Ok, one more zucchini recipe. I’m not obsessed, I swear, we just have a lot of zucchini growing in the garden. Matt’s sister Hayli made this zucchini cake (AKA courgette cake) for us when we visited her in France (I know you’re feeling SO sorry for us right now) and it was fantastic. Very summery from the lemon curd and the zucchini keeps the cake extremely moist. I adapted it from Nigella Lawson’s How to be a Domestic Goddess. We usually make it with green zucchini which gives the cake delightful green flecks throughout, but we’re growing yellow zucchini so that’s what I’ve used.
I’ve changed the recipe a bit, almost doubling the amount of zucchini and leaving out the raisins (which I hate, devil’s freckles, I call them). As long as you wring out the zucchini pretty well, the cake can really handle it. I’ve also added vanilla extract which I put in almost everything baked.
I used a 9″ cake pan instead of the 8″ since that’s what I had, so my cakes are a little wider and thinner than they would otherwise be. One thing I should probably mention is that the top cake always slides around when I try to frost it, making the lemon curd ooze out more than is optimal. I could probably solve this by putting less filling in the middle but that just seems…wrong, so I just go with it and allow it to be a little messy. If you really want cake filled perfection, you could insert chop sticks or thin dowels in the cake to stabilize it before frosting. I haven’t tried this, but might give it a go next time. I’ll update if it works.
Zucchini Cake with Lemon Curd Filling
- 2 x 8-inch cake pans, greased and lined with parchment paper
For the cake
- 1 1/4 lb green or yellow zucchini (courgettes) (3 to 4 medium zucchinis)
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla essence or paste
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup plus one tablespoon sugar
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose or cake flour
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- zest from one lemon or lime
For the filling
- 1/2 cup lemon curd
For the frosting
- 8 oz cream cheese room temperature
- 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar sifted
- 1 tbsp lemon or lime juice from one lemon or lime (use zest for cake)
- 2-3 tbsp lightly chopped pistachio nuts
To bake the cake
- Preheat oven to 350ºF
- Grate zucchini (don’t peel them) using a food processor fitted with the grating blade or the coarse side of a box grater. Don’t go too fine or they can turn into a wet mush. When you’ve grated them, put them in a sieve over the sink to drain. If they seem very wet, you can squeeze the liquid out with a tea towel.
- Put the eggs, oil, vanilla, and sugar in a bowl and beat them until creamy. Sift in the flour, baking soda, and baking powder and continue to beat until well combined. Now stir in the grated zucchini.
- Pour the mixture into the pans, and bake for 30 minutes until slightly browned and firm to the touch. Leave in their pans on a rack for 5 – 10 minutes, then turn out and let cool on the rack until your filling and icing are ready.
To make the frosting
- While the cake is cooling, beat the cream cheese in a bowl until smooth, add the confectioners’ sugar, beating well to combine, and then stir in the lemon juice to taste. Keep at room temperature.
- Put one cake on the plate and spread with completely cooled lemon curd. Put on the top cake and smear it thickly with the cream-cheese icing. The icing will firm up if it's chilled. Scatter chopped pistachios over the top of the zucchini cake just before serving to keep them crunchy.