I know exactly what your thinking ‘Courgettes in a cake, really?’ But when I took a bite into this beautifully moist and flavoursome cake, I was sold. You’ve got the ‘carrot cake-like’ texture from the courgette, the tangy lemon and the crunchy, slightly salty pistachios – all topped with the sweet and tangy lemon icing. The fact that courgettes are one of your ‘five a day’ is a bonus!
Th courgette keeps the mixture light and moist as well as making it a bit healthier than your average cake. You can make this cake at any time of year, but all citrus fruit is good in the winter and early spring. The courgette adds a brilliant moistness and cuts through the sweetness of this sugary cake.
This cake is beautiful. Its light, its sweet, its fresh. Its oh so moist, but in the best possible way.
- 320g courgettes (approximately 2 medium courgettes)
- 2 large eggs
- 125ml vegetable oil
- 150g caster sugar
- zest of 1 lemon
- 225g self-raising flour
- ½ a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
- ½ a teaspoon of baking powder
- 2 or 3 tablespoons of lemon curd, to fill the cake
- 200g cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- 100g icing sugar
- juice of ½ lemon
- 2 or 3 tablespoons pistachios, roughly chopped
- Preheat the oven to 180C/ 160C fan/ 350F.
- Grease and line 2 x 20cm sandwich tins.
- Coarsely grate your courgette. Place it into a sieve over a sink to let any excess moisture drain away. Covering the courgette with a paper towel can help the process, but you're not trying to get all of the moisture out so there's no need to squeeze the courgette.
- While the courgette drains, put the eggs, vegetable oil, caster sugar and lemon zest into a large bowl. Beat together until light and creamy.
- Sift in the self-raising flour, bicarbonate of soda, and baking powder. Mix until combined, then stir through the grated courgette.
- Divide the mixture evenly between the 2 prepared tins.
- Bake in the centre of the oven for approximately 30 minutes, or until the cakes are risen and golden, and an inserted skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tins for about 15 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.
- Meanwhile, make the cream cheese icing. Cream the cream cheese in a bowl until smooth. Sift in the icing sugar. Add the lemon juice and beat until the icing is smooth and light.
- Once the cakes are cool, turn one cake upside down on a plate. Cover with 2 or 3 tablespoons of lemon curd, and top with the other cake.
- Top with the cream cheese icing, and sprinkle the chopped pistachios over the top.
- Will keep for 3 days in an airtight tin.
- TIP: When making any cake, the less you can stir it the better for a light texture: over-mixing means that the stretchy proteins (gluten) in the flour can become overworked, resulting in a denser cake.