Courgette, Lemon and Poppy Seed Cake

Courgette, Lemon and Poppy Seed Cake

From Beetroot Brownies, to Vegan Chickpea Pizzas, to Falafels made from our left over vegetable pulp, our ethos at the Deans Court Cafe is to create healthy, exciting, home made food that tastes nothing short of delicious.

We try and grow as much of our own produce as possible, and therefore our menu changes with the seasons. As cucumbers and carrots come and go, so do our cakes and quiches, that's just the way it is if we're going to try and eat sustainably and seasonally.

That said there is one cake for which we (occasionally!) make an exception, and that's our famous Courgette, Lemon and Poppy Seed. We first found this recipe when we had a glut of courgettes last summer and since it appeared on our Cafe menu it's been a sell out success. Therefore, out of season, once in a while, Julia and George will make it. We buy the vegetables we need from our local green grocers and as guilty pleasures go, we don't reckon an out of season organic courgette is too bad.

This month we're sharing the recipe with you, treat it as a guilty pleasure that let's face it, isn't that bad at all.

Ingredients

  • 250g pack unsalted butter, very soft, plus extra for the tin
  • 3 unwaxed lemons
  • 200g golden caster sugar
  • 3 free-range eggs
  • 2 medium courgettes coarsely grated 
  • 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/gas mark 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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