fault - we felt a sense of relief. We plonked the cake in the oven curdled, crossing our fingers that it would work. 25 minutes later we were faced with two greasy pancakes with a green tinge. Yum. Our stomachs rumbled in anticipation. We decided to go ahead with decoration, but adding the drizzle to this already moist and greasy cake would have been foolish and was asking for trouble so we made the frosting. Again, lumpy butter was our foe. We microwaved it and refrigerated it, I’ve never seen runnier cream cheese in my life. It ended up all over my counters, down my clothes and probably up my nose. We slopped it onto a plate, barely retaining its cake shape and mounding it back into a circle shape once we’d moved it sloppily. We ate all the frosting off the counters, we feel a bit sick now. All in all, 10/10 entertainment. Would make again. Thank you Jane Hornby, this cake is anything but dry and boring.
Simon Horsley's picture
Simon Horsley
26th Aug, 2018
This recipe is poor. The author evidently thinks we're all too lazy to blend the sugar and butter before making a proper batter with the eggs and then adding the flour and courgette (i.e. a cake). Instead the ingredients simply don't blend and you're left with sloppy rubbish that doesn't amount to a cake.
Beth Gaunt
28th Oct, 2018
I've made this cake a few times now and find that drying the courgette with kitchen roll to take away excess moisture helps the mixture from being too watery. I also beat the sugar and butter together first and add more flour depending on how watery my courgettes are. It's a delicious summery cake!
21st Jul, 2018
Just made this and it was delicious. I creamed the butter and sugar before adding the other ingredients, just out of habit really, but other than that I just followed the recipe and it came out very well. Will definitely make again.
Is there a user...
30th Jun, 2018
I too have registered just to say how dreadful this recipe is. I’ve been cooking and baking for more years than I care to remember and I have never ‘created’ anything as bad as this. I can only assume that a median average is applied to the star rating on the recipe, as most of the star and comment ratings reflect mine. I just wish I’d read them before wasting my ingredients.
31st Mar, 2018
I was really disappointed with this cake. It takes a lot of preparation and buying items in that I don't usually stock. Mixing the butter, sugar, eggs, rind and Courgettes, all at once, to create a batter does not work. The butter doesn't blend and the grated courgettes disintegrate. What have you found works as love the idea?


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Lorna Day's picture
Lorna Day
2nd Sep, 2018
Disappointed with this recipe. Poor method. Beating butter and sugar beforehand would help with separation of ingredients, also it is ESSENTIAL to take the water out of the courgette before putting in the mixing bowl - this should also be in the method. Following this recipe resulted in a stodgy and unappealing cake! Definitely not a 'cake'. I wish I'd read other reviews before making it!
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.
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