Courgette, lemon and poppyseed cake

Fresh tasting and moist due to the courgettes, this healthy cake from Local Mum Natasha Beatty is also gluten-free

courgette, lemon & poppyseed cake

Serves 12, prep 20 mins, cook 60 mins

This cake has a fresh lemon and almond flavour. It’s gluten-free, but you could use ordinary self-raising flour if you prefer. The courgettes stop the cake drying out; it keeps well in an airtight container. 


for the cake:

2 tbsp poppy seeds

finely grated zest of 2 lemons

75ml whole milk

250g unsalted butter, plus a little extra for greasing the tin

250g light brown soft sugar

4 eggs, yolks & whites separated

½ tsp almond extract

200g gluten-free self-raising flour (Dove’s Farm make a good organic one)

75g ground almonds

250g grated weight of courgettes

for the topping:

300g icing sugar

1½ tsp finely grated lemon zest

30g unsalted butter

2 tbsp lemon juice

1 tbsp poppy seeds


Preheat your oven to 180˚C. Lightly grease a 23cm springform cake tin and line with baking parchment. Warm the milk, poppy seeds and lemon zest in a small pan for a couple of mins, then remove from the heat and leave to cool. Cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl until pale, light and fluffy (an electric hand mixer makes life easier). Beat in the egg yolks, one at a time. Stir in the almond extract, flour and ground almonds. Fold in the courgettes and cooled milk. 

Whisk the egg whites in a separate clean bowl to stiff peaks. Add a large spoonful to the courgette mixture and stir in, then gently fold in the rest, keeping as much air in the mixture as possible. Pour into the tin. 

Bake for approx 60 mins, depending on your oven, until firm to the touch; it should spring back when you lightly press the middle. Cool in the tin for 15 mins, then turn onto a wire rack to cool completely. 

To make the icing, sift the icing sugar into a bowl. Add the lemon zest. Melt the butter and pour over the icing sugar. Add the lemon juice and stir together quickly, adding a splash of cold water if needed, until you have a thick but spreadable icing. Use a pallet knife to spread over the cake. 

Leave for approx 30 mins if you can, so the icing can set a little, before serving sprinkled with poppy seeds.

All ingredients available locally from 

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