Frosted courgette & lemon cake

Frosted courgette & lemon cake

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(74 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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4th Sep, 2016
Created an account just to say that I have never curdled a cake before in my life until I tried this one. Followed the recipe exactly and it ended up a disgusting greasy mess. I would think it might work if you made a traditional sponge then added the extra ingredients, but I would've expected the recipe to say that.
3rd Sep, 2016
Why is the tip for the courgette draining not posted till the end of the recipe? I have not cooked with Courgettes before, they are not on my favourite vegetable list, I was given this one as a gift - and I hate wasting food so thought I would make a cake. My two cakes came out of the tins like flat pancakes!! So disappointing. I guess we will eat them, I shall ice them and we can have them with cream or ice cream for a dessert with the grandchildren. I don't think I will make this recipe again Sorry!
Cathy Sims
1st Sep, 2016
I am very pleased with the finished result. Used vegetable fat instead of butter and creamed fat and sugar, added eggs and then flour and other dry ingredients. Grated courgettes and put them straight in so did not dry them. Overlooked lemon juice which would have been extra fluid but cake was fine without. Do find when using wholemeal flour that can need extra liquid and have to guess if feel of cake mixture is right. For the icing decided to use lemon juice to thin if needed. It was just right so left it out. Just the job for my glut of courgettes. Will make again.
18th Aug, 2016
Having had a BBCGF recipe fail on me a couple of weeks ago I took note of the star rating. Unfortunately I didn't read the comments (who has time?). Consequently my cake mix curdled - something I've never had happen before. Despite this I still baked it and it stuck to the greaseproof paper. While it was in the over I made the drizzle and the cream cheese/butter icing. The drizzle had a thicker consistency than the icing! I feel annoyed that I've wasted 3 eggs, flour, butter, sugar and cream cheese, the latter of which would have been better on a bagel for breakfast. So that's it. Never again will I use a cake recipe on this site. They are obviously not checked for errors and I can't afford to keep wasting ingredients. :(
26th Jun, 2016
First time Ive ever left a comment but having decided to make this recipe I was freaked when I read the previous comments, and really scared it would be a total flop - so I took really careful note of all the tips given. I squeezed the grated courgettes out with teatowels, and left them out to dry for about an hour, creamed the butter and suger first, and made the cake the trad way rather than all-in-together - adding the lemon juice last, result was perfect, didnt curdle at all, both cakes rose, used the drizzle and the lemon curd, madwe the topping creaming the butter and suger first before adding the cream cheese, aded the lemoin zest but only 1 sppon of juice - result was amazing - a resounding success, everyone raved about how great it tasted. super happy - but so glad i read all the comments first! Will definitely be making this again. Would help if the recipe added a few of these tips in so that others who do not read all the comments don't end up with a flop
4th Mar, 2016
I agree that this recipe is really bad! I had exact same issues with the fact it came out a fatty stodgy mess. The butter goes all lumpy so the recipe should read that it should be creamed first before the courgettes go in. And the icing was so runny it was more a drizzle! I had to tip in an entire box of icing sugar and it still was too runny to use. A waste of time and resources in the end, will be using a different recipe next time!
29th Jan, 2016
I agree that the 'tip' about squeezing the excess water from the courgettes should be included above, or as part of the actual recipe, as I didn't see it till after when I scrolled down, and by this point it was too late. I also agree that the 'all in one' type method didn't work for me either, despite using very soft butter as instructed; if I had creamed the butter and sugar together before adding the other ingredients I feel I would've ended up with a smoother batter. As it was, I had lumps of butter in my batter that wouldn't smooth out because of the high water content, so mine also turned out a bit like a fatty stodgy pancake. Still tasted good though, just not exactly a cake! Didn't bother with the icing in the end so I can't comment on that
15th Jan, 2016
Stodgy cake, more like a thick pancake than a cake. Nice taste though, rubbish icing recipe, so runny!
1st Dec, 2015
Icing recipe is APPALLING. Otherwise, nice cake.
27th Sep, 2015
Really lovely cake! But I had some trouble with mixing the butter and cream cheese - even with very soft butter!! Next time I will make it with less butter in the frosting.


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