August 31, 2009

The Baking of Flora's Famous Courgette and Lime Cake


So, there’s an overabundance of courgettes growing in our garden at the moment. Before baking this cake, we’d eaten courgette lasagne, lemon and courgette risotto, pasta with courgettes, boiled courgettes… (we’re still eating our daily portion of courgettes). I was desperate to do some baking – so why not a courgette cake? One of my housemates has Nigella’s ‘Domestic Goddess’ cookbook and I’d seen this cake before but I’d been put off by it because it looked a bit tricky and… well… it’s a courgette cake! It caused a bit of controversy when I facebooked it. Some people really don’t like the idea of mixing vegetables in cakes!

So, in my desperation to do something creative with the courgettes, I read Mouthful’s of Heaven’s entry about Courgette and Lime Cake, was encouraged by how replicable it looked, dug out Nigella Lawson’s ‘How to be a Domestic Goddess’ and started grating the darling courgettes…
So, this is Flora’s famous Courgette Cake adapted by yours truly.

You’ll need to pre-heat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4 and grease and line 2 cake tins.


Weigh 250g of courgettes (250g doesn’t really make much of a dent in the courgette harvest) – weigh them before you grate them and if you go a bit over then that’s fine.
60g sultanas (soaked in warm water)
2 large eggs
125ml vegetable oil
75g caster sugar (the original recipe says 150g but I halved the sugar because recipes generally don’t need so much sugar as it says)
225g self-raising flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1. Actually the sultanas are optional but I love them so I put them in to soak in warm water to make them lovely and juicy.
2. Grate the courgettes using a normal cheese grater and then put them in a sieve over the sink to remove excess water.
3. Cream the eggs, sugar and oil together in a bowl.
4. Sieve the flour, bicarb of soda and baking powder together in another bowl and then add to the creamed mixture.
Mixing in grated courgettes

5. Stir in the courgettes, then add the drained sultanas.
6. Pour the mixture into the cake tins.
7. Bake for about 30 mins (test it with a skewer and it should come out clean – I use a metal chopstick)
8. Let it cool in the cake tin for about 10 mins, find a cooling rack then take the cakes out to cool on the racks.

Next up is the filling and icing. I’ve never made lime curd, or any curd for that matter, before and had a jar of the shop-bought stuff waiting in the fridge. However, this is what I loved about reading Mouthful’s of Heaven’s blog – she said that it was easy to make lime curd, so i took her at her word and gave it a shot. Indeed it is easy peasy limey squeasy! On another tangent, one of my friend’s mum washes fruit with fairy liquid before she eats them and I laughed when I heard it. Then I found myself doing it when I wanted to use lime for this cake recipe. Funny that… (but it really does work in getting the wax off.)

So for lime curd, melt 75g of butter on a low heat, add in
3 large eggs
75g of caster sugar
125ml lime juice (use the real deal, if you can)
zest of 1 lime

Keep whisking it all until it starts thickening into a custard. Let it cool and fill up a jar with it. It makes more than enough for the cake filling. Mouthfuls of Heaven said that she was wierded out by the slightly cooked whites, so would only use the egg yolks next time. I think its worth a go – not tried egg yolk only yet. I did want a more intense lime taste so would probably add more zest. I’d also advise keeping in the refrigerator and eating it asap (or at least within 3 weeks).

As you can see, my attempt at cream cheese icing was really, really runny. It was somewhat comforting that the same thing happened when a colleague of mine made it too. The one thing that we both did differently from the recipe was to use reduced fat cream cheese. I’m not convinced that this makes the world of difference… but the results would say otherwise! I even put the icing in the fridge for a few hours to firm up (does this work?) but to no avail. I have to admit though that this lime cream cheese icing kicks ass!

So, cream cheese icing with attitude!
Beat 200g of cream cheese until smooth,
Add 100g of sieved icing sugar and combine really well,
Add in juice of one lime.

So the final bit is in the assembling. I left the cakes and lime curd overnight to cool completely. Spread plenty of lime curd on top of one cake, place the second cake on top and then I poured the icing on top and finished it off by sprinkling chopped pistachio nuts on top. I had leftover icing, which my friends used as extra cream :)

The verdict? Fingerlinkin’ delish!

- 29 comments by 3 or more people Not publicly viewable

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  1. tripod

    Hi Han-Na Cha,
    Wow what a nice recipes, i want to taste all that so today when i went at home, i just start to bake all of your recipes one by one and tomorrow i will told you how was the taste ok…
    Thanks for providing this nice recipes over here…

    02 Sep 2009, 08:31

  2. Han-na Cha

    Thank you! Let me know how it went! Hope that it tasted yummy.

    02 Sep 2009, 09:17

  3. Emma

    It seems I’m doing some EAPP themed cooking – Mike’s onion bhajis last week and this week the cake. The cake’s cooked, the lime curd is cooling and after trawling thorugh the fridge for cream cheese I’ve had to settle for making regular icing (with lime juice). Now I’m just waiting until everything is ready to be put together, and Paul to come home to try it. I’m not sure he’s convinced yet but I’ll let you know the verdict.

    05 Sep 2009, 12:33

  4. Han-na Cha

    Did you and Paul enjoy it? I’m so glad that you made it. The cake has definitely elicited some scepticism. ‘tad controversial’! Hope that it was yummy.

