Have no fear, this cake doesn’t taste slightly like courgettes; instead, like carrot in carrot cake, the courgette keeps the cake moist and adds a lovely green tinge to the sponge.
250g very soft unsalted butter
3 lemons (4 if you want a lemon drizzle topping instead of cream cheese)
200g caster sugar
1 medium courgette, grated
1 tsp vanilla extract
200g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp of salt
85g icing sugar
200g soft cheese
Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas mark 4. Line the bases of two circular sandwich tins with baking paper to stop the cake from sticking.
Cream the sugar and butter together (using the back of a spoon) in a large bowl until they form a creamy mix with no lumps of butter, then whisk in the eggs one by one and whisk until the batter is more or less smooth. Add the vanilla extract and grate the zest from the three lemons in, before squeezing their juice into a separate bowl. Add the grated courgette bit by bit and mix until you have a slightly wet greenish batter, but not so wet that liquid pools around the side of the bowl (if it’s still like that after adding the flour, add just enough plain flour to soak up the liquid).
Add the flour, baking powder and ¼ tsp of salt and mix. Add 1 tbsp of the lemon juice from the separate bowl and stir, then divide the mixture into the two tins and bake for 25 minutes, or until a knife stuck in the middle comes out clean. The cakes should be risen in the centre and slightly golden-brown. Don’t worry if the knife comes out looking wet; as long as no batter sticks to it, it’s fine. A wet-ish looking knife means that the cake will be nice and moist! Let the cakes cool for about half an hour, then run a knife around the edge of the tins to separate the cake from the tin before turning onto a cooling rack (I just used one of the metal racks from the oven) and let them cool completely.
Make the lemon drizzle by mixing a tbsp of the lemon juice with 25g of icing sugar. Spoon this over the bottom and top layer of the cake, then mix the rest of the icing sugar with the 200g of soft cheese and add the remainder of the lemon juice. I like to add this soft cheese frosting in between the two cakes and make a lemon drizzle out of granulated sugar and the juice from one extra lemon to go on top, which gives the cake a refreshing sugary-lemon crust on the top that soaks into the top layer, making the lemon flavour much stronger. Or you can use half the cream cheese mix in between the cakes and spread the rest on top of the cake.
Featured image from Chez Foti.