Frosted courgette & lemon cake

Frosted courgette & lemon cake

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(110 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…

  • 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 cucurbit, 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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C C's picture
21st Jun, 2020
DO NOT MAKE THIS CAKE (using this recipe). Every single other reviewer who has said this cake is good has completely deviated from the recipe. You NEED to dry the grated courgette with kitchen towel. You should blend the butter and sugar together before adding any other ingredients. This recipe is TERRIBLE. We have made it twice (more fool us!). My other half is sponging fat off the tops of the cakes as they cook. The cake is greasy. Waste of time and ingredients. So disappointed that we fell for this shonky recipe twice!
9th Feb, 2020
I opened an account just to comment on this recipe. As everyone else, I wished I'd read this section before attempting to bake it. For first time in my 43 years, I seen a cake drenched in butter bubbling in the oven. I tried to soak some of this bubbling fat with paper towels and then turning in onto a plate allowing more melted butter to drip out of it. I wish there was a zero stars option. Look for other recipe and don't waste time and money trying to make this one work.
Patricia Jones's picture
Patricia Jones
16th Nov, 2019
This recipe has far too much butter inside. It ends up a rubbery greasy mess with a liquidy icing. Next time I'll make a normal cake and add lemon zest and poppy seeds. It would be far better than this was; a complete waste of time.
Zita Preddle's picture
Zita Preddle
24th Sep, 2019
This recipe is all wrong. Don't waste your time buying the ingredients and grating the courgettes. If you do you will end up with a rubbery cake. The ingredient amounts for the frosting is also wrong. If you follow it you will end up with a sloppy mess. Yes I should have read the comments before attempting to make it.
4th Sep, 2019
The cake tastes ok but like others I wish I'd read these comments before I wasted time and ingredients. Managed to salvage the cake by essentially making it an all in one recipe after it curdled. Then made the frosting which was gloop despite adding nearly a pack of icing sugar. Nigellas courgette and lime cake recipe is far superior and a much more deserving end for the courgettes lovingly tended over the summer!
2nd Sep, 2019
Have to agree with most people postings in that the worst recipe ever used. Didnt read comments as thought it was a recipe I had used before but evidently was not. Even though beat sugar and butter together first it curdled when adding other ingredients. Reckon should have made as normal sponge and added the courgette when squeezed of water. Didnt even make the oven but went straight in bin
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.


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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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