    05 Sep 2009, 21:54

  5. Emma King

    A definite winner! Now to experiment with more vegetables in cakes. :)

    07 Sep 2009, 11:31

  6. Han-na Cha

    Awesome – another one to try out is a beetroot cake. i’ll post a recipe for one that i made recently, but do let me know if you try one out before i do.

    07 Sep 2009, 11:38

  7. Steve Ranford

    You say making lime curd is:-

    .bq easy peasy limey squeasy!

    I’d just like to add my word of warning, and that is to keep the heat low, and do this in a heavy pan, if you get it too hot, the egg can scramble. My lime curd had little specs of scrambled egg in. No one complained!

    11 Sep 2009, 10:44

  8. batterie 12v

    Ummy! Ummy! It looks very delicious and thanks for sharing the recipe of this cake, I will definately try it out because I love to eat cakes especially the one with custard and cheese…....

    12 Sep 2009, 11:51

  9. Sarah C

    The icing & lime curd filling make this cake! Yum Yum!

    15 Sep 2009, 21:56

  10. Han-na Cha

    Absolutely – doesn’t matter about the runniness. However, i have heard that if you use full fat soft cheese the icing won’t be runny. and good point about the lime curd Steve – when are you going to bring in your version..?

    15 Sep 2009, 22:57

  11. Emma King

    I passed this recipe link on to a friend last year and at dinner on Saturday she told me that she had just received a message from someone who had made it and thanking her for such a good recipe.
    I thought you’d like to know. :-)

    This reminds me I think someone else wanted it but I can’t remember who…

    07 Sep 2010, 14:07

  12. Han-na Cha

    Emma, thanks for letting me know. That’s exciting! I’m glad that courgette cakes are being appreciated. Mmmmm….

    12 Sep 2010, 22:40

  13. Diana

    The icing is still runny even with full fat cream cheese, it’s the lime juice that does it. Doesn’t matter though, still tastes absolutely divine!

    14 Apr 2011, 13:19

  14. Han-na Cha

    that makes total sense… thanks for sharing that Diana. I can keep my full-fat soft cheese now for another baking escapade. :)

    14 Apr 2011, 13:51

  15. caroline

    i’m going to bake this for a friend this afternoon – it looks so good – i think the runny icing looks great, but have found that the best way to make it thicker is to start with a lot less cream cheese than the recipe recommends and add more when you need to – i have no idea why, but even if i use full fat cream cheese if still goes really runny unless i change the quantities!

    29 Jul 2011, 13:22

  16. Han-na Cha

    @caroline – what a great tip. I’m going to try out the sugar:cream cheese ratio next time I make this cake. Happy baking.

    29 Jul 2011, 13:55

  17. cake decorator

    oooh that looks lovely – the cake looks very moist, and the raisins will add to this – I like the cream cheese idea too, I must try this recipe – well done.


    Interested in cake decorating?

    30 Jul 2011, 10:03

  18. annie

    Tried this cake at the wk end, abso delic, looked up recipe found yours, lookin forward to givin it a go, bit worried that i will get greedy and keep it all to myself ; )

    05 Sep 2011, 07:54

  19. Han-na Cha

    @Annie – I’m glad you enjoyed it :) Thanks for leaving a comment to let me know.

    06 Sep 2011, 10:59

  20. AliD

    Try adding finely grated lime zest instead of lime juice to the cream cheese – stops it going runny but the flecks of lime zest also look really pretty. The recipe works equally well with lemon instead of lime, and adding some poppy seeds is nice. :-)

    02 Jul 2012, 22:11

  21. Han-na Cha

    @aliD – scrummy variations! Thanks – i’ll try them out in the upcoming courgette season!

    02 Jul 2012, 23:09

  22. Heather

    If you want nice thick icing add unsalted butter to the cream cheese and just enough lime juice to taste. My carrot cake recipe uses 110g cream cheese to 50g unsalted butter, 50g icing sugar and juice of half a lemon. It tastes great and is not runny at all.

    24 Jul 2012, 10:44

  23. Han-na Cha

    Oooh – thanks Heather for that tip.

    30 Jul 2012, 10:07

  24. Emma King

    I asked Paul what cake he’d like when my brother and family come over on monday. Apparently this one!

    24 Aug 2012, 13:13

  25. Han-na Cha

    @Emma – Brill :) he’s a definite advocate for vegetables in cakes, which is handy since it’s courgette abundance season now.

    28 Aug 2012, 14:19

  26. Jo flo

    Ive just make this and cant wait to try:) i made it with full fat cream cheese icing which still went quite runny but i think this is because of the lime juice, tasted soooo yummy so dont think the fact it goes runny matters really :)

    07 Oct 2012, 15:47

  27. Han-na Cha

    @jo flo – sounds like an awesome cake! you can add lime zest to the cream cheese and add the lime juice one teaspoon at a time, if you would like to keep the cream cheese a bit firmer.

    07 Oct 2012, 22:01

  28. Anna

    I made this cake for the Lustleigh Summer Show – veg cake category – it was my first serious cake competition. I won first prize for it: the judge was blown away by the abundance of flavour and flavours. In fact she said had there been a Best in Show prize for the Baking section it would have won by a mile. Thank you Nigella for such a brilliant recipe.

    29 Dec 2015, 21:58

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