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Courgette, Lemon & Poppy Seed

Courgette? In a cake!? What manner of sorcery is this?

I know. Courgette in a cake sounds weird. But, bear with me because it’s actually really good. If you didn’t know it was in there then you probably wouldn’t be able to tell because the lemon and poppy seed flavours in this cake dominate. But, what it does do is give the cake a wonderful moisture and a great texture.

The reason this cake came into fruition is because I had some leftover courgettes and I hate wastage, so why not try something a bit different? You might turn your nose up at the idea of vegetables in cake, but if it worked for the humble carrot, then why not other vegetables? Give peas a chance! Well, maybe not peas. But definitely give courgettes a chance.

Courgette, Lemon & Poppy Seed Cake

Print Recipe
Serves: 2 loaf-sized cakes Cooking Time: 1 hour


  • For the cake
  • 400g Courgette, coarsely grated
  • 400g Plain Flour
  • 300g Caster Sugar
  • 250g Butter, Softened
  • 2 Eggs
  • Zest of 2 lemons
  • 1tsp Salt
  • 1tsp Baking Powder
  • 1tsp Bicarbonate Soda
  • 2tsp Poppy Seeds
  • 3 Cardamom Pods
  • For the syrup
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 120g Granulated Sugar



Preheat the oven to 180°C (160° Fan)/350°F/Gas Mark 4. Line two 900g loaf tins with greaseproof paper or, if you can find them, use loaf tin liners such as these.


Prepare the courgette by coarsely grating it, and then wrapper it in a clean tea towel and squeeze out as much of the liquid as you possibly can. Place the courgette in a bowl to one side.


Add softened butter and caster sugar to a bowl and mix it until it's pale and fluffy.


While still mixing the butter and sugar, slowly add the eggs (you may want to beat the eggs first to make this easier) until the mixture looks smooth. Then add the courgette and thoroughly combine into the mixture.


Sieve in the flour, salt, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda and combine it all until the batter looks smooth.


Next, grate the zest off the lemons, then juice them and put the juice to one side. Crush the cardamon pods and remove the seeds and add these (not the husks) the zest of the lemons, the poppy seeds all to the batter.


Divide the batter between the two loaf tins you lined earlier, and then place the tins into the oven on the middle shelf for 50 minutes to an hour. The cake should be nicely browned, and when you put a skewer into the cake and it comes out clean with no batter on it. If it doesn't come out clean, give it a bit longer.


Once the cake is baked, remove from the oven and place onto a wire rack, still in the tin.


Combine the juice of one of the lemons with the granulated sugar, and then pour the syrup over the still warm cakes.


Leave the cakes to cool in the tins for 30 - 40 minutes, and then remove from the tins and place on a wire rack to cool completely.

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