This incredibly moist courgette and lime cake is fresh and zesty and just the perfect summer cake. A great way to use up some courgettes, it's topped with a lime cream cheese frosting and crunchy pistachios. A real show stopper cake, but so easy to make in one bowl.
This is the most incredibly moist cake you will eat and that's thanks to the courgettes. A light and fluffy courgette cake that looks so beautiful that it is perfect for an afternoon tea and the kind of cake you would expect to see at a posh tea room.
If you love carrot cake, then this is very similar in the way it is made and how moist it is. And like carrot cake doesn't taste like carrots, this courgette cake doesn't taste like courgette. Topping off with the creamy frosting, which adds even more lime flavour.
Why you will love it
- Made in one bowl - This is such an easy courgette loaf cake and it's all done in one bowl. Less washing up sounds good to us!
- A great way to use up courgettes - If you have ever grown courgettes, then you will know that you end up with way more than you need or can use. After you have made Courgette Soup and Courgette Fritters, you will be looking for new ways to use them and this is something a little different.
- Small batch - This makes a small loaf cake, so it's perfect for when you have guests and don't want lots left over.
- Freezes well - This cake freezes really well if you do have leftovers.
Ingredients and substitutions
- Courgette (zucchini) - The star of the courgette cake. When picking your courgettes, keep in mind that smaller courgettes are sweeter, and better for cakes.
- Brown sugar - This adds a lovely caramel flavour and also a nice colour to the loaf. You could use caster sugar instead if you prefer.
- Egg - We used a medium egg.
- Oil - We used vegetable oil, but you could use sunflower or rapeseed oil. Don't use something like olive oil, as the flavour is too overpowering.
- Flour - We used plain flour, also known as all purpose flour.
- Baking powder & soda - These help the cake to rise and get nice and fluffy.
- Vanilla - Vanilla adds a richness and also helps to bring out the rest of the flavours.
- Limes - Choose unwaxed limes that are nice and juicy.
- Butter - Unsalted butter.
- Cream cheese - Try to use the best quality cream cheese you can, as it will make such a difference to your cream cheese frosting.
- Icing sugar - This sweetens the frosting. Sieve out all the lumps for a really smooth frosting.
- Pistachios - This is optional, but these sprinkled on top make a really stunning looking courgette and lime cake and add some nice crunch to the finished cake. You can even mix some chopped pistachios into the cake mixture too.
A full ingredients list with measurements is in the recipe card below.
How to make courgette and lime cake - Step by step
Prep: Preheat your oven to 190°C/170°C(fan)/375°F/Gas 5. Line a 1lb/400g loaf tin with baking powder.
One: In a large bowl, add the brown sugar, oil and egg (a). Beat together until smooth (b).
Two: Add the flour, baking powder and baking soda (a). Gently fold in (b).
Three: Add the vanilla, lime zest and grated courgette (a). Gently fold in (b).
Four: Pour the mixture into the lined loaf tin (a). Bake for 40 minutes, making sure a skewer comes out clean.
Once cooked, leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then on a wire rack for 20 minutes (b).
Five: In a mixing bowl add the butter and cream cheese (a). Beat together until smooth (b).
Six: Add the icing sugar (a) and mix in (b).
Seven: Add the vanilla, lime juice and lime zest (a) and mix in (b).
Eight: Once the cake has cooled, spread the frosting over the top (a). Top the frosting with crushed pistachios and more lime zest (b).
You could follow this exact recipe for courgette lime cake and swap the courgette for carrots if you prefer. If you do this, maybe adjust the amount of lime used and add in a little cinnamon or ginger too.
You don't have to add frosting if you want to keep the sugar levels down. You could just drizzle it with icing and blitz the pistachios so they will stick to a drizzle.
You could also turn this into cupcakes. To make 8 cupcakes, follow the recipe up until you would pour it into a loaf tin. Then divide the mixture between 8 cupcake cases that are in a muffin tin.
