Frosted courgette & lemon cake

Frosted courgette & lemon cake

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(71 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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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.
2nd Oct, 2016
Literally the worst cake I have ever made. Just a horrible greasy mess left in the bottom of the tin after the cooking time was up. I'm not one to throw anything away but the whole of this went into the bin after I tried it. I registered just so I could comment on this, that's how serious this is!!
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. :(


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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.