Courgette and Lemon Cake

It seems to have been the summer of courgettes for home growers this year. Last week I made my family this courgette and lemon cake to help use up my mammy's supply a bit.




Ingredients:
  • 250g pack unsalted butter, very soft, plus extra for the tin
  • 3 unwaxed lemons
  • 200g golden caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 medium courgettes, coarsely grated (you'll need 300g/10oz flesh)
  • 1 tsp poppy seed, plus extra to decorate
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 100g self-raising flour
  • 100g plain wholemeal flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 85g icing sugar
  • 200g pack full-fat soft cheese
  • 4 tbsp lemon curd (optional)


Method:

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.

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.

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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If you want to give this a go, I would definitely recommend that when the recipe says 'very soft' butter not to ignore this (as I did!) and I think it would also be a good idea to ring out the excess water from the courgettes, but I was getting a bit excited and impatient to get to the eating part! It was just a bit of a stodgy texture but tasted great, and the best part is you can pretend you're being healthy!

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