Bake in a preheated oven at 200°C/180°C(fan)/400°F/Gas 6 for 18-20 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. You can add the frosting onto them too.
Store: This cake stores really well. You need to keep it in the fridge because of the cream cheese frosting, but it will keep in an air tight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Freeze: This actually freezes really well, but ideally without the frosting on it as that doesn't defrost very well. Wrap individual slices and then put in a freezer bag.
Defrost: You can defrost this at room temperature.
Frequently Asked Questions
No, there is no need to peel the courgette, and the peel adds a lovely colour.
No, just like carrot cake doesn't taste of carrot, this cake doesn't taste of courgette. Courgette doesn't really have a flavour. The courgette just makes this lovely and moist and adds those flecks of green to the cake. In a weird way, it kind of tastes like a gin and tonic, but I think that's from the lime.
This can depend on what cream cheese you have used (the cheaper ones aren't as thick) and how juicy your lime is. You can add extra icing sugar until it thickens up again. Try to mix your frosting slowly, to stop it going runny. You can put it in the fridge for an hour or so to firm it up.
No, you don't have to. However, it does add some extra sweetness. So, if you aren't adding frosting then I would recommend adding about 30g extra sugar to the cake batter. You could always just drizzle it with some icing, rather than going for full frosting.
This can happen if you don't measure the ingredients correctly, especially the courgette.
Yes, feel free to make this with your favourite brand of gluten free flour. Make sure there is no cross contamination too.
More courgette recipes
Courgette and Lime Cake
For the cake:
- 100 g (0.4 cups) Soft brown sugar
- 1 Egg
- 100 ml (0.4 cups) Vegetable oil
- 100 g (0.75 cups) Plain flour
- 0.5 teaspoon Baking powder
- 0.5 teaspoon Baking soda
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
- 1 Lime - zest only
- 100 g (0.8 cups) Courgette (zucchini)
For the frosting:
- 25 g Butter - softened
- 100 g (0.5 cups) Cream cheese
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
- 1 Lime - zest only
- 0.5 Lime - juice only
- 200 g (1.66 cups) Icing sugar
- Pistachios - optional
- Preheat your oven to 190°C/170°C(fan)/375°F/Gas 5. Line a 1lb/400g loaf tin with baking powder.
- In a large bowl, add 100 g Soft brown sugar, 100 ml Vegetable oil and 1 Egg. Beat together until smooth.
- Add 100 g Plain flour, 0.5 teaspoon Baking powder and 0.5 teaspoon Baking soda. Gently fold in.
- Add 1 teaspoon Vanilla extract, zest of 1 Lime and 100 g Courgette (zucchini). Gently fold in.
- Pour the mixture into the lined loaf tin (a). Bake for 40 minutes, making sure a skewer comes out clean.
- Once cooked, leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then on a wire rack for 20 minutes (b).
- In a mixing bowl add 25 g Butter and 100 g Cream cheese. Beat together until smooth (b).
- Add 200 g Icing sugar and mix in.
- Add 1 teaspoon Vanilla extract, juice of 0.5 Limeand zest of 1 Lime and mix in.
- Once the cake has cooled, spread the frosting over the top. Top the frosting with crushed Pistachios and more lime zest (both optional).
- This recipe calls for 100g of courgette. That is about the size of a small courgette or half a medium one. It's important to weigh the courgette, as adding too much can make the cake too soggy.
- Smaller courgettes are sweeter than larger ones, so keep this in mind when choosing your courgette.
- We don't recommend squeezing the liquid out of the courgette, because that is what makes this such a moist lime and courgette cake.
- Make sure to us the biggest part of your grater. If you grate the courgette too small, it will become mushy.
- Make sure to let your cake fully cool before icing, otherwise the icing will just melt.
The nutritional information provided is approximate and is calculated using online tools. Information can vary depending on various factors, but we have endeavoured to be as accurate as possible.